LeAnne Martin
Christians in the Arts

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Nigel Goodwin: "Engagement, Not Disengagement"

In my next few posts, I'm going to be talking to two experts about using the arts to reach our culture for Christ. My first guest is Nigel Goodwin, Executive Director of Genesis Arts Trust. Nigel is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art who worked in theatre, film, TV, and radio for over 10 years. He trained under Francis Schaeffer at L’Abri. Through Genesis Arts Trust, Nigel encourages and supports Christians in the arts, both celebrities and “unknowns”, all over the world.

LeAnne: What is the church’s role in our culture today?
Nigel: Except for a few notable exceptions, sadly it’s been a role of withdrawal. That goes back to the end of the 19th century, beginning of the 20th, when the culture was beginning to lose its Judeo-Christian roots and become more secular. Instead of the church being salt and light and engaging, there was a huge withdrawal, a disengaging. We built our own colleges and universities—our own subcultural system, rather than counter-cultural.

I think Christ calls us to a counter-culture. If He had withdrawn at any point from the world, the world would be worse than it is. But the Holy Spirit still broods over the world. God has never given up on the world that He so loves. True, we are called to be in it and not of the world, but we are called first to be in it—in it with a different frame of reference, a different way of thinking, of understanding, of seeing.

We need to take our Christianity out of the comfort zones of the church and into the marketplace. We ought to be in engagement, not disengagement.

To read more from Nigel, check out my post next Monday.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Christians in the Arts--Welcome!

As I stood in front of the painting, I realized that no photograph or reproduction could have prepared me for the beauty before me now. At the National Gallery in London, I gazed at a French Impressionist painting I had loved since my college art appreciation class but now I was actually seeing the original. It was Claude Monet’s "The Water Lily Pond,” one of a series of paintings of his pond in Giverny, France, done in the late 1800s. My eyes could not get enough of the early summer-greens of lily pads floating beneath the arched bridge.

The artist’s gift, given to him by the Creator, touched and moved me. Other visitors milled about, I’m sure, but for those few moments, it was just me, the painting, and the Lord. Thank You, God, I prayed. Thank You for the gift You gave the artist that made such beauty possible. And thank You for Your creation, which inspired it.

When I finally walked away, I knew I would not be the same. Through that painting, I had perhaps the most memorable worship experience of my life.

Excerpt from an article I wrote called “Worship: The Work of Art" that first appeared in The Lookout magazine, September 2002.

Have you ever been profoundly moved by art like I was, whether it was a painting, a symphony, the ballet, the theater? Do you love to experience art or to create it? Are you an artist who is a Christian or a Christian who loves the arts? Either way, you are in the right place. On this blog, I will be presenting Q&As with Christians who are artists, art enthusiasts and experts. I will also write about the arts from my own perspective. Occasionally I'll include quotations, helpful resources, practical information, etc. Soon I'll be adding links I like that you might enjoy as well. I plan to post twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays.

On Thursday, I’ll be starting a series of Q&As with two artists involved in the cultural debate: Nigel Goodwin of Genesis Arts Trust (www.genesisartstrust.org.uk) and Bryan Coley of Art Within (www.artwithin.org). They'll be talking about how Christians in the arts can impact the culture, the church's role in our culture, and more. I think you'll find their comments inspiring and insightful.

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