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May 9, 2021 | Chris Baselice
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In an era where almost nothing surprises us, shock still persists sometimes in surprising places. Like in the arts, where the work of shock-seeking writers and artists end up in novels, galleries and museums, theatrical and dance productions, and on TV and movie screens. This may lead one to question, “Does art really matter in Christianity?” It matters to God. God created heaven and earth and everything in between. The Book of Genesis begins with God painting the earth and making humanity in His image. And all of that is art.
God is an intentional artist. He told Moses not only to create the pattern of His temple and the tabernacle, but He asked for specific tools, measurements, colors, and fabrics to be used. And all of those things were symbolic and specifically pointed to Jesus—the One that all creation resembles and was made for. It’s hard to imagine a world without art that showcases the beauty of God’s creation. It would be colorless, bland, silent, and disconnected—the opposite of what God intended it to be.
“Art communicates a lot of different messages, most especially, God’s message,” explained Erik Pluemer, Calvary Christian Academy’s high school film teacher. “Some of the greatest storytellers in history were Christians. Think of C.S. Lewis. In any of his stories, like The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, he doesn’t try to go out of his way to tell a story that’s overtly Christian. Instead, he preaches the gospel through the story. So, when people read the story and ask who Aslan is and what he represents, then they start seeing God.”
To captivate an audience, Pluemer tells his students to freely express themselves, but to pay attention to what God wants them to do or say. He empowers them to create mystery in their art, which prompts people to ask, “What did that artist think when he was doing this?” “For art to be clear and for your message to make an impact, you don’t need to put ‘God in a box,’” shared Plummer. “Your message doesn’t always have to include a cross, a fish, or a portrait of Jesus’ face to connect with people. Christians in the art world who are inspired by God on what to make and how to make it carry an influential and powerful force that’s able to change mankind.”
Spend some time with great Christian art at home!
We've put together a great list of Christian art, from books to movies to music and more, that you can enjoy during this time, and where you can find them. Visit CalvaryFTL.org/Articles to check it out!