Saturday, December 29, 2012

Reading: Imagine. A Vision for Christians in the Arts by Steve Turner

To talk about the evolution of my faith in Jesus would be to write an entire book.  There are so many aspects of my life that went into my faith and so many aspects that have been shaped because of Jesus.  One of these aspects is art.  When I was 17 and fully aware that I was becoming engaged in dangerous art, I began to surround myself with other artsy people and found that I was happier because of it.  Yet these artsy people were not Christian.  In fact, the more I became involved in the arts, the more I noticed that no one really took Christianity or Christians seriously and I wondered why.  I had a few ideas but not the maturity to form my concerns into words.  With each passing year I began to understand Christianity, art, myself, and Jesus a bit better.  I knew I wanted to read more into the issue because it has always been of great importance to me since one of the biggest questions I asked out of high school was, can a Christian be an artist?  The answer is yes.  I did not need a book to answer that question for me.  The question was answered through reading many books and listening to many different songs and watching Youtube videos and traveling to art museums with my class.  It was this book that put into words what I had failed to say for years.  After reading Imagine. by Steve Turner, I have gained much needed assurance and a much better knowledge of how art and Christianity have been combined in the past.
Each chapter of this book brilliantly tackles how and why art is important for the Christian soul.  It starts out by discussing how a Christian is rarely in the main scene of art directing films or making music.  Too often Christian art is too feel good and mushy instead of being raw and real.  Christian art often times does not look at the big issues of the day nor does it look at what other artists are saying on the issue and therefore display themselves as ignorant and gain no respect for their contribution.  While some Christians are producing "bad art", others shrug off art together and consider it to be a sin.  But Steve Turner says otherwise.  Turner says that art is essential and needs to be studied by Christians.  The book then goes into the history of art in the church, the arts influence on the world, and the theme that God should not be saved only for Sunday mornings but rather He should be present in everything a Christian does.  The book also addresses how Christians can use art without explicitly labeling it "Christian music" or "Christian novel".  The main example Turner uses in one chapter is the popular rock band, U2.

 Overall, I loved this book.  It was very informative and a unique and modern view of Christian art.  I recommend that anyone interested in theology or art to read this book.  I would also recommend it to all Christian artists because the book basically tackles every aspect of art in Christianity.  I most definitely am giving this book 5 out of 5 stars because it is a breath of fresh air in a world where Christians just simply believe that a song with Jesus' name in it 20 times is the only song worth listening to.

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