Today, i want to talk about art as a part of ourselves. I want to call it our creativity, and say that it is part of being made in God’s image.
Art is not somewhere “out there” or “over there”, it is part of who God made us to be. We are symbolizers, we are creative, it is part of who we are.
What I see in the church still, is a lack of integration of its own creative life. There is still a sense in which art is good to use–to evangelize etc; but not to “be”. The fact is we are made in His Creative image as well, and so should be symbolizing, creating etc as a church. The divorce of the arts from the church has happened on the ontological or level of being.
When a person has an unintegrated creative life, they lack the vital freedom and life and innovation and possibility that strengthens the other aspects of their life, such as management, finances etc. People need to BE creative, and to have this aspect of their lives giving valuable life to all the other aspects. This is also what one wants to see on a collective level in the church. The church as a whole needs to integrate or “bring home” its own creativity.
This is not just about harvesting artists, or using the arts to spread the word. It is about becoming a fuller expression of who the Church is meant to be. It is about the Church being a true symbol of Jesus Christ–which is its primary job, ie to be His “Body”. Christ is creative, we are His Body, so we also should be creative. When our creativity is not integrated, we misrepresent Him. He is the Way, the Truth, and The Life. Creativity comes somewhere under the life aspect of Christ, and we desperately need this aspect of Him as a People.
So our motivation is to represent Christ more accurately. He is creative, so we also should be. Now what this could mean to the world is obvious. When the church is symbolizing the things of God, it is powerful. When her creative self is integrated, God can express very directly through her onto earth.
Three stones, or internal obstacles remain unmoved. These three block the church from becoming the artist she is. Each of the three generations now on earth have had their own unique obstacle to integrating God’s creativity into their own lives and leadership in the church.
The older gen, the generation of Billy Graham and many great men and women of God, had the stone of lack of vision for the arts; the subsequent generation–the boomers–struggled with “the museumification” of the arts out of fear of everyone getting too wild (stone of control); for gen X, my own generation, it is the wound of an unvalidated creative self, so the need to compete with or recover their lost creative past. All of these stones must be removed or rolled away, so we as a whole three generations strong can BE the whole symbolizer God wants us to be.
In my parents generation, there simply was not the “luxury of art”, as they say. The nature of that season on earth, was less creative, others say. The fact is, God was building a foundation through them, and though there were men of great vision, vision itself seemed to not be the primary way God was communicating. Almost the opposite to our own generation.
With the boomer generation–the Jesus People generation–there was tremendous creativity, but coupled with spiritual immaturity in other areas. So that there came to be a fear of the creative unless is was pretty tightly bridled. So it was.
It was contained to worship, or some house churchy expressions. But not as in the beginning of the movement, allowed to run free, and just express authentically what God was doing in people. Still, there was a great creative breakthrough accompanying the entire Jesus People movements in California and Europe, which happened simlutaneously to the “hippie”, “beat” and other arts and cultural movements in the 60’s and 70’s.
My own generation, which i would name the prophetic or creative generation, because i think we are meant to have the job of interpreting, naming, teaching, but from vision and through our creativity. We are basically the artistic generation. But there is a reason for this. God wants to communicate, prepare, instruct, warn etc. And He wants room just to BE more fully incarnate in His People.
Our generation took its creativity elsewhere, which is unfortunate. We did so for many reasons, but as we integrate into the church we can be models for an integrated creative life, at the same time as bringing this vital aspect to the whole expression of the Church. Our obstacle is earlier rejection from those in leadership from the previous generations. As, i said above, we felt the control wounds of the previous generation, or the indifference from the older one. So many of us left–not Christ, but the church. This is a sad testiment to the enemy effectiveness in dividing the image of Christ which the church is to meant to be. As many of us return to offer our gifts without the anger or hurt of rejection, we can be a vital part of rejuvenating the image of Christ in His Church.
It is a sign or prophetic act that many leaders of my own generation are feeling called to labour for the church again. And to step past previous wounding by it, to bring this vital new freedom of expression and room for the Kingdom to come into the building again. It should make the building much more vibrant and its structures more innovative. This is the mending of the generations, but more importantly, the healing the His Image in the Church itself.
Not about art, about God:
As I said, the issue is not just to bring the arts into the church, but to bring the creative aspect of God into our lives, into who we are as Christians. It is nothing less, than to let God’s creativity live in us, in a daily and practical way. We are to be the most creative people on earth, as we are centered in and living from the God of all creation. The one who made heaven and earth. This is who we live in and from. And He wants to create through and in us for His Own pleasure of expressing Himself. As we allow God’s creativity to dwell in us, we will feel His Life and freedom of expression well up in us and overflow out into a dry world. We will also begin birthing and projecting His symbols out onto our neighborhoods, cities and nations, in a way which helps mend and heal our world. As we become agents of symbolic healing, we will see many people start to recognize true symbolic associations in their places of work. Many will respond to this, and in this way, to heal the creative is an act of evangelism, it is indeed part of the good news, that all the earth is the Lords, and everything in it reflects and expresses His Glory!
Behold, God is one. His creativity is not separated from His Order, His Truth, His Knowldege etc. His artist is not separated from his bussiness man. In other words, He is integrated. We are made in His Image, and thus also need to be becoming one person. The one who justified, is also able to sanctify, and work in us, His own integrative process In other words, Christ is busy making us whole, and He will complete what He started! Jesus is Lord over every aspect of who we are! And wants to “bring home” our creativity, and make us whole or one as He is!