Art that Betters the World

In his closing comments at the Arise Arts Conference, Brian McLaren complimented Christian artists for “using the arts to better the church.” Most of us could agree with that because over the past 30 years the Church has made huge strides in music and arts in the church. There has been an improvement in quality and diversity, as seen in our churches and the success of contemporary Christian music.

Following his brief compliment, McLaren challenged Christian artists to use the arts to “better the world.” His challenge resonated deeply with me. Far too often, we fall into the temptation of using art to improve our local, personal context. We only think within the walls of the Church. In reality, though, art can transcend that and become much more. Our art, in short, should be selfless.

Through art, we can do amazing things. Just to name a few… We can personalize strangers. We can spread light. We can help people feel compassion. We can invoke emotions. We can bring people into the redemptive story.

>>> By the way, be sure to check out Taylor Birkey’s blog and his post about the arts conference. He is a fellow Taylor grad that graciously helped me attend the conference, and his blog is definitely worth checking out.

One Comment on “Art that Betters the World”

  1. joel, so true. i felt that the strength of mclaren’s session was in that application to artists – i wish it had come sooner in the talk, so that the people in the audience were more engaged earlier. i think a lot of people sat for the first half of the talk thinking “this global paradigm you’re suggesting is great and all, but i write dramas. how am i supposed to apply this?” i felt that nancy beach’s questions and directions really made mclaren’s points ring true in the end.

    it’s true … the church has done a great job over the last few years integrating the arts (music, drama, visuals, etc) into its collective bloodstream. but art, like you say, is for the world. it’s time to pursue a grander story.

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