When I first began this website and weekly blog, I was focusing rather broadly on ministry, especially as it relates to smaller churches. I then narrowed the focus to reflect more specifically on the place of the arts in churches, again speaking out of my experiences in a smaller church. After more than six years, I have reached the point where sometimes those reflections on the arts seem fresh, and at other times they feel to me as though I have said things in the past. If you weren’t visiting the website years ago, or only visit occasionally now, you may not have noticed themes being repeated. But while there are certain things that are important to lift up more than once, I believe that church ministry, especially as it is supported by the arts, should continue to bring fresh perspectives and insights.
As such, with the turning of the New Year, I am going to change my focus some. While I will still share thoughts about the arts on a fairly regular basis, I am also going to reflect more generally on church life, and will also have weeks when I explore readings from scripture and other sources, offering thoughts for church life that I gather from such readings. I expect that this shift in focus will energize me, and I hope that it provides you too with moments of reflection and insight.
Experiencing Works of Art
It requires time, patience and discipline to engage with artistic expressions, three qualities that our hurry-and-get-it-done-now world neither appreciates nor encourages. To walk past a painting and pretend that we have perceived it, is to deceive ourselves. To watch a movie while talking with friends, unless we have seen the movie before, removes the depth of experience that the filmmaker is offering to us. To look at pottery in a potter’s showroom, without carefully feeling the nuances of the form, is to miss the joy of the work and the connection with the act of creation.
To receive the impact of a work of art, one must engage that work, and then integrate the response into one’s thoughts and meditations. This is nothing less than the careful discipline that any other form of spiritual nourishment requires, in order to fully receive the gift that is offered in that moment.
Welcome to my website. I hope you will discover a connection to the life of small churches, and the richness that the arts can bring to these churches.