Art is Essential

2014 Redeeming Work Conference - Twin Cities


In this 27-minute session from the 2014 Redeeming Work Conference in the Twin Cities, Andy Crouch describes the significance of art, challenging believers to consider its role in their everyday lives and relationships. Andy Crouch is the Executive Editor of Christianity Today and the author of Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power and Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling.  


How would you describe your relationship with art? How do you approach art and how do you create?
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Andy defined art as, “The quality of any human activity that cannot be reduced to its utility…a way of naming aspects of human life that cannot be explained only in terms of their usefulness, or as a means to an end.”

How was this definition helpful for you? When have you used art for utilitarian purposes? When have you simply beheld art?
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Andy explained that we either contemplate or we exploit. An understanding of art is so significant in the church because it teaches us to revere 

  1. Humans: “Human beings are not meant to be means to an end, not good for something. They are good. Art helps us to practice engaging in the ultimate call which is love, beholding one another, and wishing their good.”
  2. Worship: “The biblical God is not an idol. If we think worship is about getting God to do something then worship has become utilitarian.” 

How does does productivity and pragmatism affect your ability to contemplate art, people, and worship? How does it affect your perception of vocational artists and their work?
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Andy described the strengths and weaknesses of vocational artists:

  • Strengths: Being exceptionally sensitive, patient, and honest. 
  • Weaknesses: Being exceptionally vulnerable and prone to make their art an idol.

How do these strengths and weaknesses characterize the vocational artists that you know? Knowing these, how can you better disciple or pastor the artists in your church?
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May we pause to regard and behold the beauty, wonder, and mystery of the created world and ourselves as image bearers. As we do, may we be drawn into a deeper understanding of our Creator. 


For more information about Redeeming Work and how you can attend the next event, click here