Imagine a funky neighborhood arts center... a performing arts space where one weekend you might see a cool ethnic dance performance and the next an indie-rock concert. Kids entertainment would dominate Saturday mornings. Independent filmmakers would line up to screen their newest works. Authors would read and sign their newest books. Opera singers would give fun summer recitals. There would be awesome summer theater opportunities for kids and adults.
Now imagine that this theater was owned by a church. And that this church understood that God can be found in all kinds of unexpected places. This church understood that all truth and beauty are rooted in the truth and beauty of God and are to be celebrated. Imagine this church hosting conferences and festivals, workshops and internships in art/music. Imagine artists, musicians, filmmakers, actors... feeling welcomed and celebrated by the church. Knowing that they are loved and appreciated. Knowing that they have a place to perform their songs, display their paintings, stage their dances and plays.
Imagine the Kingdom of God seeping into unexpected places. Imagine unexpected partnerships and joyous reunions. Imagine people "belonging" to this church long before they even believe... because they know they are welcome and appreciated. Imagine art commissioned by the church to be used in worship in imaginative ways. Imagine artists coming to the church to hear the choir perform their new piece and inviting their friends!
Imagine a new film festival where the entries focus on the intersection between faith and art. Imagine a weekend faith and arts conference where artists who happen to be people of faith perform and talk about life, art and faith... People like Buddy & Julie Miller, Michelle Shocked, Emmylou Harris, Sufjan Stevens, Bruce Cockburn, Sam Phillips, Over the Rhine, the innocence mission, Allen Clapp... Imagine that amazing weekend!
Imagine young people influenced by this amazing faith/arts community heading back to their communities and making amazing contributions in faith and arts and authentic community...
Imagine the church actually knowing what's going on in the world of the arts and having a vital voice. Being heard... Not because we're boycotting, but because we're participating. Because we're leading. Imagine Christians being know by what we're for rather than by what we're against.
This is already happening in really cool ways. Look at this conference. Check out this church and art center. I love this festival.
I want this. It's all I can think about.
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