Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Art and Faith
First, read this:

My favorite part of this article? This quote: "Art by its very nature is about risk-taking. Art is the risk o fexpressing in song, dance or on canvas what you feel in your heart orhear in your head. And much of the church is still afraid of the risk that comes with the arts. So, we relegate the arts to certain seasons like Easter and Christmas. We curtail their creativity by making sure they deal with only certain stories (again Easter and Christmas). Or we tolerate it from our children or even our teens. Why? Because arts and artists are too risky! What if we make a mistake? What if we cross overthe line?"

I like that the writer acknowledges that art needs the freedom to take risks and go overboard in order to get it right (so to speak). This is a conversation my pastor and I have had quite a few times. Luckily I find myself in a church that values artistic expression, at least among enough in the congregation so as not to be a minority, but I also have to admit that we have a long way to go.

I think our openness to use not-specifically Christian music to sing about spiritual truths is certainly a step in the right direction. We're working on an arrangement of "Blessed Be the Name" combined with "I Can't Help Falling In Love With You" that is gonna be powerful, I think.

But music isn't enough. I long for the day when my church more actively embraces and intentionally pursues an artistic stand on faith through painting, sculpture, dance, drama (and not just those "Let's make a moral point" skits -- most of those just plain suck eggs -- what about some heavy stuff than opens people up for listening to big questions that make them think?), etc.

Don't get me wrong. I can't think of any other church in my area that would embrace me like they have and let a guy who writes comics for Gene Simmons and books about a goddess living in a man's body come near a stage to lead worship on Sunday morning, and especially not a guy whose idea of worship music comes from classic rock more so than contemporary praise and worship trend.

That said, I still we all have a long way to go.

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