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The E.Newspaper By Dr. Howdy, Ph.D. A.P.E., N.U.T.
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A Reader Writes...
Wanted: Artists, Musicians, Poets and Bards
Why don’t more artists find a warm welcome and the sense that they have finally found a place of belonging in our churches today? Once musicians and artists were appreciated and even sponsored, as in the days of Michaelangelo and Botticelli, Bach and Vivaldi. The result was great music and art that has enriched people far beyond their day.
Since Bach’s day the church has changed a lot. Now it tends either to withdraw from cultural things and only deal with religious matters, or else it is almost an extension of the current thought and values of the culture. I believe that both responses are sub-Christian, but I would like to offer encouragement for those of us who may fall in the first category.
The Bible puts its central message in a context. How the severed relationship with God happened and how it is restored starts out with the story of the creation of the universe and of a man and woman uniquely made in the image of a wonderfully creative, intelligent God. It says that God is personal and knowable but also infinitely high above the creatures and that the awesome beauty and staggering variety in the cosmos is His artistry. The fact that there is a Creator means there is a place for art, and artists in the community, the church.
I must confess that learning these things has kicked some walls down around my understanding of spirituality. It sort of completed a circuit in my heart and lit up all the lights. It makes so much sense that art and music, especially, point to our being in the image of God, the ultimate Artist.
What is refreshing and exciting to me is that I see great beauty and God-centered truth is intersecting in the church again. Artists and musicians are finding a home and appreciation in the place where true spirituality, redemption and forgiveness are displayed…and hearts are lighting up all over.
Submitted by Stephen Baldwin, a pastor at Providence Presbyterian Church