Questions On Art

It’s Everywhere (Here’s the game…)
March 17, 2010
March 17, 2011

Questions On Art

What are the questions a Christian should ask of his art?

Here’s my list. Answer any of these for 1 point each. Ask different question for 2 points each.

Is it beautiful?
Does it move me?
Can I be moved by something ugly?
Can my neighbor be moved by something that leaves me cold?
What is the artist trying to communicate?
Is there a message behind this art?
Should there be?
Is art without a message better than art with a message?
Or is it the other way around?

What about Christians in art?
If God is the ultimate creator, and we are created in His image, is creativity expected of us?
Is creativity even one of the ways we reflect His image?
Should Christians make better art than non-Christians? (After all, the Spirit of Creator-God lives inside them.)
In Psalm 19, David says, “the heaven’s declare the glory of God…there is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.” In Romans 1, Paul says that creation makes the truth of God clear so that we are “without excuse.” Does the best, most creative, art communicate the truth of God so powerfully that men and women are without excuse?
What about Christian freedom?

How many ways can a work or art be judged?
Does it have intrinsic value?
Do I enjoy it?
Was great skill required it its construction?
Did it come from a truly unique idea?
Is a particular passion/emotion communicated?
Does it tell a story?
Is it holy?
Again, is it beautiful?

What about abstract art?
Is it even art?
Is it Christian?
Wasn’t everything abstract when it was first created, and before we named it?
Am I forced to think about a new piece of art where I might have pre-programed responses to a work I’ve known forever?
Can I find unexpected beauty in something abstract?
Have I forgotten that everything was new once?

A quote from Francis Schaeffer:
Do we understand the freedom that we have under the lordship of Christ and the norms of Scripture? Is the creative part of our life committed to Christ? Christ is the Lord of out whole life and the Christian life should produce not only truth–flaming truth–but also beauty.

In the next month another pastor/friend/mentor of mine, Johnathan Ford, and I are planning on taking a group to visit some art museums in DC. We’ll be looking at Christian art and asking questions of everything. Message me if you’d like to go.

Caleb Nei is the Worship Arts Director at Emmaus Church in Berryville. He also teaches at least 40 piano lessons each week, is a member of the band Stereoreel, plays piano jazz at a couple of restaurants when Stereoreel isn’t playing, has three children, one wife and loves where God has him. He has a degree in church music from Huntington University and has studied jazz at Shenandoah University. He has no additional hobbies because he’s one of those people who have been able to get a job doing what he’d do for free anyway.

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