An article in TIME magazine notes: “Church and art today are scarcely on speaking terms. Yet Christianity was once a great patron of all the arts, and artists in turn enriched the faith.”
All those in agreement, click the “like” button.
I couldn’t have said it better myself. After all, the Church used to embrace, encourage, and highly esteem art. Think about it: Bach… Beethoven… Michelangelo… T.S. Eliot…
The Church used to not only value art, it used to create art of incredible depth and quality. The Church used to be a cultural leader when it came to art.
Alas, not so today. TIME magazine has it right: today, church and art are scarcely on speaking terms.
Here’s the kicker: that TIME article was written in February 1956.
We’ve come such a long way since then.
We are participants in the most incredibly breath-taking, inspiring, and moving story ever known to man. And yet, we have become content to try and relay that story via dry doctrinal statements and black-and-white rules.
No wonder art isn’t speaking to the church.
There are certain emotions and depths of understanding that can only be captured by art, though – and nowhere is this more true than in reflecting on God’s story. We’ve got to reclaim art as a way to tell that story. To do otherwise would be to deny ourselves anything but a surface level experience of being human.
And it starts by understanding that the God we love, worship, and partner with is deeply committed to creating art. For instance, in his letter to the church in Ephesus Paul tells the early believers they are “God’s workmanship.” The Greek word for “workmanship” in that sentence is poema — from where we get our English word poem.
In other words, you are God’s poetry. You are a piece of art, being woven together by the influence and the spirit of God. You are a poem, designed to reflect the creativity and beauty of the Author — and to invite others to experience that richness as well.
And because of that amazing truth and experience, we have art within us to share with the world. Let’s reclaim that creative passion – for our sake and for the sake of those waiting to listen to the Story.