Arts and Crafts, Movies and Music

There’s a strand of imagination that runs throughout the Bible, a book overflowing with love songs and parables, craftsmen and outsider artists, music and apocalyptic eviserations of Empire. This page serves as a launchpad for all my posts relating to the interplay of creativity and faith.

So start with The Importance of Art: The Story of Bezalel, which covers the Old Testament’s great craftsman, and how creativity is a spiritual gift. Bezalel’s legacy crops up again and again throughout this blog, including posts on creative approaches to peacemaking and turning swords into ploughshares, and the healing power of how art is used to treat PTSD. If our churches can release the gifts of our artists, we can have an impact beyond our imagination.

Part of this revolves around the stories we tell; we too often tell tales with no happily ever after, when in fact we need to use our creativity and our art to tell more positive, transformative stories. The different applications of this are also looked at in a multi-part post for National Storytelling Week (chapters one, two and three.).

If you’re into cooking then there’s a post on building church community through food, and if you’ve got green thumbs, maybe take a moment to reflect on the intersection between faith and guerilla gardening. Our churches are full of people with practical skills, so maybe DIY and the maker/fixer movement may inspire some ideas to support our communities. However, art can also be problematic – what, for instance, is the spiritual impact of defensive architecture? Cartooning also has has a dark side.

There are reflections on painting in ‘The Power of a Portrait‘, while there’s also a post about fashion – or at least the design of clothing and how that can have symbolic value. The power of photography as witness is discussed, and while there’s not much on the practice of writing, there’s a meditation on grace as filtered through the story of a homeless man and a mobile library.

Sculpture is represented by ‘Homeless Jesus‘; comic book art by ‘José y Maria‘, which has become something of a Christmas icon for me. There are also digressions; a post on Joshua Norton for Christ the King Sunday also included a discussion on the outsider artist James Hampton, who built a throne for Jesus in his garage…

Pop culture also gets a look in, with posts on Pulp Fiction, Ghostbusters, Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Last Crusade. There are also posts on ‘Fairytale of New York‘ and Springsteen’s ‘Thunder Road‘, and the Civil Rights campaign inspired a post on singing when you don’t feel safe. And while Psalm 137 inspired a disco classic, it’s actally the most metal song in the Bible!