Yesterday Kelly Schumacher of Agnus Dei Liturgical Arts was on Issues Etc. discussing the difference between contemporary and classical art in the Church. It was a great program. If you have 30 minutes and 37 seconds I recommend you give it a listen by clicking here.
As I listened to the show I was reminded of something I read a while ago in Brian Zahnd’s book, Beauty Will Save the World.
The beautiful combination of color and form has been broken, and beauty has been lost. It is a tragedy, and we are saddened. What we hope for now is some kind of restoration – we hope that beauty can be recovered. We hope for this because one way of viewing life is as an ongoing struggle to create, preserve, and recover what is beautiful. This is why art is not merely a leisure pursuit but serious business, because, quite simply, life should be made as beautiful as possible… Putting it as plainly as I can, evangelical Christianity needs to recover the form and beauty that are intrinsic to Christianity.
Later in the same chapter he says, “the cross is the beauty of Christianity… The cruciform is the aesthetic of our gospel.” True. These kind of statements are peppered throughout his book, and while I don’t necessarily agree with everything he penned, I think he’s getting at the same thing I heard Ms. Schumacher talking about on Issues Etc. (and she nailed it). Good Christian art – beautiful art – teaches, or better yet, preaches, the faith, and that faith is rooted in our crucified and risen Savior, Jesus Christ.