I am a consumer and a creator of art in my Christian faith although I consider myself more of a consumer than a creator. I am consumer through my admiration and appreciation of Christian art that illustrates, portrays, and supplements tangible forms of Christianity principles. I consume Christian art by having pictures that portray Biblical events and figures. I also watch many Christian movies and plays. I also sing and worship God through Christian music and in the process considers myself a creator and a consumer.
The arts have a very significant role to play in my worship and faith. Music through praise and worship songs is an explicit form of art that guides Christians and people of other faiths to worship God. Through music, people can declare the Lordship of Jesus Christ, acknowledge God’s importance in their lives, and ask from God (Dyrness, 24). It is through singing, that Christians praise God and as such invite His presence in fellowships and in personal situations. At times people sing out their prayers to God. As such, music being a central component of Christian faith plays a vital role in enhancing Christian faith.
The movies, theatre works, plays, and other performances have enhanced my Christian faith. They have done so by portraying the life of Jesus and his crucifixion, the life of Paul, Abraham, Joseph, Moses as well many other Biblical figures. In all, the artistic presentations have given me a better understanding of my faith. I have learnt to associate my life with those of the Biblical figures. For instance, Mel Gibson’s 2004 Christian movie The Passion of Christ got worldwide acclaim for its portrayal of the brutality that Jesus went through prior and during his crucifixion. The film has continually challenged me to value, treasure and defend my faith and belief in Jesus Christ.
I have read about some concepts and characteristics about Christian art that have influenced my plans concerning art. Writings, films and plays are the forms of Christian art with which I am most acquainted and which I hope to pursue later in life. I read Christian blogs online and I have learnt a lot about Jesus Christ and Christianity in general. When feeling discouraged, I have always resorted to reading inspirational Christian blogs and I have always experienced great relief and encouragement. In addition, I have subscribed to some daily bible devotionals, which send me brief sermons every day. These devotionals and blogs have helped me to interpret several pieces of scriptures that I could not interpret and relate to my life. Because of the encouragements and Christianity teachings that art has offered me, I plan to start a Christian blog. This would give me an opportunity to tailor my messages of encouragement to suit varying life situations. Moreover, it would allow me to offer my insight on moral issues such as abortion, which have always been controversial in the modern world.
I have also watched several plays and films depicting Biblical and Christian life. I especially love the plays reenacting the birth of Jesus over the Christmas Holiday as well as the death and resurrection of Jesus in Easter holiday. The plays and films help me to picture the whole essence of Jesus coming to the earth and his mission as a son of God. In future, I would love to take part and direct some plays that depict the lives of Biblical heroes that have been least reenacted such as Job, Moses, Nehemiah, Joseph, Elijah, and many others. These people conducted themselves humbly and faithfully in their dealings with God. I believe that art through the dramatization of the lives of these people, I could give many more Christians a better perspective of noble Christian conduct.
Several practices and concepts from the theatre work we did together have influenced my life. Music and other performing arts have had a profound impact in my Christian life. I have loved the praise sessions through which I declare Jesus Christ as the risen son of God. My participation in theatre works such as plays has also had a deep impact in my life. As I played the role of a man as virtuous as Joseph the son of Jacob, I have felt challenged to live up to the expectations of such honorable living.
Playing the role of a virtuous character impacts in someone a deep conviction that they ought to live their lives in the manner the Biblical character did. It is the expectation of the audience that the person who plays such as role does not lead a life that is contrary to the artistic presentations of the actual character. As such, I have taken to reading the Bible more intensely on the characters that I have played such as Joseph son of Jacob and Joseph, the foster father of Jesus. In all, living one’s life in accordance with that of a virtuous Biblical figure makes it easier for one to lead an enviable Christian life. The reason for this is that one gets a role model upon whom someone can base his or her life and almost all the decisions one makes in life. For instance, playing the character of Joseph, son of Jacob taught me to be forgiving and to work hard in life.
The visual arts such as the cross and the images of Jesus have always reminded me of God’s love for His people. Jesus Christ is the ultimate symbol of God’s love for us (Jensen, 15). Jesus’s portrayal and that of the cross on which he died have exemplified God’s immense love for my life. These arts forms have strengthened my resolve to lead my life in accordance with Christian teachings.
I believe in the basic meaning of Hasidism; Christians are supposed to lead simple lives that glorify God at all times. Firstly, Hasidism to me means that I place priority of emotions over intellect. In accordance with assertions by Dyrness, I prefer sincere, simple, and intuitive devotion to God instead of the loud, calculated acts of worship and devotion to God (26). Secondly, Hasidism means that I appreciate the overwhelming presence of God and that I should worship God in remarkably simple actions. Moreover, I should appreciate God in nature. Thirdly, I should experience joy in my life. The consciousness of having an ever-present and loving creator leads me to feel joyful. I ought to worship God in good cheer. Fourthly is the breaking away from customs and traditions that limit my ability and rights to worship God. I prefer hearing of a loving and ever God instead of an authoritative “fire and brimstone” breathing God. I love to hear of how I should have faith in an ever-loving father rather than a punitive God who is always on the look out to destroy His people the way he destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.
As I picture of God, I have the image of a God who looks and rewards more of the good deeds we do rather than concentrating on the evil people do. In other words, we all experience God’s grace even if we may fail to reach certain standards of holiness because God enables us to do some acts of goodness (Jensen, 18). I believe that I can pray to God anywhere and anyhow. I believe that praying is my gateway to invoke divine blessings. I believe in gesticulation as I pray and incorporating songs and dances in my worship.
“Engaging the culture,” means that I incorporate aspects of my culture in all the things that I do. The cultural aspects may include music, artwork, food, dressing codes, religion, social events, and practices among others. I believe that culture is a vital part of wholesome living and that one is incomplete without culture. In relation to the arts, I believe that artwork that is unique to a certain culture gives that culture identity. It helps the people associated with that art and culture the ability and platform to stand out and play their role in developing the society. For instance, South America and the Pacific Islands value body art (piercings and tattoos) and unique melodious music. These artistic cultural aspects identify that culture and attract many admirers of that culture thereby opening up their regions for regional and global integration. In relation to faith and the arts, artistic cultural identities should play a central role in the spread of the Christian faith.
I anticipate conflicts and tensions between my faith and the arts. This is so because art and Christianity have become very dynamic and many controversies have arisen. For instance, dressing, body art (piercings and tattoos) are a rich ground for conflicts between my faith and the arts. In Leviticus 19:28, the bible prohibits people from piercing their bodies and having tattoos. However, in recent times tattoos have become the norm even among Christians. Some Christians makes tattoos of Jesus, their loved ones, the cross among other images that are deemed to have positive meaning even when viewed from a Christian perspective. In other cases, gospel musicians may engage in lifestyles and music that is non-conventional to Christianity.
There is also increasing evidence of devil worship and Satanism in the world. In several cases, some Churches professing Christian faith have been accused of propagating devil worship and Satanism through the arts forms of sculptures and paintings that they place in their worship places. The Christian faith has had many churches splitting due co controversies that are related to art forms and as such, there is ample potential for conflicts between the faith and art.
When there are conflicts between the Christian faith and art, the teachings contained in the Bible take priority for me. I consider the Bible to be the divine word of God, which is supreme and unquestionable. I believe in taking the Bible in simple and literal sense. I also believe that the Bible has answers to all problems and controversies and that all conflicts can be resolved by application of biblical scriptures.
The Christian faith and the arts are closely related. I am a consumer of art because I watch and admire Christian art such films, plays, sculptures, and paintings about several Christianity. I also create art through singing praises to God. The arts play the role of encouraging and guiding me in my Christian faith by interpreting the Biblical teaching to me. I have played as a biblical character and it has challenged me to live a life in accordance with the characters that I played. For instance, playing the character of Joseph, son of Jacob inspired me to be a forgiving person. I have read several Christian blogs and gotten encouraged and, as such, I plan to start a Christian blog through which I can also encourage many other people. I believe in Hasidism in the sense that I value simplistic Christian life that appreciates the presence and importance of God in my life at all times. I also consider art and culture to be inseparable and that art makes cultures to coexist harmoniously. While in anticipate that there shall be tensions and conflicts between the Christian faith and the arts, I appreciate that the Bible should be the basis of resolving all issues and guiding all Christians to live a wholesome life.
Dyrness, William A. Visual faith: art, theology, and worship in dialogue. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2001. Print.
Jensen, Robin Margaret. The substance of things seen: art, faith, and the Christian community. Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans Pub., 2004. Print.