The event’s emcee is a faculty member at Calvin, who explains that the conference, in essence, is “a profound apology from the Christian community for doing such a poor job of engaging art and culture in the public square.” He adds, “We don’t have a lot of answers.”
This is an apology I’ve heard made several times before, and I’m still a little unclear as to the reason. Is it because churches aren’t displaying art on their walls? Neither are insurance companies, but nobody is up in arms about that. My hunch is that there is this feeling that churches aren’t adequately “supporting” artists (musicians, writers, visual artists) in their midst. However, I don’t exactly see churches “supporting” software designers, salesmen, or farmers either. That’s not the church’s purpose. And it seems that the artists who are making the most noise about “not being supported” are the ones who may not have the talent to really cut it in the marketplace anyway. I don’t know of any working artists (musicians, actors, writers, painters) who complain that their church doesn’t “support” their efforts. Art is tough. Making a living at art is tough. It’s tough on families and marriages. That’s simply the nature of the game.
Read the whole thing.
My primary question has to do with why the Christian culture seems to have an inordinate amount of guilt with regards to art and cultural engagement. In other words, it seems like the art community has had such a voice in chastening the Christian culture as of late. Is it a reaction against fundamentalism’s pulling out of the arts? I am sure that we need to apologize at some level for poor art we have contributed to society. Stuff Christians Like has become a new favorite in my RSS feed. If we read this blog more often, we would have more than art to apologize for. Why is it assumed that to reach the culture, we must be artistically engaged?
These questions, I know, betray my naivete. Inform me, please.