Today's Journal

ART RESTORED

Creatures and creativity and creator at one time were all very similar. But now there is a built-in fear in Christianity of being creative. This is probably left over from a Puritanical ethic after the Reformation (i.e., 1575-1620ff). Being “reformed” primarily from Catholicism where there was much art, icons, creativity in architecture, and extreme pageantry through dress and décor; reformers determined that “if it was Catholic it was not of God.” Taking on the austere, plain, simple and non-frivolous life meant there was “no time” for art, music, and other creativity. (Note: This is true until the Amish and others turned their farms, furniture, houses and life-style in harmony, order and art itself. They produced beauty. However it was all practical and plain).

The built-in fear of creativity goes back to the beginning of cultural and religious formation. The giving of the Law with the encapsulated Ten Commandments included, “You shall have no other gods before me” and “You shall not make for yourself an idol or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on earth beneath or in the water under the earth.” These were the First and Second Commandments.

The story of the Golden Calf in The Book of the Exodus is the dreaded “image making” or “idol” that is created in an attempt to replace God. Aaron “fashioned it with an engraving tool and made it into a molten calf.” Paul, an apostle, confronts this “image making” among the Greeks on Mars Hill in Athens in the book of the Acts of the Apostles.

The Lord is never displeased when we are creative. He is honored and praised by our being like Him in our own creativity. What he cannot tolerate is for us to assume to be the Creator. This is The Lie he will not allow. He loves to be worshiped as Creator and Maker. This is The Truth of God.

Restoring art to the church is not to make images and idols; it is to restore beauty. Art is to glorify God, not replace God. We really need to get past some of our 500-600 year old prejudices.

“You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.” Jesus