The need for christian artists

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.

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4 thoughts on “The need for christian artists

  1. Thank you, Cat!

    I am a Christian artist developing a visual arts ministry in my area. The biggest hurdle, so far, has been inspiring the community to recognize what I’m doing as a valid form of worship and ministry. Many are confused by art simply because they do not understand how to view it. Good art (Christian or not) is not created to glorify the artist, it is a megaphone for a message designed to inspire the viewer. If the viewer is not receptive to the message, the art is little more than a novelty. I’m excited to say my ministry is gaining momentum and what I’m doing is starting to ‘click’ with people! I have a show opening this summer and will be creating pieces for display in correlation with upcoming message series topics this year!

    Reason is the organ of truth, imagination is the organ of meaning. – C.S. Lewis

    • Thank you so much for your comment! love your blog and art work btw. Sorry to hear you have found it so hard to inspire your community to see that what you do is valid. Could you have an evening where you explain it to them? I always thought that it would be great to have an evening of looking at art, explaining it and also using it to outreach to people. 🙂 I hope your show opening goes well and that people from your community connect with it 🙂

  2. Thank you for this! Recently our church had a series of evenings celebrating Christianity and the arts on “Bible study night.” Instead of our usual cross-referencing and parsing we invited different artists to present their work and talk about how they viewed creativity and worship. Even in this small town we found sculptors, painters, poets, musicians, photographers, quilters, knitters, florists –even a taxidermist and a gunsmith who love the Lord and desire to express that through their work. People were also given an opportunity to try some hands-on stuff themselves. It was a unique way to study the Bible and worship together. I would recommend this to any church.

    • Hey charis, thank you for your comment! It sounds like you had an amazing event at your church! I would love that to happen here, what a great idea.

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