ADVERTISING
 
Monday, December 16   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 

 
ADVERTISING
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 

POLL
Society
Should Christians join social protests?



SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Jonathan Tame
 

Art and social transformation

There are three great benefits of art, which every Christian should embrace: beauty, truth and imagination. 

JUBILEE CENTRE AUTHOR Jonathan Tame 11 JULY 2017 15:37 h GMT+1
A detail of the Five Foundations exhibition, by Liviu Mocan.

As a research-based organisation promoting Christian social reform, it’s not surprising that Jubilee Centre’s output is primarily in the form of words. However, personal and social transformation are unlikely to take place through words alone – no matter how eloquent our language or convincing our arguments.



Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released 50 years ago. Around the same time as the Beatles were recording this epoch-shaping album, Francis Schaeffer was in discussion with many people who came to L’Abri in the Swiss village of Huemoz, trying to make sense of reality. He understood then how crucial the arts were to influencing the way people viewed the world, and urged Protestant Christians to rediscover God’s purposes for this neglected sphere of life.



Since then the evangelical Church has been slowly re-engaging with the arts, which have subsequently become central to postmodern culture. We live in a highly visual age, and so the power of art to reach the soul and touch the heart is becoming more and more important.



I suggest that there are three great benefits of art, which every Christian should embrace.



Beauty. Despite the rejection of beauty by many modern and postmodern artists, our God-given longing for beauty has not diminished.  The philosopher Roger Scruton states, “The great artists of the past were aware that human life is full of chaos and suffering. But they had a remedy for this, and the name of that remedy was beauty. The beautiful work of art brings consolation in sorrow and affirmation in joy – it shows human life to be worthwhile.  However, many modern artists have become weary of this sacred task.”  By bringing beauty into all that we make and do, we enjoy the material world more and honour God as the source of all that’s beautiful, both in creation and redemption (see also Phil 4:8).



Truth. Art can bring us closer to reality, both positively and negatively.  A fresco in a Romanian Orthodox church depicts Jesus raising to life the widow of Nain’s son.  Surprisingly, perhaps, the boy and his mother were not gazing in awe at Jesus, but at each other in gratitude and wonder; Jesus was almost a bystander.  The artist is revealing the truth of God’s relational purpose in the gospel.  In contrast, Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei invites people to engage emotionally with real injustice. His 90 tonne installation ‘Straight’ is made entirely from the iron reinforcing bars recovered from the poorly-built schools that collapsed in the Sichuan earthquake of 2008 – killing over 5,000 children – which the authorities tried to hide.  This simple installation confronts us with reality in multiple ways.



Imagination. Faith and imagination belong together; Hebrews 11:1 says that faith is being sure of what we hope for, certain of what we do not see. Through combining beauty and truth, and giving form to something which we long for, the arts can help strengthen our faith, deepen our worship, and affirm that  there is much more to reality than what we see.



Art speaks the language of the soul; it has the subversive power to bypass our rational defences and speak to the heart – which is the wellspring of life (Proverbs 4:23). Thomas Cranmer, one of the 16th century English Reformers, wrote, ‘What the heart loves, the will chooses, and the mind justifies.’



 



Summary of the Five Foundations exhibition, by Liviu Mocan.



In light of this, we are delighted to be organising ‘Five Foundations’, a sculpture exhibition marking the 500thanniversary of the Reformation – which will stand opposite Kings College Chapel in Cambridge.  



The Romanian artist Liviu Mocan is creating a set of sculptures representing the five solas that summarise the Reformers’ vision for salvation: sola scriptura(by scripture alone), sola fide (by faith alone), sola gratia (by grace alone), solus Christus (through Christ alone) and soli Deo gloria (glory to God alone).



Expressing core theological truths in the form of public sculptures offers a unique window for exploring the Reformation and its legacy.  We will be recruiting volunteers to spend time at the sculptures talking to visitors who stop to look – about the Reformation itself, its connection to Cambridge and how it went on to influence so many aspects of society (such as universal education and literacy, human dignity and the equality of all people, the development of literature and the rise of modern science).



Our prayer is that thousands of people will be touched by this unique exhibition that weaves together history, faith and contemporary art. As I write, Liviu is working hard to complete the sculptures, and we’re hoping that we can install them before the summer is over. We believe the sculptures will not only impact visitors to Cambridge, but if they catch the attention of local and national media, the exhibition could add a significant dimension to the 500th anniversary of Luther’s 95 theses on 31st October and beyond.



More details, including two short videos introducing the exhibition and Liviu Mocan, are here.



 



Jonathan Tame, Director of the Jubilee Centre (Cambridge, UK).



This article first appeared on the Jubilee Centre website and was republished with permission.


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - - Art and social transformation
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels

An interview with the socio-political representative of the European Evangelical Alliance about how evangelical Christians work at the heart of the European Union.

 
Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

 
Lars Dahle: Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church Lars Dahle: Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church

An interview with Lars Dahle, of the Steering Committee of the Lausanne Movement Global Consultation on Nominal Christianity held in Rome.

 
Testimony: Wildfires near Athens Testimony: Wildfires near Athens

Nico Spies, a Christian worker in Athens, gives details about the wildfires in Greece.

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
Min19: Childhood, family and the church Min19: Childhood, family and the church

The first evangelical congress on childhood and family was held in Madrid. Pictures of the event, November 1-2.

 
IFES World Assembly: ‘Messengers of Hope’ IFES World Assembly: ‘Messengers of Hope’

Students, graduates and staff of the global evangelical student movement reflected together on how the books of Luke and Acts apply to today's universities.

 
Christians at work - the missing link in fulfilling the Great Commission Christians at work - the missing link in fulfilling the Great Commission

Photos of the Lausanne Movement Global Workplace Forum, celebrated in Manila.

 
European Freedom Network Bridge 2019 conference European Freedom Network Bridge 2019 conference

Images of the fifth EFN gathering. Experts, activists, counsellors and church leaders met in Pescara, Italy.

 
VIDEO Video
 
World Evangelical Alliance General Assembly highlights World Evangelical Alliance General Assembly highlights

The World Evangelical Alliance's General Assembly 2019 in Jakarta, Indonesia, brought together 800 evangelicals from 92 countries to pray, worship and cast vision for the new decade of holistic discipleship.

 
What defines a godly leader? What defines a godly leader?

Adrian Reynolds, Associate National Director for the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches (FIEC), explains how a godly leader should be.

 
Kanye West sings to Jesus with inmates Kanye West sings to Jesus with inmates

The hip-hop artist and his gospel choir performed ‘Jesus Is King’ songs in a Houston prison. Images of the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

 
How can we encourage believers to serve Jesus with us? How can we encourage believers to serve Jesus with us?

“It is not just pastors who do ministry. When the saints are doing the ministry too, the Body of Christ is build up and grows towards maturity in the faith”, says Greg Ogden, Chairman Global Discipleship Initiative.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.