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Language Less|ens 2: Linguistic Constipation July 17, 2006

Posted by fajita in Bible/Meditations, Christianity, emerging church/emergent, Philosophy/Religion, Post-restoration/Restoration Movement.

Using art (visual, performing, literary etc) as a means by which to convey the story of God is not merely a neat way to reach out to people who are traditionally marginalized in the church, it is essential to Christianity. Although there is some good sentiment in the idea of reaching out and broadening the tent, the value of art goes a lot deeper and is much more necessary for the survival of Christianity. Art as outreach only is like serving coffee at your church because there are people in the world who drink coffee, but no one in your church really likes coffee. They tolerate coffee because they heard about a coffee ministry at a conference in California. Art is far more essential and critical to the survival of the church.

It is essential for the survival of Christianity for the story to be told. However, when the same old ways of telling the story (which is ripe with hope) with the same old language no longer flows, but rather gets backed up in communication process, a sort of constipation occurs in which there is still a lot of input, but there is no real positive result. As with severe constipation, when the system is backed up for too long, there is real danger for damage.

Art, in its various forms, offers something to the Christian community that it desperately needs for its own survival: a laxative.

Art (good art) has a way of bypassing preloaded objections that have been programmed into the sender and receiver. Art freshens the stale packaging that the meaning has been wrapped in too long. Art provides a newer and more efficient cart to carry the message and allows the old and rusted cart to rest. Art can get the conversation going again and flush out the unnecessary clog.

Art is not just a good idea. An artless church will die – period. It may be a slow and grueling death, but it will die.

The poets, painters, singers, dancers, graphics artists etc are necessary for the story to continue to be told. Creativity is the healthy diet that the church has been skimping on for decades, maybe even centuries. It’s like the church has been on a spiritual Atkin’s diet of the beef of propositional truth for so long it forgot what the breads, rolls, and even pastries of art even taste like and have labeled them as bad. You know, steak is good, but after steak for 15 straight decades, some nice warm rolls would taste pretty good right now. And might even do the body good.



1. joejames - July 26, 2006

C’mon Chris… why don’t you put some thought into a post every now and then! (joke!)

I miss my 24 pal already… looks like Travis will be promoted to my parking lot rendezvous point man for video exchange. Sorry man, but as you know very well – there’s no room for heart or soul in this game… we may have been buddies, but first and foremost we were collegues. Its time to move on! (another joke)

Tell Sierra and Canaan that Mr. Joe already misses them… Tell Doug Paggit, I said “McLaren rules all!”

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