Art matters to Joel, a plumber by day and whimsical birdhouse carpenter by night. He gives his artistic creations away to seriously ill children and adults, and the act of making them is as fulfilling as the reactions he gets when he hands the houses over.
Art matters to Ilene, a work-from-home mom who finds little time for herself. When she can find a sitter or the kids are at preschool and she has a bit of alone time, she buys herself a decorating magazine, goes to a local art museum, or writes poetry. The act of creating--and enjoying others' creations--fills up her soul as nothing else can.
Art matters to the children in Ghana who are part of Connor's Song. The caretakers at this outreach, created after the founders lost a son to sudden illness, use art and play therapy to help traumatized African kids heal from their wounds.
What about God? Does art matter to God?
Author and speaker Leigh McElroy thinks it does (and we do, too). In a video interview about the role of art in a Christian's life, she states:
"Centuries ago, the church was the training ground for artists. Artists apprenticed in the church; they told biblical stories through their art. Then, as time has gone on it seems like art and faith have diverged in a sense, and now, I'm seeing them come a little bit closer together with believing artists who aren't doing shlocky stuff, but who are really trying to convey beauty. Not in a hard handed didactic way, but just in a way that opens up the heart and says, 'look at this, it's beautiful, because God's the author of everything that's good and true and beautiful.' I think art matters a great deal . . . it's another way for us to tell our story. It's another way to communicate. It's another way to invite people in."
Share Your Story
Does art matter to you? If so, why?
Here at The High Calling, we value community and enjoy hearing from our readers about how they live out biblical principles in their daily lives.
This week, we need your stories about the ways "Art Matters" in your high calling. As you paint, sing, sculpt, act, write, or engage in any artistic endeavor, does that passion feed into your other passions? Does it encourage others? Does it benefit your relationship with God?
Here's a bit more about our upcoming theme:
"Go into the arts. I'm not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something." —Kurt Vonnegut
Sometimes, we hear people categorized as "artsy" (complete with the quotation marks), and it's as if we're not quite sure what to do with them. When God created us in his image, that image included the characteristic of creativity. We may not ever see our paintings on museum walls, and our freshly painted living room might never grace the pages of Better Homes and Gardens. But when we make art, we reflect the creative character of God. Have you ever stood back to admire your work? That's the very same thing God did when he created the world and when he created you. And when he looked at his creation, God declared it good. Art Matters. Imagine where we'd be without art. Look around you right now. I'll bet you see art, right? Join us for this series as we explore the gift of art and its role in ushering in God's kingdom, right where you live.
What We're Looking For
We are looking for stories about the things, people and experiences which inspire you to pursue your high calling, whatever (and wherever) that is. Every other week, we host a link-up, inviting writers to share blog posts and articles they’ve written about the ways God is present and active in the world. As we've noted, next week our theme is Art Matters.
Write to that theme on your personal blog or website, and use the Linky tool below to add your blog post to the collection by midnight on Saturday, July 11. (If you don’t have a blog, you can submit your story by using this form.) We've linked up the first story as an example.
Here are a few questions to get your creative juices flowing:
What kinds of artisitc things would you do, whether someone else saw them and appreciated them, or not?
Does your congregation or community group appreciate art and support artistic endeavors? Is that important, and why or why not?
What does Scripture say about art and how it intersects with the high calling of a believers's vocation?
How does God speak to you through the creative arts? Think of a specific time when he used photography, music, acting, painting, or another creative art to underscore a lesson he had been hinting at.
Helpful Hint: we love details, creativity, and great writing. Posts under 700 words are preferred. If you're new to The High Calling, read past articles to get a feeling for our style.
To receive a heads-up on upcoming calls for submissions, subscribe to receive an e-mail notification directly to your inbox. Just click on the link and enter your information. Or join our High Calling Writer’s Facebook Group where we will also announce the link-ups.
There may be weeks the chosen topic doesn’t inspire you. On those occasions, feel free to write about any of these ongoing, broader themes:
1. What are you passionate about in work? And why?
2. How are you serving God in your work?
3. How are you serving others in your work?
Just a note: our team of editors will review all of your stories and select a few to be published on our homepage (and promoted via our social media channels). If selected, your story will be edited for clarity, space and mechanics. By submitting, you agree to have your work edited.
We usually have quite a few more entries than we have space to feature them. If you aren't featured this time, please continue to re-submit. We look for a wide variety of perspectives, styles, and subjects, so don't take rejection personally (although we know it can feel personal). We so appreciate every single person who takes the time to write a post and send it to us.
That's about it, for now. Happy writing! We’re looking forward to hearing your story.