It's possible to stumble upon as essay on the Internet that shakes you to the core. That's what happened when I came across "In Praise of Bad Art (And Bad Saints)" on the Faith and Theology website run by Ben Myers, a writer, teacher, and theologian in Australia. He comments on how terrible it was to watch a bad community production of a Shakespeare play. But then he switches gears and claps loudly for their valiant efforts. Why?

"I am, you see, a great believer in bad art. In every arena of human creativity, one needs a multitude of failures and mediocrities. They are the condition for the emergence of that rare thing, the artistic genius. Without all the dull painters and all the mediocre art schools, there could have been no Chagall and no Picasso."

There is no need for harsh judgments of artists who fail in their efforts. They exist so we can marvel and rejoice in the wild creativity of painters and poets whose art is transcendent. Nor do we need despair over the mediocrity of church people, which could be a sign of their hypocrisy or their enslavement to the status quo. They exist so the holy genius of the saint can lift our spirits and send us on our way with joy abounding in our hearts.

Failure is the seedbed for excellence and mediocrity is the path that is transformed by the grace of God into something splendid.

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