Monday, May 09, 2005

Ars Gratia --

Jo Kadlecek's article on, "Commission Impossible?", tells the story of an interview with an author whose writing bore the marks of a Christian upbringing, and then her surprise that the young author viewed the presence of Christian symbolism in his writing as an accident, and that he viewed his viewed his Christian upbringing with disappointment and as "religious baggage."
She calls for a "biblical perspective of creativity that validates the importance and contributions of artists of faith". I sense that she is right. We rightly value the beautiful artistic creations made a century ago; they tell an important part of our ongoing journey of faith and are properly worthy of preservation and renovation. But at the same time what can we be doing to stir and encourage the creation of new expressions of our ancient faith in the One who makes all things new?
Bloom for Jesus.JPGWhile I was away on my spring vacation the elementary school age children participating in Grand Central Station made an amazing collection of posters that were their attempts to express their faith. The artistic techniques and levels of skill were appropriate for the ages of the young artists, but I was astounded as I talked with the leaders from that evening who had learned from each of the children what they had been attempting to draw. It was all evidence of a powerful movement of the Spirit in the lives of these young people.
The posters reminded me of something Rich Melheim had said in this post:
"Why aren't the drawings and paintings of every Sunday School child paraded into the hallways and mounted with precious care under celebrating lights in fellowship halls turned to galleries every Sunday? Why aren't the little artists paraded into pulpits and applauded into lecterns and adult education classes each week to explain their interpretations of the marvelous works of God?"
I'm looking forward to sharing these wonderful expressions with everyone. And perhaps a new day for the arts in the church is at hand.

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