I am no expert in art. I like some art, I like engaging with it and looking at it etc. As Christians I think we need to encourage our brothers and sisters who are artists or art students in our churches. So I want to bring to your attention a great blog written by two of my friends on staff who are reaching art students on their patch and they are engaging with art in an amazing way. Why not check them out here:
Here are some fab quotes from the blog to wet your appetite:
“We are passionate about seeing Christian art students live wholeheartedly for Jesus: both in the way that you create, and also in the way that you do life at art college. We pray that this blog will bless, encourage and resource you to get digging deeper into gospel truths, and delight all the more in the gifts God has given you.”
“Artists are societies’ visionaries or to quote Mark ‘society’s equivalent of specsavers’! As artists we help people to see what they don’t naturally see. We are more deliberate in feeling, seeing, hearing, tasting, and sensing the world around us because we study it in a more intense and deliberate way, and so we are making people see more of what’s around them.”
“Whether you are based in an art college, a university, or an office, they all have a culture of their own which has been produced by the people of that place over years. Do you ask questions of the cultures you live in? Are you contributing in a Godly way to your cultures, or are you just going with the flow? Are you mindful of what you paint, sing, dance, design? Cultural history is easily read through the art of the time so we really do have a great responsibility as the current generation of Christians making art. Let us have dominion, make work and live lives that produce a cross shaped culture.”
A wonderful quote from Tim Keller that I would like to share with you:
“The Church needs artists because without art we cannot reach the world. The simple fact is that the imagination ‘gets you,’ even when your reason is completely against the idea of God. ‘Imagination communicates,’ as Arthur Danto says, ‘indefinable but inescapable truth.’ Those who read a book or listen to music expose themselves to that inescapable truth. There is a sort of schizophrenia that occurs if you are listening to Bach and you hear the glory of God and yet your mind says there is no God and there is no meaning. You are committed to believing nothing means anything and yet the music comes in and takes you over with your imagination. When you listen to great music, you can’t believe life is meaningless. Your heart knows what your mind is denying. We need Christian artists because we are never going to reach the world without great Christian art to go with great Christian talk.“
I think Keller highlights something really important here about Christians and Art. He is echoing CS Lewis and Francis Schaeffer on this as well. But great music and great art can’t lead you to believe life is meaningless because they express something of the reality we are in – the need of a saviour. What better people to show them the true saviour then christian artists in our churches?
Yet we often celebrate those that can stand up and preach, those that can stand up and lead sung worship on Sunday and those that do cold contact evangelism. I am drawing a distinction between those that lead sung worship and those that play in pubs/clubs etc because I think the audience is different and perhaps the purpose as well. Although they are both artists. But what I am really thinking about is what about our artists in the world? Those that draw, take photographs, cook great food, write poetry, write novels, sketch, make models etc for the world to see…yet they often get the back seat. But the church needs them, because these people are speaking into the culture we are in and they are engaging with it in a different way. The are reaching people who the preacher alone could never reach.
But it’s also not about creating a christian sub-culture with your t-shirts and wrist bands, but it’s about creating art that speaks truth and hope into a culture that needs and wants a saviour.
Lets celebrate our christian artists and encourage them. Lets get the church releasing them into the world so that they can speak truth through their art.