Thursday, September 08, 2011

The Heart of the Artist

Being an 'arty Christian' can be hard sometimes.  When people refer to 'those artsy fartsy types' it often has negative connotations.

But take heart arty types.  This is the book for you.

The Heart of the Artist by Rory Noland explores what it means to be a Christian who is gifted in the arts and keen to serve God in that area.  He encourages Christian artists to accept and nurture the talent God gave them and the unique place they have in the body of Christ.

Some of the issues he explores are:
  • Servanthood vs Stardom - people gifted in the arts are often worshipped by society and this can prove to be a temptation for Christians who are artistically gifted.
  • Spiritual Disciplines
  • Character - It's not just about having talent.
  • Handling Criticism
  • Jealousy and Envy - don't wish for another artists' gift.
  • Managing Your Emotions - many artists are more in touch with their emotions and while this can be good in loving others, letting go of your emotions is not good either.
  • The Artist and Sin
One thing he emphasises is that there are plenty of opportunities for artists to serve INSIDE the church.  Too often artists think the only opportunity to serve God is in the Christian music industry or by selling your paintings etc.  I can see his point, although he is from Willow Creek Community Church - a mega church in the US with stacks of opportunities for arts ministries within the church.  I've only ever been a part of smaller churches where there isn't the manpower or desire to have arts ministries besides music.  My old church in Perth meets in a lecture theatre at a university and there's a great big lecturn slap bang in the middle of the space down the front which is not very practical if you want to do drama.  I guess I could start new ministries, but in a small church you don't want to add MORE things to people's already crowded weekly schedules.  This has proved to be one of my dilemmas since becoming a Christian - do I just serve in a small church in the ways that are needed (and do arty things outside), or do I go to a bigger church with more opportunities to serve in the arts?  I much prefer smaller churches rather than being lost in a crowd, and since we're in the country, a large church is no longer really an option.

Overall, if you're gifted or keen on writing, acting, painting, drawing, music, dance or other arty disciplines, then read this book!  If you've ever felt like a freak or been told to 'toughen up' for having a caring, sensitive nature, then read this book!

As Noland says in the book, God is interested in your art AND your heart.

1 comment:

Janine said...

Thanks for sharing the review. I have a friend I think would be really interested in this. I will point her to it.