The Arts and the Church


Not having many original thoughts lately, I’m piggybacking off of Scott Hodge’s post “Creators of Culture”. MSNBC had an interesting, and I thought encouraging, article on the arts and the church. Read it here titled “Evangelicals seek role as ‘creators of culture'”.

Years ago, a good friend and scarily talented man named Dennis Ostermann had a desire that “if you want to hear the best music in Chicago, you’re going to have to come to church.” Yep. Good goal. He was way ahead of his time! Reaching beyond music, the MSNBC article broadens Dennis’ vision to include the visual arts as well.

Here’s the quote that struck me, by Andy Crouch, editorial director for Christianity Today’s Christian Vision Project, which examines how evangelicals intersect with the broader culture: “The very parched nature of evangelical visual culture is making people who have grown up in this culture thirsty for beauty.”

Our culture is very visual in nature. Because of that, I used to crave less stimuli in church just to give eyes and brain a rest. Now I’m seeing the purpose in providing imagery that is positive, encouraging, stirring, but not necessarily serene mountain lakes and fruit bowls. But images that strike the heart or move one to compassion, praise, hope, victory, conviction.  As I commented on Scott’s post, I’d love to see the church at large lead the way in compelling art and not just provide a Christian version or knockoff. And not just using arts within church walls but Christ following artists sharing their work in galleries, shows, wherever.

Do you think people would have a compelling reason to investigate the inspiration behind such engaging work?

One response to this post.

  1. Great thoughts. I’m afraid too often we automatically categorize anything that world does as “bad”. But God created these things for us too! I too believe we should have eye-catching and soul-stirring visual presentations in our churches. If we could be better worshipping and praising God, why wouldn’t we want to be?

    I like your blog. Keep up the good work!


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