Monday, 16 June 2008

Cultural Transformation

How are cultures transformed for the glory of Jesus?

You may have spotted the underlying theme of this blog is the role Christians can play in the cultivation of the creative arts for Christ. What role can art play in the transformation of minds and character?

I wanted to write a couple of blog entries reflecting on this question. Please do leave a comment with your ideas too.

Whenever we speak of transformation we have to begin with the gospel. The only means by which our broken culture can find hope is through the redemptive power of Jesus Christ, his death and resurrection. As we hope for transformation we hope by the grace of the gospel. It’s the gospel that brings salvation.

Paul encourages the Philippians to live in a manner that reflects the glory of God. We might say the same of our creativity,

“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life.” (Phil 2:14-16)

In our art and in our lives we hope that there is something attractive to those who don’t share our deepest beliefs held in synergy with the proclamation of Jesus’ gospel so those who don’t know might hear, in hearing believe and in believing receive eternal life. We shine like stars and we also hold out the word of life – the gospel of Christ.

Second, we hope for transformation through the power of the Holy Spirit (Christ’s Spirit).

Think back to how Adam made culture in Eden. As he worked the land, the Spirit brought a groundswell of water to cultivate his efforts. When we make culture we always do so in partnership with the Holy Spirit. Think of Bezalel who developed skill, ability and knowledge in design which were gifts of the Spirit (Exodus 31). Think of David who wrote music primarily for the Lord and then later used for communal worship.

Third, we hope for transformation in the name of Jesus.

If we read that with Hebrew eyes we read it as “in the character” of Jesus. Our art is a gift to the name and character of Jesus Christ and for him to do with as he will. Imagine art make with excellence for the fame of God and not the artist. Imagine art with credibility, authenticity and character by the grace of Christ’s gospel, through the power of Christ’s Spirit and created in and for the name of Jesus Christ.

What might that look like? I invite you to keep dancing with me as I try to work this out in my own art and thinking…

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