Philip Ryken on the Arts
Philip Ryken, newly appointed dean at Wheaton College and Conservatory in the Chicago area and author of Art for God’s Sake: A Call to Recover the Arts, recently wrote about the importance of the arts in Christian higher education:
“Two convictions lie near the heart of my commitment to the arts as a vital aspect of Christian higher education: one biblical-theological and the other social-cultural. The first conviction is more important, by far. It is simply that as creatures made in the image of a Creator-God, we have a calling and capacity to create in ways that reflect the goodness, truth, and beauty of God.
The other conviction (which may be more of an instinct) pertains to the role of art in the wider culture. Although I do not have the historical expertise to prove it, I tend to believe that the arts are at the leading edge of cultural transformation. Thus, if we want to know where a culture is heading, we should visit the studios and galleries where emerging artists are doing their work. What we see shows us what will happen in our culture, not just what is happening. Art is generative as well as reactive.
If these convictions are true, then the arts should never be merely an afterthought for Christian colleges and universities, as they often (usually?) have been. Art is a deeply human activity, and therefore a place where God can do his redeeming work, both at the level of personal discipleship and at the level of cultural transformation. The arts are too important to neglect.”
He goes on to list seven practical ways he tries to encourage the arts at Wheaton. Check out the entire post at the excellent Transpositions blog.