If all goes well, I'll be blogging two new series in the month ahead.
I need your help.
I'll be examining Christianity and the creative arts soon. For this series, I need to ask some private questions of authors, painters, sculptors, graphic designers, videographers, photographers—anyone who is a born-again Christian and makes at least some part of their living as an artist. If that is you or you know someone who fits that category, please write me a private e-mail (see the address in the sidebar) requesting to be a part of the survey I'll be conducting.
This week, I'll be posting a series on developing true community in our churches. I firmly believe that the majority of ills suffered by today's American churches are directly linked to the abysmal state of true community. We are too beholden to the American civil religion of self-reliance to the point that the mission of the Church in America has largely failed.
If you have ideas how to better the community we Christians are supposed to embody, please comment on this post or send an e-mail. I'll weave good suggestions into the series.
Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you.
10 thoughts on “Two Series Announcements—Need Reader Input”
Not being terribly creative, I’ve passed the first part on to a film-maker friend of mine. As to the second part, people in general, but Christians, specifically, spend too much time in personal pursuits of happiness. Whether that is watching TV, reading a book, jogging, working, or playing video games, we are being conformed to this world, and not transformed by working out our salvation in fear and trembling. We need more joint pursuits of the will of God, being with prayer and the reading of His word.
From there we need to move on to being visibly present in the community. In urban areas we should be helping to clean up the blight of graffiti and litter, providing homes for the homeless and jobs for the jobless. We should be volunteering in hospitals and nursing homes, bringing comfort and peace to the sick and dying. In the suburbs we should be volunteering in schools, reading to the kindergarten and elementary schools, helping teachers do the paperwork that keeps them from giving 100% in the classrooms. We should be working with school administrators with the duties they have, from hall monitoring to filling out the endless forms that our enlightened governments require. We should be cleaning up roads and highways, providing transportation to our rapidly aging neighbors, offering to mow lawns for those who can’t, feeding the elderly and ill who can’t afford food and medication. We should be offering classes on financial planning, marriage counciling, how to deal with teens, how to raise a child.
And never mention Christ unless asked.
People should never be coerced into listening to the word of God. The song says “They will know we are Christians by our love” and that is what Jesus told His disciples, “they will know you are my disciples by your love for one another.” The early church was lauded by non-Christians for being kinder to non-believers than non-believers were towards one another. We need to be so full of the peace and love of Christ that it becomes obvious to everyone. And frankly, standing on a street corner with a sign that says “Fags will burn in hell!” just does not put across God’s love. Protesting against gay marriage helps no one, and preaching “against” the issue du jour, will not lead people to desire a relationship with Christ.
Christians need to stop telling the world how to act, and start showing the world how to act. And to start by being servants. My heart aches for those who are turned away at the gates of eternity with Christ because of the strident anger of His people.
…And by the way…It should go without saying that all our labors begin in our own body, first. If we cannot take care of our own families, we have no business being out in the community.
One of Micheal Card’s recent podcasts may be of interest to you. In Program 236, he interviews Makoto Fujimura about “the trends in the American art world and how faith can influence our creative expressions”.
Not being terribly creative myself, I still found it fascinating to listen to.
Community was the very topic of our sermon on Sunday. I blogged a little about it this morning myself. If you have the time, you might want to follow the link from my blog to the sermon (available in video and audio).
PS I tried to send an email saying I would participate in the survey, but it bounced back to me.
My email to you bounced also. I would like to participate. I don’t make a living writing poetry, but I am starting a chapter of the state’s poetry society.
Likewise, the following message bounced back to me when I tried to send via email:
I am a reader (we’ve interacted via email before) and a fairly well-established visual artist/art educator here in Pennsylvania. I am available to participate in your survey – for the record, I am primarily a painter, but I also draw and recently started doing more functional art.
Should you need samples for any reason, I have many digital files I can share.
Love your blog. Keep contending.
Friend of Aslan
I sent you an email (re: the Survey) but it bounced back.I’m a full time art director.
I recently blogged a series (Ice Breakers, Oprah, Hermit Crabs & Christian Community) in which I basically approached the issue of community through the aspect of mission. Too often, it seems, I’ve found Christian community to be inadequate because it is based around US…and not the mission. The pursuit of community, in my own experience, has often led me to dead ends…because I was pursuing COMMUNITY instead of the mission. If the goal is to “find community”, I wonder if we ever will….
This is Rick Garside – I am a filmmaker and David Riggins passed your survey on to me. Since most comments indicated the e-mails are bouncing back, I’m indicating my willingness to participate this way.