Thursday, March 12, 2009

On art and music - e*r week 4 Discussion Question

For: The Institute of Contemporary and Emerging Worship Studies, St. Stephen's University, Essentials Red Online Worship Theology Course with Dan Wilt

The class administrators removed the blog post requirement from the Essentials Red course. Seeing as I've been sucking wind in this race called life lately due to my dh having to be out of town more than usual, for now, I'm just posting my discussion question answers until I have time to blog about the other deep thoughts this course is encouraging me to have. Here's what I wrote for this week:

“Art has the capacity to bypass the critical faculties of the mind and to speak directly into the soul of the observer.” [1]

This past Advent season, the staff at our church decided to try something new and pull a few visual artists together to collaborate on a project for Advent. There were five of us with the common theme of a seed sprouting into a fully formed flower. Each artist took a different stage of growth and interpreted it on canvas as it related to that week of Advent. Each Sunday of Advent, the piece that corresponded was displayed in the Sunday morning service.

There were many God stories from that process for me personally as well as amongst the group of artists. But one of the most striking stories came from a congregant who took time after the service to go and look at the paintings and ask God to speak to him through them. God spoke directly to this man’s soul and confirmed the work He was doing in His heart. He felt encouraged and strengthened.

This project was realized because our church staff took initiative to call out a few artists, to give us a framework to work within, and to release us to create. Because they took a “risk,” we the artists were greatly blessed by the unity that God wrought in our paintings, and the observers were blessed as God spoke to them through our creative processes.

Artists of all kinds need to be nurtured, called out, challenged, and embraced (to name a few) by church leaders and then given the freedom to create without fear. In this environment, new art can bring forth fresh expressions of the timeless truths that we seek to celebrate in the Christian year.

1. Dan Wilt, Essentials in Worship History, 31.

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