Category — Recommended
My boyfriend and I were recently discussing information design and data visualization (because we’re a little nerdy like that). He referred me to the site of data visualization pioneer Edward Tufte, where I happened upon the short documentary Teaching to See. This simple, thoughtful film is like having a coffee with Inge Druckrey, a longtime graphic arts professor at Yale (and Tufte’s wife). It’s about learning to observe, practice, create, and teach. As a musician, I enjoyed seeing some of her work directly related to classical music (such as the inspiration for her Beethoven poster, at left).
But also fascinating was how some of her visual design concepts paralleled ones I heard during my musical education. In one segment, she explains how what is mathematically equally spaced on a page is not necessarily optically spaced on a page. In other words, the human eye perceives differently from a ruler, and the graphic artist has to make adjustments for this. I remember one of my teachers constantly saying the same thing about the space between notes. Often what is metronomically perfectly in time sounds “off” to the human ear. That was part of her teaching me to listen in the same way Inge Druckrey was teaching her students to see.
April 22, 2013 No Comments
In his book Knowing God. J.I. Packer notes the following common behaviors that keep us from receiving wisdom:
Unwillingness to think. It is false piety, super-supernaturalism of an unhealthy and pernicious sort, that demands impressions that have no rational base, and declines to heed the constant biblical summons to ‘consider’ . . . (Deut. 32:29)
Unwillingness to think ahead, and weigh the long-term consequences of alternative courses of action . . . often we can only see what is wise and right (and what is foolish and wrong) as we dwell on its long-term issues.
Unwillingness to take advice . . . it is a sign of conceit and immaturity to dispense with taking advice in major decisions. There are always people who know the Bible, human nature, and our own gifts and limitations better that we do . . .
Unwillingess to suspect oneself. We dislike being realistic with ourselves, and we do not know ourselves at all well . . . we need to ask ourselves why we ‘feel’ a particular course to be right, and make ourselves give reasons — and we shall be wise to lay the case before someone else whose judgment we trust, to give his verdict on our reasons. We need also to keep praying, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts . . ” We can never distrust ourselves too much.
Unwillingness to discount personal magnetism . . . Outstanding men are not necessarily wrong, but they are not necessarily right, either! They, and their views must be respected, but may not be idolized.
Unwillingness to wait. “Wait on the Lord” is a constant refrain in the Psalms . . . [God] is not is such a hurry as we are, and it is not His way to give more light on the future than we need for action in the present, or to guide us more than one step at a time. When in doubt, do nothing, but continue to wait on God. When action is needed, light will come.
May 10, 2012 No Comments
I so needed this reminder today.
“…the ordinary is not ordinary. Rather, it is in the ordinary that we are able to build people up and, yes, inspire the human spirit.
When you clean house for your family, or pour a cup of coffee, or take your car to the wash, you aren’t just doing small, mundane things. You are building building people up. You are making things better, and making a statement that people matter. Or, that’s how you ought to see it.
And the doctrine of vocation takes us further than this. For it means that, when we serve others in the everyday, it is actually God himself who is serving people through us . . .
In fact, the doctrine of vocation even takes us one more step. When we, as followers of Christ, serve others for his sake, we aren’t just serving them. We are actually serving the Lord himself.”
April 27, 2012 No Comments
December 23, 2011 No Comments
Though written nearly 20 years ago, the points raised in this article by composer J.A.C. Redford remain applicable and timely for Christians working in the arts today. I’ve posted an excerpt in the past and am grateful for Mr. Redford’s permission to reprint his article in its entirety.
This article by J.A.C. Redford first appeared in The Life (A Publication of the Creative Trust, Vol. 4 – Fall 1991/Winter 1992)
God placed a “Help Wanted” ad in the June 16, 1989 edition of CHRISTIANITY TODAY. It wasn’t immediately recognizable as such and it didn’t appear in the classifieds. In fact, it was stuck at the end of an editorial by then senior editor, John Akers. But I believe that God was behind it. Here is how it ran:
“Where are the creative men and women – the writers, the artists, the filmmakers – who will capture the imagination of our confused world in the name of Christ? Where are those who will expose by their work the vanities and contradictions of our age, and affirm with all the skill they can muster that only in Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge?
In recent decades, evangelicals have begun to reenter academic disciplines they once abdicated. But unless we communicate to our generation through the book and other art forms that influence it, our convictions will continue to be judged irrelevant, unworthy of examination by modern secular man. May God raise up those who will fill this gap.”
On first reading these words, my reaction was simply: “Where do I sign up? Lord, let me be one of those artists!” These thoughts have since risen to a torrent of ideas with their source in a long held and deeply felt vocation in music. I’m grateful for this opportunity to put some of them into print.
It’s easy to answer Akers’ first question glibly. Where are the “creative men and women?” Just step into any Christian bookstore and consider the seemingly endless shelves of books and impressive music displays. Surely these represent a dynamic creative force at work in the evangelical community. Aren’t there more than enough new books written every year? And a thriving gospel music industry? To some, Akers’ question may seem merely superfluous.
And yet, without diminishing the contribution of a single faith-driven author or musician, the question doesn’t end in the Christian bookstore. With Diogenes-like persistence, Akers presses the point further to ask which of them “will capture the imagination of our confused world.” This qualification raises the stakes considerably.
Certainly there are a few, perhaps even many who have already answered this call. But are there enough and is their impact sufficiently potent? The rapidly declining state of our culture indicates otherwise. If there is a Christian leaven in this lump, its impact seems rather inconsequential. And a second look at those bookstore shelves reveals that the lion’s share of Christian creativity is devoted to “preaching to the choir,” a necessary and noble task, but only half the task at hand.
Moreover, the evangelical witness to the world is often hamstrung by insular jargon and limited range. Practical and devotional works abound, but where is the poetry that arrests the senses in Jesus’ name? Christian rock proliferates, but where are the contemporary oratorios and symphonic works that celebrate the life of faith? Where are the skillfully devised stories that expose “the vanities and contradictions of our age” and reveal – not just to Christians, but to the world at large – “the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” that dwell uniquely in Christ? Where are the paintings, the films? In short, where is the sort of art that will capture the imagination of the movers and shapers of our world? Everyone can offer a few sterling examples in response, but the list is all too short and they often look like anomalies to the secular mind, rather than part of a whole fabric of Christian expression.
Some will say that this is not a job for artists but for preachers or evangelists. After all, isn’t truth communicated objectively? And isn’t the Bible enough? Why do we need fiction and poetry and film to muddy the pond with ambiguities? Others may question the necessity of capturing the imagination at all. Won’t God draw those who are His through the Holy Spirit? Imagination doesn’t enter into the bargain. It may be further argued that art appeals only to the elite. Hasn’t God entrusted His gospel to the “weak and foolish?” Isn’t any attempt by Christians to invade the arts like playing a futile and idolatrous game on foreign turf?
In response to these legitimate concerns, we must first recognize that objective truth nearly always requires illustration before anyone can fully understand or apply it. The Bible itself is a book of stories – God did not see fit to deliver a work of systematic theology, though we frequently wish He had. There is no better example than Jesus’ use of parables. In one important sense, art is simply a refined means of illustration. And the Holy Spirit is fully able to travel on our works as well as our words. Ephesians 2:10 tells us that we are God’s “poiema,” His poems, works of art created in grace to walk in good works ourselves, signaling His presence in a benighted world. While it’s true that we have this treasure in earthen vessels, the quality of our work in either the moral or aesthetic realms has real bearing on the effectiveness of our witness. Art is not about elitism as much as it is about quality – quality of content as well as quality of communication. Excellence must never become foreign turf for the follower of Jesus Christ.
Ultimately, however, the most important reason for a bold and widespread Christian witness in the arena of the arts is that the need among the lost is so achingly deep. While in London last May, after recording the orchestral arrangements for Michael Card’s Christmas album, “The Promise,” I enjoyed visiting the Tate Gallery. I spent a gloriously intense morning on what seemed a pilgrimage through the landscape of English art. I was inspired by the democratic morality of Hogarth, the rugged natural beauty of Constable, the rowdy mysticism of Blake, and the apocalyptic visions of John Martin. I was struck with poignance by the wistful pre-Raphaelite women and rejoiced at the “spasmodic tricks of radiance” in the work of the impressionists, delighting as well in the jangling colors and jostling shapes of the post-impressionists and early cubists. Many of these works reflect the influence of a Judeo-Christian consensus, if not a particular artist’s specifically Christian world view and I was profoundly grateful for the heritage of faith that they represent.
The Tate’s main building is divided in two by a long inner court. So far, I had spent my time on one side of the museum. I was looking forward to visiting the adjoining Turner wing that afternoon, but first I wanted to take in the late 20th century works that hung in the galleries on the opposite side. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, that relatively short walk across the marbled court proved to be a giant leap into a wholly other universe, a smoking Gehenna writhing with the leering demons and mutilated corpses of modernism. The walls were strung with nightmares. To the left of the doorway in the first room I entered was a huge black- dominated painting of Baal and on the right was another featuring the fish god, presumably Dagon. I have never before been so struck with the enormous contrast between the fundamental assumptions of modernity and those values that historically preceded them.
A broad survey of contemporary art, music and literature reveals a deep spiritual sickness has infected our culture. In the visual arts, the notorious works of Andres Serrano and Robert Mapplethorpe are symptomatic, but so is the mind-numbing repetition of minimalism in the concert hall. Fiction such as “American Psycho” seeks to blaze new trails in torture and degradation and films like “The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover” are largely obsessed with ugliness and despair, mistaking these for authenticity.
The issues can’t be reduced to simple dichotomies: representationalism vs. abstraction, literalism vs. symbolism, consonance vs. dissonance or commercialism vs. elitism. Art has always thrived on the tensions between these poles. Our culture is facing a crisis of content that under-girds all of our contexts and presuppositions across the board. Christians are by no means the only ones to have noticed this. Outside the evangelical community, astute and acerbic critics such as Robert Hughes in the field of painting, Samuel Lipman in music and Michael Medved in film have pointedly observed the collapse of the arts in our time.
But what is the antidote to all of this? Certainly not boycotts and petitions. These political strategies may have the short-term effect of “cleansing the outside of the cup,” but they are powerless to change the heart, from whence issues the evil according to Jesus. Furthermore, political action can even be counterproductive, reinforcing the secular view that Christian faith is “irrelevant” and “unworthy of examination.”
Nor does the answer lie in a retreat to so-called “traditional American values.” Some look back with nostalgia on the decade of the 50’s, yearning for a return to national innocence and bliss. But mounting evidence of childhood abuse and other serious family dysfunctions among the yuppies suggests that a darker scenario was unfolding under the placid surface: a lot of Ozzie Nelson types must have doffed their cardigans to molest their daughters and what many fathers apparently knew best was suppressed rage and devouring denial.
What we need is a fresh work of God, a “new song,” radical revival from the roots up and the inside out. And I believe we also need a Christian renaissance in the arts to drive God’s truth home to the hungry heart of secular man.
In the Middle Ages, illiteracy was common. The “good news” had to be told with pictures and stories, stained glass windows and mystery plays on the cathedral steps. In our contemporary western culture, virtually everyone can read. We live in the “age of information” and are inundated with millions of words and ideas every day. But ironically we must choose not to read the greater part of them. One consequence of this selective disregard is that words and ideas are trivialized – the sense of their meaning and power is lost. Moving pictures via television and film have replaced the written word as the most potent medium of our generation. A friend, teaching at a prominent Christian prep school, recently observed that his students saw 25 movies for every book they read. The influence of such media in shaping the character of the next generation can hardly be calculated. Is it any surprise that our culture is experiencing a corresponding erosion of confidence in God’s Word? Our civilization has become spiritually illiterate. We need new stained glass windows and new mystery plays to speak to the lost in ways they can understand and appreciate.
Yet many Christians have abandoned the arena of the arts to the “infidels,” favoring a strategy of quarantine over inoculation. It’s not hard to understand why. The tensions of working in a demanding and competitive field alongside those who do not share Christian values can be exhausting. To say nothing of the inherent frustration of submitting to the judgment of critics who are quite blind to Him who is at the crux of all art made by genuine Christians. But territory yielded in the arts is territory of the heart and casualties among the lost are too great a price to pay for our comfort. Nor is the creation of Christian cultural ghettos a viable answer. Quarantine cannot work when the disease is already among us, as it has been since the Fall. Spiritual inoculation is our only real defense, but it also makes possible an effective offense, by allowing us to move freely throughout a corrupt world, bearing the healing balm of redemptive life, just as Jesus commanded.
I believe a Christian renaissance in the arts must be firmly grounded in three basic principles:
First, the fact of “Christ in us.” Christian artists must first be genuine Christians and genuine Christians will not be able to make other than art infused with faith in Christ. It will inevitably “flame out like shining from shook foil.” There is no shortcut to or substitute for a deep and abiding attachment to the Vine. Jesus says “apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). This is a non-negotiable prerequisite.
Secondly, there must be a continuous striving for excellence of vision, expression and craft on the part of Christian artists and a recognition and support of excellence among all believers. This is a scriptural imperative. Paul tells disciples of Christ “whatever is true, whatever is notable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice” (Phil 4:8-9). Where the arts are concerned, it maybe this aspect more than any other that will draw the world to the One who is the Truth. Excellence earns the respect that serves as a bridge between secular preoccupations and the Word of God. But to accomplish this, many Christians must learn to revalue excellence in the arts themselves. God, who insisted on the best with regard to the construction of His tabernacle, even in the unforgiving Sinai wilderness, must be appalled at the cheap trinkets that are paraded about in His name today. There is such a thing as aesthetic accountability. We must learn to value that which Paul so eloquently outlined.
Finally, a Christian renaissance cannot occur without the broad networking of those who make up the body of Christ. Nehemiah makes a fascinating aside in describing the circumstances surrounding the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem. He writes that the singers brought together for that festive occasion had already “built villages for themselves around Jerusalem” (Neh 12:29). It’s almost as if they were already gathered and waiting for Nehemiah’s call. They seem to have understood that “a cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Eccl 4:9-12). Rather than competing for shares of a limited market, Christian artists must work together to press the peace of Christ into the world.
But it’s not just the artists that must come together. After reading Akers’ editorial, I wanted to ask a follow-up question: “Where are the patrons who will make the work of Christian artists possible?” Artists have families to support and bills to pay like everyone else. The evangelical community has often fallen short in this area, telling the artist “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” while doing nothing about his needs (Jas 2:16). The arts cannot survive without patrons. Christians with resources need to see the arts as a legitimate avenue for contribution. And believers who are able should be willing to invest in literature, music and painting by Christian artists.
But the participation of the faithful does not hinge on monetary support. Christians working in the arts desperately need the encouragement of other Christians who will stand in the gap with them. Yet there seems to be a basic misunderstanding, influenced by the world’s corrupt view, that undermines the church’s encouragement of the artist, namely that art is all about the luxury of self-expression. Christians need to know that self-expression is only part of the picture. Art is also about communication and most artists feel the drive to communicate as strongly as they do to express themselves. Furthermore, these twin drives are both essential components in the acts of worship and evangelism. If we can see this connection, perhaps we can begin to understand why an artist’s work is no mere luxury, but actually a ministry which fills unique and authentic needs in the body of Christ as well as in the world. With this understanding, a partnership between the artist and the church can be achieved, a true blending of gifts which must happen before a Christian renaissance in the arts can ever take place. If partnerships of this sort begin to form, nothing will be able to keep the leaven of hope from spreading throughout our culture.
Additionally, it is only in a loving environment that an artist can be free to risk failure, something he must be able to do in order to create truly excellent work. This strikes at the heart of the tension between the gospel of grace and contemporary culture which has little patience with failure. But we must rise to the occasion and insist on “living dangerously in the hands of God” rather than by the twisted performance orientation of a works-based secular religion of success.
To believers who already sense a vocation in the arts, Akers’ thoughts aren’t new, but rather a reaffirmation, a fresh call to arms. We need to hear such clarion calls from time to time to shore up our sagging spirits in the warfare for the hearts and minds of men. May the trumpet give a clear call, a certain sound of faith and redemption even as the clouds grow dark and threatening around us. “May God raise up those who will fill this gap” and may He also raise up those who will stand in the gap with them.
An edited version of this article was published in The Door (July-August 1992, #124).
October 27, 2011 1 Comment
Doug and Margaret Nichols are a missionary couple I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with several times over the past several years. One of the most godly and humble couples I’ve met, they are a true example of what it means to selflessly live for the Lord.
Francis Schaeffer Sleeping on the Floor
In 1966, I joined Operation Mobilization for a year of ministry in France, but spent two years in India instead. While in London in the summer of ‘66 at a one-month OM orientation, I volunteered to work on a clean-up crew late one night. Around 12:30 am, I was sweeping the front steps of the conference center when an older gentleman approached and asked if this was the OM conference. I told him it was, but that almost everyone was in bed.
He had a small bag with him and was dressed very simply. He said he was attending the conference, so I said, “Let me see if I can find you a place to sleep.” Since there were many different age groups at OM, I thought he was an older OMer. I took him to the room where I had been sleeping on the floor with about 50 others and seeing that he had nothing to sleep on laid some padding and a blanket on the floor and gave him a towel for a pillow. He said it would be fine and that he appreciated it very much.
As he was preparing for bed, I asked him if he had eaten. He had not, as he had been traveling all day. I took him to the dining room, but it was locked, so after picking the lock, I found corn flakes, milk, bread, butter and jam – all of which he thanked me for.
As he ate and we began to fellowship, I asked where he was from. He said he and his wife had been working in Switzerland for several years in a ministry mainly to hippies and travelers. It was wonderful to talk to him and hear about his work and those who had come to Christ. When he finished eating, we turned in for the night.
The next day I was in trouble! The leaders of OM really got on my case. “Don’t you know who that man is on the floor next to you? It is Dr. Francis Schaeffer, the speaker for the conference!” I did not know we were going to have a speaker, nor did I know who Francis Schaeffer was, nor did I know they had a special room for him!
After Francis Schaeffer became well known because of his books and I had read more about him, I thought about this occasion many times – this gracious, kind, humble man of God sleeping on the floor with OM recruits! This was the kind of man I wanted to be.
Of course, I will never obtain the intellect, knowledge, or wisdom of Francis Schaeffer, but I can reach out to younger people and humbly minister to them in Christ’s name by living a life of humility. What about you?
— Doug Nichols (via)
October 11, 2011 No Comments
Just a brief shout-out for Karen of Karen K. Wang Photography, who took my latest promotional photos! Karen was recommended to me through a creative internet friend, and as soon as I saw her colorful, lively portfolio I wanted to work with her.
One of my favorite things about Karen’s portfolio is her 2011 project, where she photographs and talks about the influential people in her life. A lovely, creative way to appreciate others!
Anyways, if you’re shopping for a photographer in the Seattle area I’m happy to recommend Karen. She’s fun (I really don’t like having my picture taken, but she made me feel very relaxed!), imaginative, and very talented. You can read about our shoot on her blog (yeah, we sort stumbled into a kids’ event at the Olympic Sculpture Park pavilion, but they didn’t seem to mind) and around ruthsmar.com.
October 8, 2011 1 Comment
I appreciated watching pianist and theologian Jeremy Begbie use musical examples from Rachmaninov, Chopin, Bach, Beethoven, and Schumann to illustrate theological and leadership concepts.
Begbie specializes in the interplay between theology and the arts. For an introduction to his work and thought, check out this excellent interview where he discusses music in worship, how to think about music theologically, music and technology, advice to young Christian musicians, and more:
Additionally, Begbie has authored a number of books on music and theology:
September 26, 2011 No Comments
I very much enjoy the Creative Mornings lecture series (even though I usually end up watching them in the evenings). One of my favorites is from illustrator/designer Christoph Niemann. He talks on (and illustrates!) such topics as his daily schedule, “inspiration,” and creative challenges in an engaging and often hilarious manner.
Update: Creative Mornings now has a blog!
August 16, 2011 No Comments
Around the second year of college I experienced the crisis known as, “I don’t know if this is what I want to do with my life.” One of my main struggles was how to make sense of music and art in terms of faith.
I was particularly bothered by the fact that when I’d tell other Christians I was studying music, the common response was, “Great! You can use that in ministry!” And by ministry, they’d mean “play in church.” I’ve always been happy to play in church; but I’d never felt the desire to be specifically a church musician. For awhile I felt guilty about that; but I couldn’t articulate why why. After all, when Christians learn that someone is an accountant they usually don’t respond, “Oh good, you can be the church treasurer,” or to an aspiring teacher, “Yay! We need more Sunday school teachers.”
Although I had always felt that the music and arts were important, I’d never thought deeply about creativity from a biblical perspective. So when these doubts and questions began invading my mind, I started reading as much as I could about art, faith, and creativity. This began a gradual but very liberating process of forming a theology of the arts.
Here are a few books I’ve found most useful in the past number of years. They are all accessible to the average person (no overtly technical language) and good starting places if you’re just getting into art and theology. (Disclosure: if you do happen to purchase any of these books via the Amazon links below, I will make a small amount of money. Thanks!)
Art and the Bible, Francis Schaeffer
A classic. If you haven’t read any books on art and faith, this short booklet is a great introduction. It contains two essays: “Art in the Bible” and “Some Perspectives on Art.”
Excerpt: “As evangelical Christians, we have tended to relegate art to the very fringe of life. The rest of human life we feel is more important. Despite our constant talk about the Lordship of Christ, we have narrowed its scope to a very small area of reality. We have misunderstood the concept of the Lordship of Christ over the whole of man and the whole of the universe and have not taken to us the riches that the Bible gives us for ourselves, for our lives, and for our culture.”
Saving Leonardo, Nancy Pearcey
Nancy Pearcey has the wonderful ability to clearly distill complex issues. A student of Francis Schaeffer, she follows in her teachers’ footsteps of worldview analysis and insightful cultural commentary. Saving Leonardo explores how various intellectual movements have influenced culture — particularly music, literature, and the visual arts. A more in-depth review is available here.
Excerpt: “Today’s most influential world views are born in the universities, but they touch all of us through the books we read, the music we listen to, and the movies we watch. Ideas penetrate our minds most deeply when communicated through the imaginative language of image, story, and symbol. It is crucial for Christians to learn how to ‘read’ that language and to identify world views transmitted through cultural forms.”
The Liberated Imagination, Leland Ryken
This is one of the first books I read on the subject of art and faith, and I still refer to it often. Dr. Ryken explores the God-ordained significance and necessity of art and how Christians can relate human culture to their faith. The layout is a bit text-bookish, but the writing is clear and enjoyable to read.
Excerpt: “I have no doubt that such an integration [of human culture and faith] is both possible and necessary for every thoughtful Christian; it may even be the most pressing issue facing the Christian church in the immediate future. If Christians are to be a force in shaping the contours of their society and evangelizing people in it, they will have to come to grips with the culture in which they inevitably live and move and have their being. They will also have to know where to draw the line against becoming assimilated into a secular culture, lest they lose the quality of being separate that the Bible attributes to true believers.”
Music Through the Eyes of Faith, Harold Best
The former dean & professor of music at Wheaton Conservatory of Music, Harold Best has written two important and challenging books based on a lifetime of thinking and working in the creative arts. These are not books that can be read quickly. The writing is lively, but each page contains so many concepts and ideas that it takes time to really consider and engage with the author’s points.
Music Through the Eyes of Faith outlines Dr. Best’s philosophy of music-making as it relates to a broader theology of creativity and creation. It deals with questions such as, “Can one music be ‘better’ than another in an aesthetic or functional sense?” and “Can music speak propositional ‘truth’?”
Excerpt: “Let’s concentrate on something that almost never comes to mind: the music that Jesus heard and made throughout his life – the music of the wedding feast, the dance, the street, and the synagogue. As it turns out, Jesus was not a composer but a carpenter. Thus he heard and used the music made by other, fallen creatures – the very ones he came to redeem. The ramifications of this single fact are enormous. They assist in answering the questions as to whether music used by Christians can only be written by Christians and whether music written by non-Christians is somehow non-Christian. But for now, it is important to understand that even though we don’t know whether every piece of music Jesus used was written by people of faith, we can be sure that it was written by imperfect people, bound by the conditions of a fallen world and hampered by sinfulness and limitation. So even though we do not know what musical perfection is, we do know that the perfect one could sing imperfect music created by fallen and imperfect people, while doing so completely to the glory of his heavenly Father.”
Unceasing Worship: Biblical Perspectives on Worship and the Arts, Harold Best
Unceasing Worship concentrates on Best’s concept of worship as continuous outpouring. He spends the first half of the book developing this theology of worship before discussing the role of the arts in worship. Vernon Charter has a thorough two-part review: Part 1 and Part 2.
Excerpt: “We begin with one fundamental fact about worship: at this very moment, and for as long as this world endures, everybody inhabiting it is bowing down and serving something or someone — an artifact, a person, an institution, an idea, a spirit, or God through Christ. Everyone is being shaped thereby and is growing up toward some measure of fullness, whether of righteousness or of evil. No one is exempt and no one can wish to be. We are, every one of us, unceasing worshippers and will remain so forever…”
A few others
- The Christian Imagination, edited by Leland Ryken — Great collection of essays by various Christian artists/writers
- The Mind of the Maker, Dorothy Sayers — Another slow read due to the complexity of ideas, but worth the effort.
- The Weight of Glory, C.S. Lewis — Not specifically about art and faith, but one of the most helpful reads during my college “crisis.”
July 14, 2011 No Comments