Andy Crouch on visual art

CIVA has posted a podcast interview with Andy Crouch, the author of Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling. I loved his book, and this discussion with Brian Moss is equally interesting. I encourage you to follow the link to listen to it in full. It’s thirty-two minutes long.

1:56: What is the relationship between power and art?

Humans as image bearers — The cultural mandate and its tensions — Ancient cave paintings — Idolatry as an attempt to master reality, or the projection onto an image of the human quest for power — Dominion without control

8:04: How do you reconcile art making with the prohibition against graven images in Exodus 20?

The dangers of image making — Transcending time — The incarnation as a game changer (in Christ it was shown that matter can fully bear the presence of God)

11:28: It’s easy for families and congregations to know how to make music a part of their communal life of worship, but how can we participate together in the visual arts?

It’s not about drawing or painting together, but beholding together — Making your furniture match your art — Inviting contemplation rather than consumption

17:54: Visual art has the reputation of being elitist, mythical, so above us; what can we do in our churches to correct this attitude?

Beginner’s mind — Henry Ossawa Tanner’s The Banjo Lesson — Humility and patience

22:39: What do you think artists want the church to know?

Don’t mistake difficult work for unfaithfulness — Don’t think of us as prodigals — Accept our allergies

27:46: What does the church want artists to know?

“The church longs for artists to find a language we can share and help us name the deeper things that we can’t name without that language. . . . Sometimes the church feels like artists are speaking a very strange language that we can’t share or that we can’t understand, and we so long for artists to meet us halfway and give us ways of representing the world in all of its fullness and beauty and terror, in ways that we all can participate in and offer up as a sacrifice to God. And that requires a humbling of artists sometimes, because artists love to speak the most rich and complex languages, but sometimes that’s like speaking in tongues: when you bring it into the church without an interpretation, it can’t be heard. And maybe that’s another thing that the church is longing for: an interpretation. An interpretation of the artistic tongue.”

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