We’ve got our ‘Goldsmiths’ event coming up next week, in which we use drama and music and so on to present the gospel. As a result, I was flicking through a book of Christian dramatic ‘sketches’ this morning on the way to work.
I work in our church’s ‘Creative Department’. Sounds exciting, wouldn’t you say?
In fact, it’s only really just getting going and no-one seems to be quite sure exactly what the shape of its future will be. What we are sure of is that we want to be able to harness Spirit-inspired creativity and use it to communicate the message of the gospel of the kingdom.
That will involve writing, graphics, ICT and internet, video, music, photography... and as time goes on could well embrace new ventures in more expressive arts – the dramatic and the like.
These days much of my creativity at work goes into writing and editing. But drama is close to my heart (teaching it to teenagers for seven years gets it into your bloodstream...) It’s a funny thing about drama though. It can be regarded with a certain suspicion in Christian circles – and not without reason. Jesus reserved His most searing criticism for hypocrites (which literally means mask-wearers – actors!) And there are ever-present dangers of ‘art’ that vaunts the ego and leads to unreality. Such concerns shouldn’t be lightly dismissed...
And yet, and yet... when you’ve experienced the spine-tingling, breath-holding, tear-jerking, imagination-capturing power of live performance... and when you consider the inherent drama of some of Jesus’ stories and the prophets' demos... I can’t get away from the conviction that, used rightly, performance art has its place in communicating God. But we can't be glib - because of their power arts - drama, music, even graphic or fine arts - need to be used with care, in the fear of God.
And the Creative Department? Watch this space.