POC Blog

The random technotheolosophical blogging of Reid S. Monaghan

Artistic Expression, T-ruth, and MTV

Thinking about the arts in our world…Many things are appreciated by the contemporary world of artists. A few things I have noticed…respectible art, being real, and freedom of expression Of all virtues of the world today…Being real or authenticity is something we as believers ought to stink of…but sometimes faith communities become stale and postured. However, I have found it strange though that many believers today think the “world” is more “authentic” or “real” than believers…this has not been my experience at all – and I came out of the unbelieving world!!! I think sometimes we learn what being “real” means by watching too much MTV… Respectibilty in art in the modern world is a fickle concept – and follows trends that at times just go all over the place (from the truly aesthetic, to the macabre, to the bizarre, to the absurd.) Freedom of Expression in today’s world places the beauty of art in the expresser (the self) and not in the beauty of something/someone else. This indeed is a tension – the autonomous expressive self – with the gospel which calls for repentance, submission, etc. to God - who is transcendently other. Autonomous expression is an “absolute” in our day to many in the arts – unquestioned except by perhaps the expressions that do not draw crowds or do not bring in profit for “marketers of the arts” The art/skill that is needed to connect “absolutes” to “artistic idealists” is indeed itself an art. To know where someone’s emotional urges, or frustrations about the world connect to the actual gospel is very needed. Many times what happens today, is that ideas get exchanged once trust is gained, and a “dance” begins (There is actually a book entitled – Evangelism as Dance in the Postmodern Matrix) – I have observed a problem with such dances and those who are practitioners of such…Many times such dances do not contain some very important elements that are of utmost importance to the gospel. Like the utter sinfulness of human beings and the need for forgiveness and a call for a friend to repent and place faith in Christ. Now, I am not meaning a “rush to the point of decision” or “rush to the sinner’s prayer” – I don’t even flow that way myself. But the gospel story – God’s story – is that we must fall upon our faces before a holy God in utter dependence, that we are guilty of breaking his laws and that unless we repent – we perish. Many times these truths (call them the teeth of the gospel into the autonomous self) are left out of the dance. After all, a nice dance partner does not tell you that your current moves will dance you off an eternal cliff. The good thing is this - A body – a church, a local community…who is living in authentic relationships, who cares about beauty in human expression (you know aesthetics was a branch of philosophy in the medieval church, the church which produced all this great art) because it cares and loves the objective beauty of God…who values human expression, yet an expression under a yoke of true goodness, AND holds out the T-ruth of the gospel, with both its teeth (severity) and open arms of grace (mercy), can be in itself a powerful witness to the people in the artistic world. What a terrible sentence…gee, I need some sleep. I pray that God would use his people to lead such a community of influence. Let us never loose the absolutes for the sake of a culture obsessed with looking at its own reflection in a mirror and may our dances ever have a direction – waltzing or moshing, to the foot of a rugged cross where God incarnate bled and died to purchase a people to be his very own…TRULY (transculturally, translinguistically, transtemporally) so. Out...