Art and Mission

“For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise Him up on the last day” John 6:40
N. T. Wright. This man is genius, yo. Just saying. If you ever have a chance to read this guy's perspective on the resurrection and really let it soak in, it'll rock your world. 
Wright really champions the centrality of the resurrection---Christ's resurrection in the past and our in the time to come. He's not alone, you know. The apostle Paul writes that without a literal, physical resurrection, “our preaching is in vain, your faith also is in vain … your faith is worthless, you are still in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:14,17). Summer bummer, eh? But Paul also offers resurrection as our cause for rejoicing and hope!
I have always known about the resurrection of both Christ and of the Church when Christ returns, though I have not really heard it taught as much as it probably should be. Despite knowing the basics of the doctrine of resurrection, I was really encouraged and inspired by Wright's perspective on how resurrection should change the way that we see our present reality. I could probably write for pages about what I learned from his book, Surprised by Hope
Read it!!! Seriously.
When Paul concludes his exposition on the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15, he tells believers to be “always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58).  It is interesting that Paul makes a connection between the resurrection and the Christian’s work.  For Paul, the matter of the afterlife is not a cerebral exercise or a matter of curiosity.  The resurrection and regeneration of the earth is to have obvious implications on the believer's life presently.  
Wright argues that Paul’s perspective on the resurrection caused the Christian church to radically reassess both their stance on the afterlife and the present life. Paul’s point about the afterlife is not that the present life is rubbish to be thrown out after death but rather that it is deeply meaningful and impactful on our future since “God will raise it to new life.” The manner in which one chooses to occupy one’s life has lasting implications, as the end results “will last into God's future” (Wright 193).   Paul's encouragement to the Corinthians is that their toil is not in vain as there is lasting significance to the physical life which they live.  Wright argues that Jesus “was not saving souls for a disembodied eternity, but rescuing people from the corruption and decay of the way the world presently is so they could enjoy, already in the present, that renewal of creation which is God's ultimate purpose” (Wright 192).  Wright argues that Paul’s point was that the resurrection and new creation have already begun and the life of the believer is part of God's restoration of the earth.
Aside from reading his book, I also have really enjoyed listening to some of Wright's lectures. Conveniently enough, I one day stumbled across his lecture on Art and Mission. For those of you who have a remotely artsy bone in your body, please listen (or read my excerpts) and be encouraged! For those of you who choose to listen, he really gets going around the two minute mark, just fyi.

"We have lived for too long with the arts as the pretty bits around the edge, with the reality as a non-artistic thing in the middle. But the world is charged with the grandeur of God! Why should we not celebrate and rejoice in that?"

"But genuine art, I believe, takes seriously that the world is full of the glory of God and that it will be full as the waters cover the sea, and at present (Romans 8) it is groaning in travail. Genuine art responds to that triple awareness---of what is true (the beauty that is there), of what will be true (the ultimate beauty) and of the pain of the present---and hold them together, as the Psalms do."

In a nutshell: Use art as a way to announce the gospel, not decorate it! Our art is a form of worship. How can it point people towards the Cross? How can it make the resurrection seem more believable to an unbelieving world?

Inside Joke of the Day: "That was awkward." Here's looking at you, Hily and CareBear.

On My Mind: Unemployment is both under and over rated. People buy you meals, and you have time to read two novels in a few weeks whereas you haven't read a long piece of fiction in a year. But you also have bills to pay and only fifty cents in your pocket. Ce la vie. 

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