Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Here's a quote for today...

...maybe we'll start a conversation.

"The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance, and this, and not the external manner and detail, is true reality." (Aristotle)

Reminds me of a scripture verse in 2nd Corinthians: "Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal."

That which cannot be seen has greater significance than that which is seen. But, as James talks about, "Faith without works is dead" or useless. As artists, our challenge then is to translate the invisible into visible terms. (And no, I'm not suggesting every piece of art have a cross or a fish on it. I think just plain 'ole honesty will go a long way).

Honesty, experience, journey, discovery, struggle, pain, joy - these are real. What say you?

Friday, April 11, 2008

No Meeting tonight

Okay, I sent out the email Wednesday about canceling our meeting for tonight, and no one decided to pick up the slack, so there's no meeting tonight.

Let's talk about the future.

Our work together over the past few years has been up and down. We got off to a roaring start, dwindled a bit, piddled around, and we are continuing to search for exactly how to be who we want to be. The Stations of the Cross was a major step forward that took lots of time and energy and left everyone both tired and energized over the possibilities. We've been on a few field trips, had some parties, done some interesting discussions over truth, beauty, what art means, and how best to serve the Lord with the work.

Now what? I very proud of all of the work people are doing, and I think we need to kick around some new formats, new approaches, new ways of connecting each other to our work. And if you've loved (as I have) having visual art at the church, let's talk about ways to continue blessing people with that work.

All that having been said, let's start using the blog as a way to talk. One of the changes I've made is that I've committed to more time writing and blogging, because I think my primary gift relates generating ideas and creating conversations.

Anyway...pull up a chair and log on.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Writers Doing Visual Art

At this year's Stations of the Cross event, each station will feature a piece of art created by one of the members of the NW Church Arts Ministry. Last night I got started on mine. By trade, I am a writer, actor, director, and sometime preacher. Color is not my strong point, and I don't have much knowledge of adhesives, paints, and other visual mediums of visual art. But there I was, working on my first piece, the theme of which is Pilate judging Jesus. Whether anyone will get what I'm up to or not, who knows? But it made me reflect how quickly I shift into a "symbolific mode" when I am creating visually. Immediately I begin thinking in abstract symbols, drawing connections that would not be apparent to a casual observer, especially of the left-brain variety. I'm not sure what it means, but I can't tell if I'm just being obtuse, or if I'm being overly literal (truth is a puzzle), or what. I think what it means is that I'm not much of a visual artist. And why I should I be? It's a skill and a craft, and while creativity will get you a ways down the road, the art itself is--as it should be--hard.


Sunday, March 9, 2008

Ballard Art Walk

On Saturday March 8th, several of the NW Arts folks made a trip to the Ballard Art Walk. We started at Building C where we spent about 1.5 hours touring the various studios there. There are some amazing artists working over there. A walk along those paint encrusted floors never fails to light an artistic fire in my deepest soul and it was great to see everyone enjoying themselves so much.
Building C provided enough artistic stimulation for the evening because by the time we got over to the main part of the art walk everyone seemed ready for coffee and decompression. We spent a short time chatting and then headed our separate ways.
I hope we can do this again soon. Seattle has so many amazing artistic opportunities I don't think we'll ever run out of things to do.

Monday, January 28, 2008


In scripture, we first meet God as creator of a glorious world, a world He calls “good” in its essence. God then goes on to create a “very good” humanity, shaping male and female forms from the dust of the earth, finally breathing into us the breath of life, an inspiration of His Spirit that placed His image on our very being.

The act of God’s creation is the beginning place for biblical thinking about the arts.

With this in mind, the Arts Ministry at the Northwest Church recognizes the fundamental artistic urge—the desire to make something—as having come from God, therefore having innate value in and of itself. Humanity’s urge to make and design items for function and for beauty stems from our sharing in God’s image and nature at the most fundamental level.

Therefore, the NW Church Arts Ministry seeks ways to encourage and equip artists as they work to discover and create the forms God has called them to make, constantly working to honor and glorify God in the making.

Practically speaking, this means the Arts Ministry wants to help artists do their work. In the end, we know that an artist makes art by doing just that—making it, and that only the artist can shoulder the work. But being responsible to do the work need not mean working in lonely isolation.

We recognize making art—and by art we are referring to any skilled creation of form that is attempting to make a symbolical statement about the world and the human experience (music, theatre, painting, poetry, literature, architecture, various products of design and craft, etc.)—to be hard, skillful work, requiring ample amounts of material and spiritual resources in order to proceed.

Therefore, the primary focus of the NW Church Arts Ministry is to help provide connection to those specific and necessary spiritual resources, the most primary of which is Jesus Christ.

As Christians, our emphasis is on finding wisdom and strength, beauty and truth—indeed, salvation—in the person of Jesus, and serving the coming of His Kingdom (the reign of God) in the world with our thoughts, our feelings, and our work.

Several new efforts are being launched as we begin to reach out to the artists in our congregation and our community.

1) THE ARTIST COMMUNITY: Central to this work will be the establishment of The NW Church Artist Community. The Artist Community will seek to make connections between artists of all ages and disciplines, styles and interests. This community will seek to create various and diverse opportunities for the creation of what we are calling The Conversation. It will also constantly seek the means by which to reach out to the artists in our community who are not part of the body here at the NW Church.

2) THE CONVERSATION: The Conversation is just that: it is the ongoing thinking, experiencing, and talking that our artists will share as we move forward on the journey of faith and art making. Our hope is for The Conversation in our Artist Community to be energetic, vital, and highly relevant to the lives of the artists participating. The Conversation will take place in multiple and diverse settings, including, but not limited to, the following: an ongoing Sunday morning Bible study, an ongoing small group fellowship, an online community, mentoring and counseling, and various arts events.

Our desire and prayer is that the primary force driving The Conversation will always be the Holy Spirit of God.

If you are an artist, and by this we mean to include professionals, educators, critics, hobbyists, apprentices, and young people (of all disciplines), then come be a part of The Conversation. Let us help you find your work and the means to work on it, and through that work, we’ll join in the transforming work of Christ’s Kingdom, the constant call to true love and freedom in Him.