jamesklight

Art and the Church

In Art on January 24, 2012 at 9:30 am

Some time back I was in a discussion about art. More specifically a few people were mutually lamenting the fact that we see a lot of “Christian” knock offs of current art, usually music, but it carries over to other creative endeavors. It seems you see all kinds of cool stuff in the popular modes of expression, and then you see a Christian version of it, that many times seems like a not as good version. We went on and on and then this gem hit me from a conversation I had with my wife years earlier. She was a music teacher at the time and the issue of sacred music in school came up. The cool thing for a choir teacher is that pretty much any good choir music is sacred. EVERYTHING by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, sacred. Then I realized there was a time that ALL of the good art was sacred art. Anyone that was any good at painting or sculpting or composing music or any of the fine arts was using that gift to communicate Biblical narratives. Now there were systems in place that made that the case that I would not want to return to. But I do wish the church would embrace the arts more. That Christians would feel that the church wanted their art. I am glad that my local church has begun to recognize visual art as a part of worship. There is art all around us, and there are artists among us. I hope the church continues to make space for this expression.

Here are a couple posts that have inspired me as well:

This letter from Scott Erickson, artist in residence at Ecclesia Church in Houston, TX, calls to christian artists to express the art  God is giving to them. And Lee Jost, a church planter in Olathe, KS, writes in Immerse Journal about his own journey of connecting his passion for art with his faith.

What do you think? How are the arts a part of your church? Do you wish there was a greater connection between artistic expression and faith in Christ?

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  1. I know Sam has felt much the same way – that in our day it seems the best art/music/film is often morally debasing and he wishes that there was more great art/music/film that led people to Christ. I know he’s really liked some of the works by these guys:

    http://www.josephbrickey.com/religious-art-biblical-subjects.html
    http://www.davidlinn.com/The_Work.html (although his stuff is more symbolic and less classical)

    He loves this guy:

    http://www.walterranefineart.com/figures/

    And yes, I wish that there were a greater connection today between artistic expression and faith in the Savior, much like there was in previous eras. Or, I guess, I wish that more great artists would more fully embrace the Lord and use their talents to increase faith in Him, rather than to entertain or shock audiences and be benefited monetarily. Because honestly, what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

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