written by Hollen Hostetler
Occasionally, when we tell others we do arts ministry, we get raised eyebrows. Often, the questions boil down to, “Why art?” One of our favorite answers to that within Inspiro is: “Because the Gospel is beautiful.”
The very first words of the Bible read, “In the beginning, God created [. . .]” (Genesis 1:1a, ESV). The first role in which we see God is that of Creator, and the initial part of His character with which we become acquainted is His creativity. And what a world God created! Not just some run of the mill world that provides for mankind’s basic needs, but one that is overflowing with beauty at every turn – a world with aardvarks, maple trees, oceans, roses, sunsets, birdsong, cinnamon, and animals with fur. It is a world that in every way appeals to our senses, thrilling and delighting every part of us with God’s glory and beauty.
Dallas Willard says, “Beauty is goodness made manifest to the senses.” We believe that God made mankind as more than just intellectual beings. Every time we use our senses to experience the beauty of the world around us, we are experiencing God’s goodness. Our spirituality, too, is meant to be more than just academic; rather, it should be reflective of our holistic nature. Art, then, provides a means through which we can both engage with and create beautiful things.
More than this, the actual story of the Gospel is profoundly beautiful. Dorothy Sayers said, “The Christian faith is the most exciting drama that ever staggered the imagination of man [. . .].” When you really stop to consider the implications of the Gospel story, it is almost impossible not to be overwhelmed by its beauty. While the work of Christ on the cross is good news to which we can intellectually assent, its far deeper work is to transform our inmost affections. Inspiro is enthralled by the beauty discovered in God’s triune goodness – His fierce, mysterious, ridiculously generous kind of love, directed at making everything right.
Engaging with the pattern already laid out in Scripture, artists have the unique opportunity to display the beauty of the Gospel story and help people experience God’s goodness. Our creativity flows out of us in response to both what God has done and how He has made us. Art often reaches people where mere words cannot, allowing them to become immersed in the totality of Christ’s incarnational love and aiming at winning their hearts rather than merely their minds.
So, “Why art?” Because the Gospel is beautiful.