So After looking previously about the biblical understanding for engaging with culture, finally in my statement to my youth worker are the points below.
It has not been an easy task to pull something together, that explains the reasons why Christians should be engaging with the arts but after asking some friends for some research, I have found a lot more material than i first expected! So after chewing over a lot of material for a while, I am wholly encouraged that it is not sinful to work in an art centre, be a journalist or watch films that do not contain any religious references becuase, praise the lord, my identity is in Christ and not on the outwards appearances of material things!
It is good to be reminded once again that Jesus is Lord of everything and there is no divide over his power. I find this so refreshing and so freeing. As C.S Lewis says here;
Two Worlds, One Lord
- The Church, has been deeply affected when it comes to talking about culture by Plato’s (Greek) thinking which divides everything into a scared/secular divide.
- The effects of this, for example is that we have Christian art ( only seen in churches) and worship music ( that only speaks about Calvary, but speaks less about real life)
- However the big blow to this thinking is Jesus himself. In the Gospels we see him eating and drinking with sinners, he didn’t sit in a temple or dress differently and he didn’t spend much time in church at all! In fact he lived alongside normal people, went for walks, ate and drank with sinners, built and crafted furniture and went to many social functions.
- SO Jesus walked this earth before Plato (historically) and he is Lord over ALL things (Colossians 1;15-21) therefore we need to be aware of Plato’s ideas but quickly point back to Jesus’s humanity and the gospel as a whole.
- The good news of the gospel is that Jesus comes as the ‘second Adam’ to redeem us from our sin ( Romans 6), therefore as his people, we (Christians) can live to serve him, not idols or man. This is the same if you are a sportman or an artist, our first aim is to serve him first. (Colossians 3;17)
- If I am in CHRIST then…This then frees me as an artist (from idols) to serve Christ with my making and doing ( say drawing or painting a picture, writing an article or making a film…) and it doesn’t matter if this is Christian/church art or non Christian art.
- The main point here is that…This means that Jesus is Lord over ALL of culture; the TV, the newspapers, the BBC, the National Gallery, the Tate, Mumford and Sons… everything!
Bless the World;
- Art and culture is great because it blesses the world because it helps us see and understand things from a different perspective.
- It can be a middle point where a discussion can start from viewing it ( think about how much we talk about what is on TV with our friends!)
- Art helps us ask questions about the bigger things of life (identity, purpose, relationships, life, death…) and this challenges our beliefs and worldview.
- Art breaks down age and social barriers that is great for working in the community. Art brings life and colour in the community and therefore it is very powerful
- A scientist cannot tell you what is love but a poet can tell you what is love about emotional and may help you understand concept of love more than science!
- We can remember and lament on the good things that God has given us by making art , to remind us of his faithfulness and for what God has done.