I came across this post from Sojourn Music [HT: The Bored-Again Christian] that features an audio link by Harold Best speaking on worship and art in the church. Best had some good thoughts regarding art in the church and art by the church as a means of engagement. Sojourn Music distilled some of his main points as follows:
• The engagement of the Church in the arts should be the norm, not the exception.
• We’ve exhausted our superlatives – everything is “awesome” now. We’ve reserved no words for God.
• If you’re an artist asked to serve the liturgy in corporate worship, remember that the Word is preeminent. Art must serve the liturgy by humbling itself to wash the feet of the Savior and the congregates.
• The blood of Jesus is still needed by Christians as much as by the unbelieving world.
• Art for the Church should be simple, accessible, authentic.
• Art from the Church should be a rampant, outspoken, prophetic invader. For instance, write simple tunes on Sunday morning to serve the liturgy, then go “out there” in culture as prophet, going to the edge of who you are, creatively.
• The intent of the world’s art is idolatry, but the content is neutral. Don’t try to “out-art” them. Debate the intent while celebrating the content.
[Just a note on this last point – I do not agree that all content is neutral and can be celebrated… and I’m not sure that is the point Best was making. The better point, I think, is that intent determines content. Content is the surface of an intent – and so content can be subjective as to how it is perceived. Engage, therefore, with the intent.]
Some other ideas he presented in the audio that I found intriguing:
• There is a universal urge among human beings to be “artistic” in some form.
• Some “art” is only art because someone has called it art.
• Art in the church must be surrendered to the Word of God. Art is a servant of the church – it should be lost, hidden behind the Word.
• Christian artists have 2 roles – they should be humble servants to the church and ministering prophets to the world.
• Christian artists must be well-equipped as theologians to fulfill both roles well.