I love the arts. I am an artist, a theatre director, a musician, and of course, a writer. Sometimes it's hard for me to choose between all of these creative pursuits because I love each and every one. But there is one thing I do know - GOD IS THE AUTHOR OF CREATION! And in saying that, I believe that God, the divine and ultimate creative force, loves to see His children emulate Him in creative ways. The fact that many of the artistic disciplines have taken a less than godly turn does not mean that they are inherently evil! Oh contrare! It is up to those of us involved in the arts to take them back for God. For what better way is there to point to the divine than through the arts?
Most people can accept serene meadows or majestic mountains on canvas. Maybe they can even stretch themselves to include some abstract art if they can make some kind of emotional connection. The fact that art, as a form of communication, should and MUST encompass all aspects of the human condition seems to be lost on many well meaning folks, however. I’m talking about all artistic disciplines here – even the dramatic arts, which are often shunned unless it’s an Easter Passion Play, the nativity, or a short evangelistic skit. Unfortunately, it is often our own 'family' - fellow believers - that want to squelch our divinely given creative drive if it doesn't fit neatly into a church appropriate box. This has caught me off guard, even in today’s post-modern move away from playing church.
Being a Christian should not be a compartmentalized experience. We are to live out our faith in every aspect of our lives, from the time we wake until we lay our heads down again at night and this includes expressing ourselves artistically through whatever medium God has called us to. The world needs artists. We are to be the salt and the light to a dying generation and if we're cowering away in the bubbles of our own making, that is pretty hard to do. Christian artists - of all disciplines - must rise up to take their place in the body of Christ.
I am happy to say that I do see a shift. Many churches invite artists to ‘worship’ on canvas during the service, I’ve been delighted by a greater use of drama in the church beyond the usual object lesson, and I’ve even been in a couple of churches where dancers were part of the worship team. It’s a step in the right direction. When we look into God’s word, we see that he employed all the arts in the establishment of the tabernacle and later in the temple. God, as the ultimate creative force, has hardwired us ‘in His image’. It is up to us to encourage and foster our creative minds in ways that are glorifying to Him.