5 bits of wisdom for the professional Christian woman
Sun May 19, 2013
by Shandel Slaten
Sat May 18, 2013
by Hugh Whelchel
Resurgence roundup, 5/17/13
Fri May 17, 2013
Grace all the way
Wed May 15, 2013
by Justin Holcomb
How to be on mission in the city
Wed May 15, 2013
by Stephen Um
Why Going to Rehab Won't Fix It
Creativity and the Creator
A great artist can stun us with creative brilliance—a ray of light from some beautiful realm beyond, shining through the window of this painting or that song. When I've been so captivated by great art, my soul bursts in praise to the Creator who, among his many great works, has made this artist—a masterpiece in his own likeness—capable of expressing an extraordinary measure of his own infinite creativity.
Amy Winehouse, judging by her unprecedented successes at the Grammys, her influence on new artists like Adele and Lily Allen, and critical acclaim from industry peers and legends, was one of those great artists. Tony Bennett, after recording a duet with her said: "Amy Winehouse was an artist of immense proportions...an extraordinary musician with a rare intuition as a vocalist". Jay-Z credited Amy with ushering in the resurgence of British music.
Yet, Amy was known not only for her remarkable talent but also for her volatile and controversial lifestyle. The first lyrics I heard belted by that powerful voice now ring with irony, "They tried to make me go to rehab, I said, 'No, no, no.'"
The sin we tolerate always pollutes, always corrupts, always disintegrates what God created good, and—if not stopped—always ends in death.
The accounts of Amy's personal life sketch a woman chasing something with reckless abandon through a drug-induced fog. According to Amy, her violent marriage to Blake Fielder-Civil was based entirely on drugs. The couple had been arrested together and separately multiple times. But then, in January 2009, while he sat in jail, Amy fell in love with another man. She said: "I've finally escaped from hell...I'm in love again, and I don't need drugs. Look at me, I'm glowing!"
Yet within only few months, her parents were quoted as saying Amy needed rescuing. "Amy is in denial all the time," said her mom, Janis, who went on to suggest that Amy's body was to blame for her addiction. "She probably feels trapped, her body is trapping her. But I know with addiction you do not have the choice because the substance itself directs you." Meanwhile, Amy's father, Mitch, reportedly blamed her ex-husband Blake for influencing her drug habit. Previously, he had confirmed that it was the passing of Amy's grandmother in 2006 that had first pushed her into addiction.
So Which Was It?
A drug-pushing husband? Her body leaving her without a choice? The substance itself driving her? Grief or aimlessness after the loss of her grandmother? Or a desire for happiness that just might be satisfied by the right relationship? Probably all of these factors played their part (though the idea that "the substance itself directs you" is surely an overstatement).
One thing is certain: Amy needed rescue. She was enslaved, and though the addiction was a slavery of her own choosing, she was helpless to escape on her own. At present, we do not know whether the drugs finally caused Amy's death; but it was clear long before that her addiction was killing her quickly.
Those of us whose sin has not yet consumed us should not be too quick to judge Amy. For her, sin's pace was intense, and its end came quickly. But the sin in your life and mine works the same way. Maybe slower, like some poison dripped over a lifetime, but the sin we tolerate always pollutes, always corrupts, always disintegrates what God created good, and—if not stopped—always ends in death.
The Only True Rescue
Amy's death seems all the more tragic for the loss of such a talented artist. But in fact, sin's effect is always tragic: every person is created in the image and likeness of the Creator, and to corrupt one's self and wreck the lives of others is in some sense to desecrate Another's masterpiece.
Those of us whose sin has not yet consumed us should not be too quick to judge Amy.
The only true rescue from addiction and all of sin's other forms and effects is to be freed from the bonds of that slavery by the Redeemer, forgiven by the Creator for spoiling his good work, and to be re-created by his Spirit to live a new life. No vaguely defined higher power made in my own image can do all of this—it is through Jesus Christ alone.