Scott McClellan posted an interesting blog article in Collide Magazine this week. He references a letter Pope John Paul II wrote to encourage artists in the Church. Scott was quoting from a book that references the letter. I appreciated the few quotes Scott included, such as:
… In Christ, God has reconciled the world to himself. All believers are called to bear witness to this; but it is up to you, men and women who have given your lives to art, to declare with all the wealth of your ingenuity that in Christ the world is redeemed.
You can read Scott’s post in Collide Magazine on-line: Collide Magazine » Blog Archive » It’s Up To You.
I have a copy of the Pope’s letter, kindly sent to me by my friend Byron Spradlin. The Pope gave his address on Easter Sunday, 1999. He began with these words, “To all who are passionately dedicated to the search for new “epiphanies” of beauty so that through their creative work as artists they may offer these as gifts to the world.” You can read the whole text here.
It’s great to have a lot of voices out there encouraging artists. Sometimes it seems as though faith communities still don’t get it, or at least don’t get artists (and vice versa).
For my part, I’m about extending the vision beyond our own local faith communities to see how artists can bring their stories to the ends of the earth and to learn the stories that God has given to other cultures. Art makes the transcendent concrete and it has the capability to cross cultural barriers in ways our texts and practices often can’t. How far can you take your creative expression?