The…paradox of building organic community is that ‘organic’ doesn’t happen spontaneously. Organic farming takes years of intentional soil preparation, careful observation of nutrient levels, and patiently disciplined nurture of each particular field.

That’s from The Intentional Christian Community Handbook (which I am reading because of reasons), but it applies broadly.

It applies in relationships, where we want to be authentic with each other, but we don’t realize that genuine affection often involves artifice — sprucing up a guest room for an old friend, say, instead of leaving the floor dusty and the walls bare because you don’t want to put on airs.

It applies in prayer, where we are so scared that our prayers will be dead and formulaic that we settle for sitting quietly in a vague, distracted state, thinking about the movie we saw last night.

It applies when we disdain “organized religion” as lifeless, somehow forgetting that there is nothing more organized than that which is organic, nothing more organized than an organism; nothing more organized than the splendid machinery of a body, whether that body be physical or ecclesial.

It applies, in short, to love, which — unless we are already so perfect that our only impulses are towards charity and our honesty is coterminous with courtesy — is a highly artificial business. The fields must be plowed before they can grow anything, and plowing is hard work.

7 Comments on “Artifice”

  1. Sarah says:

    This reminds me of this quote from the Brothers Karamazov:

    1. HAH — I almost went ahead and tagged this “love in action” and “love in dreams”. I love Fr. Z.

  2. Sarah says:

    Loved this, Joe. One of the best you’ve written in a while, even if it’s short. (or maybe because it’s short? 😉 jkjkjk)

    1. Thanks! It is nice to write quick pieces.

  3. Caitlyn says:

    Thanks Joey! I read this just as I was getting ready to organize my studio space. How fitting! It applies so well to painting.

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