Thursday, May 28, 2009

How Christians Can Make the Arts a Regular Part of Their Lives

From Jim Spiegel, "Aesthetics and Worship," The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 2.4 (Winter 1998): 52.
. . . [P]resent church leaders (pastors, lay ministers, youth leaders, etc.) must educate themselves in the arts and aesthetics. Of course, the usual demands of ministry are severe, and most pastors are over-worked as it is. I am not suggesting that they supplant their normal duties of ministry and counseling for the sake of this task. What I do suggest is that church leaders at least make the arts a regular part of their lives, whether that takes the form of attending plays and symphony orchestras, reading great literature and poetry, or perusing local art galleries. I believe that as few as two hours per week devoted to artistic edification can significantly enhance a person’s aesthetic sensibility. For those who complain that they do not even have that much time to spare, I would ask them to estimate the number of hours per week they spend watching television. If they are sincerely convinced that it is better stewardship of time to watch a sitcom or football game than to attend a play or read a classic work of literature, then nothing I have to say will convince them anyway.
In a 2004 lecture on Engaging the Renewed Imagination, Tim Keller said:
Christians cannot abdicate the arts to secular society. We must consume, study, and participate in the arts if we are to have a seat at the table. Whether it has a religious theme or strikes us as irreligious, we must be patrons if we are to have an impact on how the world interprets and responds to the arts. We cannot be wary, we cannot be afraid, we cannot be self-righteous. Christians must look, listen, read, and experience the arts if we are to lead our culture to renewal.
Keller also provides several questions you can ask yourself to determine the extent to which you are a "patron" of the arts.

For thoughts on how you can support the arts through blogging, see the presentation notes here by Steve McCoy.