Sunday, August 14, 2005

High art and the least of these

Some thoughts...a question...As I enter more fully back into my job at Asbury, the Lord has softened my heart even more for this community. I am overwhelmed sometimes with the desire to pray for reconciliation between people and groups here at the seminary. And I feel much more solidified and encouraged in my call to explore how the arts can be used in this process, both in personal and corporate Christian formation. My heart has shifted (which I view as a praise in many ways) from the mindset of "high art" to a goal of discipleship and formation. I desire to see relationships formed and renewed through God's manifesting Himself in our creativity. And in this renewal process, to see God's presence be made more real to those in need in other parts of the world. In this, comes a heart to see those who have never thought themselves creative begin to experiment and participate in the arts as a means of worship, toward justice, mercy and a fuller relationship with Christ. In this is the destruction of the idea of "art for arts sake" with the rise of art for the Kingdom of God. My question, or questions, are these: How does this goal continue in the purity of the Gospel and inclusiveness of Christ without risking cheapening art? Is it worth the risk? Is the heart all that matters behind the work? What is the place of art criticism in a Christian community? What about "high art"? What should our standards of excellence be, and how should they be different than the art world's standards? If you have any thoughts, I'd love to hear them.

2 comments:

David Wofford said...

I believe that "standards of excellence" in light of God is relative only to God. If a child scribble in the light of God, then his/her scribble is a masterpiece to the Lord...

...conversely, if I sculpt my own Statue of David and it is done for profits, personal desires or worldly admiration alone then the standard are much, much lower.

Jamie Christian said...

Shannon, when I saw that painting in the liturgical chapel this morning, I wondered if you had painted it. I'm glad to see you did. What talent! I am so blessed by you...