Mailbag: Is making Art really evangelism?

Early this AM (try 3AM) I cleared the decks on e-mail and one graphic Design major at the University of Georgia said, “I’ve enjoyed the blog for several months now and the sensitive approach it has towards Christianity and the arts” and then asked, Is making Art really evangelism?”

For today’s column I thought you might like my reply (albeit in truncated e-mail fashion)

The artist’s calling is rooted in the doctrine of creation. Flannery O’Connor observes that if ALL we had of the Bible was Genesis ONE. All we would know is that God is an artist! He creates something from nothing, brings order out of chaos, sees things others don’t see, brings what he sees into reality, communicates through his art and strives for excellent in all he does (At the end of each day, what he made “was good.”

Each of us glorifies God first and foremost by exercising our unique calling, the shape of which is determined by our talents given as gifts by God. In this sense, as Hans Rookmacher says, “Art needs no justification;” your art done for God’s glory has merit without the need to “imbed” evangelistic purpose in it.

Of course every disciple will bear witness to Christ in their life and daily conversation, some are gifted and called to do this as apostles, the rest of us are to “be ready to give a reason for the hope that lies within us.” The hyper-evangelistic mode as practiced in American circles is quote different from that of Jesus who never shared the gospel the same way twice, was very attentive to individuals and contextualized his conversations accordingly.

Our goal in culture is to be a Loving, transforming presence.
And the roles through which we accomplish this are in our calling as creators of culture (artists), counter-to-culture (aliens and exiles) and communicators in culture (ambassadors)

Ours is a shallow, aesthetically and spiritually bankrupt culture and Christian sub-culture is too often a mirror of this culture.

I believe artists who are Christians will be part of the renaissance of faith and culture and I hope you will pray through your calling and role in and take your place in the ranks those so gifted and called.

To aid you on your way you need a company of friends–here’s some suggestions:

IMAGE JOURNAL (You must subscribe-it is an order!)

CS Lewis Foundation

Christians in the Visual Arts

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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    Posted in Staublog in December 1, 2004 by | No Comments »

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