Friday, December 05, 2008

Arts and the church. Integration vs. inclusion

I approached a guy at church this week who looked about my age. I had seen he and his wife coming for a while - I've only been at this church a year - and was always stunned that they kept coming.

To be brutally honest, they looked too worldly, too connected, too with it.

I wonder why there aren't more people like that in pews and what a rather massive segment of the population churches miss in them.

Again, to be frank (and keep my posts to a readable length) I think church appeals much more to the inner dag in people. Creativity is rarely promoted and nearly never on show.

Areas of life people enjoy in other circles - fashion, music, film, art - have no comfortable place in the modern church. So people leave them at the door, or they don't even make it through the door.

And when churches try to appeal to people who take these things seriously, it's often with the subtlety of a clanging cymbal. A one-off gallery night, a cardmaking, scrapbooking or Gingerbread House making event.

This must change.

Churches manage to include poor 'contemporary' music all too easily. They find a place for prayer book recitals despite their incongruence with the rest of the service...

We need integration more than inclusion.

Thankfully, my minister uses art in every sermon (albeit on powerpoint slides). But that's just one way it can be done.

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