My Hope For the ChurchPosted: February 22, 2012
From the newly redesigned site for Christianity Today comes “What is Your Hope For the Church?” – a simple, positive space for Christians to express their hope for our community.
In an age often characterized by vicious religious infighting, doom-mongering, and political machination, the Christian community hears far too few voices of authentic hope. We’ve become very good at chanting what we’re against, but are forgetting what we’re for.
CT’s page is a welcome reminder that our faith is one of affirmation, not naysaying, liberty, not legalism, and healing, not wounding. We have a great deal of hope. We don’t share it enough. We have hope, as a community, and as individuals. We need to share it.
So, in the interest of sharing, here’s my hope for the church today:
My hope for the church is that she (we) can grow in true, original creativity.
Ours is a sad age, when a separate market exists for “Christian” books and music and art, and everything. It is a situation worthy of rage and tears when that “Christian” creativity is so utterly bad. You don’t have to be an art snob to recognize the derivative, cliche-ridden puddle of marketing melodrama that is 95% of contemporary “Christian” expression. We can do better. We have done better.
I hope desperately that the church can once again be a source of inspiration and expression respected by and engaged with the creative world.
I hope that humanity’s best songs are still to be written, that our best novels are still to be penned, our best paintings and poems and sculpture and manga and fictions and proverbs and dances and masks and fashions and woodcuts and carvings and haiku and sonnets and sestinas and architecture and gamelan music and yarnbombs and choral pieces and video games and cuisines and cocktails and microbrews and tattoos and performances and dramas and tall bikes and films and gardens and stream-of-consciousness narratives and installations and spoken-word performances and television shows and mysteries and science fiction and tall tales and cosplay and street music and festivals and electric guitar solos and jewelry and speeches and prayer flags and legends and epics and meditations and bluegrass jams and documentaries and odes and tribal songs and metal work and punk rock and hymns and prints and triptychs and diptychs and homemade ukuleles and sketches and engravings and animations and stop motion movies and every type of human craft that we once made, now make, or can imagine we one day could make would be made by my brothers and sisters in the family of Jesus.
I’m jealous for us Christians to live up to our potential as creative beings. At our best, we have so much to share. So much love. So much joy. So much truth. So much humility. So much sharp, wonderful ability through which Jesus can speak and sing and spin his strange, unpredictable spells of redemption.
This incredible ability to express is true of every human and every culture, but today, my hope is for the church. This is true for the church. In doing this, we’ll know, and make known, our relational, creative, builder-crafter God.
We have all been made makers. My hope is that we can forge a creative legacy that shines so lustrously that the truth of God’s here-and-later kingdom is seen for what it is – a pearl worth selling everything to obtain. Seen for what it is – a life, a death, and a resurrection.
If the salt has lost its flavor, who’s going to shake it? I’m not saying that art is the gospel. But we shape as we are shaped.
Let’s think carefully about what that says about each, and all of us.
I hope that the light of the resurrection can flash and gleam in the things that we make.
Please hope this with me.
View the full campaign, and share your own hope with CT’s readers here. There’s much more to read after the jump.