The church needs your art.
I just wanted to say it very clearly, because there are all sorts of voices out there telling you the opposite.
The history of the church is that we have come out of a fight against iconoclasm (use of icons, pictures, paintings, etc.). It has resulted in an almost inherent leeriness of the freedom of art.
Our society has come out of modernism in the past few decades. That left us with a drive for practicality and consumerism. There’s not much room for art according to that mindset.
Our culture’s current focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education has come about due to the technological revolution. But that leaves art as irrelevant at best, and frivolous at worst.
So we need you!
We need you and your art to bring back the humanity into our faith. We need you to remind us that sometimes truth is abstract. Our emotional response to the gospel is good and should be expressed.
Here are 5 reasons that the church needs your art:
We Need Your Art to Praise God Better
“God you are so magnificent.”
“He looks down on the earth and it shakes;
he touches the mountains and they start to smolder.
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I exist!”
Obviously, I went to an extreme to show that poetry is honoring to God. That’s Psalm 104:33-34, by the way.
But the fact is that worshiping God should evoke a strong emotional response which is better expressed through art. So write your poetry. Play your music. Paint your paintings.
God is awesome, and your art makes us all better at worshiping.We need your #art to bring back the #humanity into our #faith. Click To Tweet
We Need Your Art to Describe God’s Attributes
God is merciful, just, righteous, generous, infinite, loving. And the list goes on.
Julia Marks put it this way on the blog on CIVA.org:
You realize that the sun is East
The day is new
And he was right beside you all along
And his shadow; constantly propelling you forward into newness
He is the mystery of your life simply because he is the only thing that makes sense
He is your foundation
Whether recently rediscovered or newly found I cannot say
But he is the only support strong enough
For your ambitiously ignorant, insight-fully blinded steps that you carelessly choose to take
And although there will be many things that you will call him
In the many years that you continue to discover
And always will be
You see, not only do we have to remember all the thing which the Scriptures tell us God is. But we also have to understand what it has to do with us as people on earth.
We are imperfect, but He is perfect.
And we need your art to draw a picture for us about all the wonderful things which God is.
We Need Your Art to Describe the Mighty Things God Has Done
Making a list of all the things God has done is certainly meaningful to God. But we can do it in a way that is more rich than a simple list.
Here is one example-
This is a painting of the Burning Bush. In it, you can see the contrast between the good, bright fire from God and the darkness in the surrounding areas. The bush is not consumed by the fire, as we know from the narrative. This shows God’s power over creation, and his enduring nature as the bush endures the fire. The fire coming from the sky shows that God is not of this world.
All these things are shown in a one painting.
We need your art to do this for us, telling us the stories of his mighty works.It honors #God when we tell His story through #art. Click To Tweet
We Need Your Art to Describe God’s Blessings
“Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning, new mercies I see.
All I have needed thy hand hath provided.
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.”
Through songs like this, we are able to not only remember, but feel the love of God as we remember every good thing He has given us. He has provided for all our needs!
Your art can re-instill that into our hearts and minds.
We Need Your Art to Do It All in a Way that Our Culture Can Relate
And here’s the clincher.
Without the creative efforts of artists, our Christian language will be tailored to Christians (nothing wrong with that). But the rest of the world also needs to comprehend the love of Christ.
Artists take abstract concepts and express them in ways that our culture can relate. As I said above, you bring the humanity into these high theological ideas. You show perseverance, resilience, pain, and suffering of the human experience. The joy, melancholies, happiness, anger, sadness of daily life.
Those are things we all know. We can all understand. And it honors God when we tell His story through art.
Also published on Medium.