If I could give a series of church lectures on the arts....
We've been listening to a series of video lectures by R. C. Sproul on the arts in Christian theology. They're very good, but they are not particularly practical, and they are a bit reductive and isolationist. As a result, I was fantasizing this morning about what content I would include if I were given, say, five weeks of Sunday School or Sunday evening services or something in which to talk about the arts. What would my goal(s) be? How would I organize the series? What themes would I emphasize? What content would I include?
Well, my goal is obvious. My purpose would be to encourage the people of my church to get involved in greater cultural engagement. I would have succeeded if the Christians who heard me talk were no longer afraid of the artistic products created by “the world” and were educated about the major ideas alive in the minds of 21st-century American intellectuals and artists.
Before I proceed: What is the biggest problem in your church's interaction with the arts? If you could give a series of talks on the arts, what would your goal be?
My first thought was to organize such a series generically: one each on literature, music, visual arts, theatre, and “misc” including dance. But Sproul spent the first three lectures laying theological groundwork and is now going through the genres. I wouldn't want to repeat.
Then I thought maybe I would organize it around “the philosophical foundations and implications of the arts.” I won't, but more on that below just so I can indulge the concept.
Before I proceed: How would you organize a 5-talk series on the arts at your church?
I decided that if I ever got such a great opportunity, I would organize the series around themes. Each theme would be designed to correct a misconception or fill in a gap in my particular local church's ideas about and interactions with the arts. So now I'm going to release these themes one per day this week, followed by one about the arts and philosophy. I hope that these short, provocative posts, each with a question for you, Dear Reader, might spark some conversation. So stay tuned tomorrow for the first theme, and then later I'll post an index to the themes.
Here is an index to these posts.