Saturday, May 10, 2008

Art for/from/before the Church

Harold Best delivered a lecture at the 930 today entitled "Art for the Church, Art by the Church, and Art before the Church". The audio should be posted here in the next few days.

In his lecture, Best touched on a wide variety of topics, including the imago dei, evaluating secular art, and Christian traditionalism; but one comment in particular really resonated with me. Best discussed how in our culture we have exhausted the use of our superlatives. Every concert has a standing ovation, every film worth seeing is "awesome", just being "good" is no longer enough. Best went on to say that in his own life he is trying to recapture the meaning of the word "good". Appealing to Karl Barth, who referred to God as "the Good God", Best made the case that art for and from the church does not need to be the best art in culture, but it needs to be authentic. It needs to be good.

As a musician who is trying to serve God and his church with his gifts, this was really encouraging to hear. Best further augmented this theme when he stated that every artist serving the church should have a personal kenosis, an emptying of the self.

In a society that is obsessed with being the best, being content to be good can be a big relief.

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