You know those itches that just won't go away? Well, my desire to engage culture for the Kingdom is still itching the writer inside of me, so... I'm back to blogging. I just wanted to offer a brief little write up, or a window, more or less, here at the beginning of this endeavor to help you see into my heart as to why I'm resurfacing my blog:
In our ever-progressing world, we cannot deny that movies and music are lodged deep within our lives. Our minds, our schedules... everything seems to involve them. Despite how some people might make you feel about the frequency of your engagement with those arts, I want to affirm that this does not necessarily have to be a bad thing! Sure, all things can be ruined, perverted, and, essentially be used as a means of degradation in our lives, and for that, we should be more than mindful. Nevertheless, I think that the problems we have with such mediums like film, literature, and music more often come from a place of fear. Might I even suggest... naivety. I will always preach the importance of fleeing from those things that are harmful to our souls... however, a question too easily ignored in our Church culture today is whether or not we can reappropriate works of art to the Gospel’s nurturing of our souls.
Ever since the Reformation, the Church has been unabashedly split on how to approach, appropriate, and appreciate the arts. Although this split did not begin here, this is when the floodgates seemed to have fully burst open, drowning our freedom for cultivation in new debates. Either waving the banner of “iconography” (pro-art) or “iconoclasm” (anti-art), Christians have since caused the Church to look more like the estranged, unruly family begrudgingly getting together for Thanksgiving, rather than a fellowship of believers promoting thoughts about the sublimity of God. Both camps have argued their points and their concerns. However, I only ask, “Is such a schism really so necessary?”
Now, I realize that the majority of this 400 year old fight centers around whether or not we can use “art” in the Church. This is not my aim. Why? Because, I want to focus on the worldview, or, ethos, that we apply everyday. "How do we personally engage the 'arts'?" Furthermore, I want to press in a bit more; "What do we do with the "arts'?" Just as all people use theology during their everyday lives, without even knowing it at times, so have we already built up certain views towards the arts, such as those towards what we like and what we don’t. Obviously, sometimes we recognize this, while other times we can be completely oblivious. So, regardless of what we decide about the carpet color of our Church hallways, we are constantly making artistic decisions within our own lives. I just want to encourage you that those decisions are a large contribution to who you are as a person.
This is my aim. Not the Church council fights. Not what painting should or should not be hung in a sanctuary. No. I am simply devoting this site to helping my readers figure out what it is they think about the common arts they engage (movies/t.v., music, books, etc.). For that reason, I will typically be taking a work of art, maybe summarizing it, or giving a slight critique, but more importantly, will be dedicating that specific blog entry toward extrapolating the ways we can see it in a different, maybe more enjoyable, light. Why? For the glory of God, and our enjoyment therein.
I’m not saying that all of my thoughts and views about a piece will be flawless. I will never claim them to be. My writings will just simply be to spur contemplative thoughts about the piece, and then subsequently what that means to our soul. Ultimately, the focus will be to glean Gospel truths from the movie or photo, redeeming it from an otherwise ambivalent viewing. As a result, my goal throughout the life of this blog will not be to fix all of the Church’s aesthetic problems, but to simply urge the reader to engage the art found in the day-to-day, instead of running from it, and pretending to not have some level of engagement. This is it. I intend to commit this space to offering an aesthetic-based apologetic to help us determine if we can use the contemporary arts of our lives to bring the hope of the Gospel clearly to others, as well as to ourselves.