Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Third Question- The somewhat long answer.

We put a huge amount of emphasis on longevity. After all we see business and companies, even churches open and close so quickly that we have to wonder how long anything new will last.

So obviously, people want to know how long has Pagus been around.

If you start from when we had our first event, it has been about two years. If you start from when we knew what to call this venture, it has been about ten years. If you want to know when the dream was born we would have to go back about eighteen years (that little bit of math made me flinch!), but like everything else in this world, the circumstances that led to Pagus began way before its inception.

Nathan and I were talking one night, probably one morning is more accurate. We had either been to dinner with a group of his music friends or had just come back from a Collective Soul concert. Either way, it was one of those times when we had once again been confronted with the dichotomy of who we are. On one hand we are Christians who believe with utter abandon, and on the other we artists who share in all the burdens and joys of that reality.

Our artistic friends often do not understand why we are Christians. Nathan and I aren’t like other Christians, or so we are told. We tend to like dark movies, edgy music (okay Nathan’s is edgier than mine, but he is my baby brother). We are fairly knowledgeable about various faiths, and tend to listen when someone is explaining their faith even when it is not in alignment with our own. We throw ourselves into the concerts we attend with them, and love their energy. The list could go on but if you know us you get the idea.

It really should not surprise anyone that our Christian friends often wonder why we hang out with our artist friends, sometimes referred to as that “bunch of heathens/sinners.”(At this point in the conversation, I like to point out Jesus’ friends.) It is sometimes really hard to explain to those who do not share in our artistic temperaments that these people are some of the greatest people alive, full of passion and fire. Almost every conversation with an artist turns to spirituality and they are willing to explore new ideas – if you know how to speak their language.

Nathan and I found ourselves talking that night about how as artists we need other artists in our lives, and how sad it was that often these two aspects of our being had to be held separate due to the inherent mistrust that these two groups hold for each other. And to be fair there is reason on both sides. We began to think of ways to bring these worlds together, not just for our own sake, but because they need each other. (It would be another seven years before I knew just why or how badly we need each other in this respect. I found the answer in the Bible, of all places! ) That night we decided that if we ever did try to do something organized (I use that term loosely), we would call it Pagus. In remembrance of those who braved the supposed monsters of the Pagus to bring God’s word to a people everyone else was afraid of.

We made some very deliberate decisions soon after that conversation. Some out of our own volition, some because God seemed to be pushing us through doors we were just content to peek into. Nathan left to help with a Church plant in Norman while he worked on his music. I went back to school and got my degree in psychology and eventually Biblical Literature. We jokingly said Nathan was doing the field work while I did the academics. We had no idea how true those word would prove to be.

It is ten years later, and we have since broadened our scope. The artistic community still needs to know there is a place for them in God’s kingdom, and the Church still needs to come to a greater appreciation of the insight the artist brings to the world, but now we know that the a bridge must be built. Language and cultural barriers must be overcome. There is so much work to do if we are ever to bring these realms together, but looking back we see the how God has orchestrated our very existence for such a time as this. So in a way, I guess you can say from God’s perspective we have been here all along.

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