Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Arts II

"The passion for encouraging the arts is understandable and in large part commendable. Not only does the Church have a long history of commissioning art, but the Bible speaks highly of those with gifts of artistry and craftsmanship... And let’s be honest, many of our churches are not exactly a haven for the artsy crowd... I think a renewed emphasis on the arts in our churches can be a very good thing or a very bad thing. It all depends on whether the 'art is the answer' crowd and the 'art is weird' crowd can find some common ground around some common sense." ~ Kevin DeYoung, "The Church and the Arts: Some Common Ground and Some Common Sense"

This article showed up on my Google Reader today (thanks Nathan for sharing it). I have written about the arts before because I think it is an important issue that the modern Church needs to think about more. I think the Church today (as a general rule) has done a poor job of supporting, contributing to, and critically thinking about the arts. By doing so it has lost touch with much of the postmodern culture and does not know how to express the truth it bears to said culture. DeYoung gives several good theses in the above article about Church-artists relations:
  1. Allow art to be art and see the value it has in its beauty and ability to display different areas of truth (not just gospel truth).
  2. Art is valuable but do not overstate the matter and try to make it the most valuable avenue of truth.
  3. Do not try to make art do more than it can.
  4. Worship should strive for artistic excellence, but never forget that the goal of worship is to edify the congregation and magnify God in our hearts.
  5. Churches should learn to welcome artists, but artists should not expect the church to be an art gallery.
  6. Artists can help us see our idols through their art, but artistic expression can be an idol too.
I would recommend the book Eyes Wide Open by Bill Romanowski for anyone wanting to get a good (in my opinion) biblical perspective on thoughtfully engaging the artistic part of popular culture. In it he wisely states, "The absence of a critical perspective makes people more vulnerable to the effects of the popular arts. The critic’s quest is to arrive at a 'place of wakefulness and clarity'... a place in which perspective can be applied to understanding and evaluating the popular artwork." (138)

By His Grace,

No comments: