Thursday, August 07, 2008

prophetic art

"Rather than reinforcing the teachings, stories, or values of the church, the [prophetic] artist may challenge the church and confront the viewer with disturbing images which raise profound moral questions that religion cannot ignore... Calling this kind of work ‘prophetic’ doesn’t mean it isn’t edifying or even pious, however. Indeed, some would say that ‘prophetic’ art is the most edifying or pious- even the most devotional- kind of art. Some would even say it is the most authentically ‘beautiful’ because it is the most manifestly ‘true.’” (p. 97)

Jensen, Robin Margaret. "Beyond the Decorative and Didactic: The Uses of Art in the Church." In The Substance of Things Seen: Art, Faith, and the Christian Community, 75-100. Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans Pub., 2004.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

But what about the calling of the prophetic office? Being a prophetic artist does not exempt one from the same expectations placed on that of a "normal" prophet. The goal of the prophet - that is, the purpose for which prophetic gifts are given - is not to actively challenge the church, for it is the bride of Christ, nor to disturb or shock anyone, but to encourage, build up and stir up. Viewing the purpose of the prophetic as the instrument of rebuke is not only inaccurate, but dangerous as well. The purpose of prophecy, however it may manifest among us, whether it be in words, on a canvas or through a song, is precisely for the edification of the church. If the message God has happens to challenge, then we should hope for the grace of a deep and true repentence, but it should not be the focus of a prophecy to confront. It should be the goal of a prophet to accurately represent the undying-unto-death love of God by which the church was birthed, and for which the church is being adorned.

elnellis said...

anonymous,
quotes out of context are always vulnerable to misunderstandings...
as i read scripture, i always see the role of the prophet as one that disrupts, like you said, stirs up. and in the old testament, the main activity of the prophet is rebuke, calling forth, inviting others to see with fresh eyes. and i do agree with you in that the movement of the prophet is always to repentance or to wholness. more often than not, this is a process that gets darker before it gets lighter. if we want to work in the categories of "prophet, priest and king" the activity you describe seems more kingly to me.

davin said...

The truth, when delivered in love, always edifies. It may take a while and, like elnellis said, get much darker before the sun eventually creeps over the horizon to reveal a greater depth of God's love for us. If we are to become this spotless bride we MUST STOP being so afraid of the truth and we must stop these systematic pseudo-theological assaults against the deliverers of truth. We, as the body, must embrace this part of us. The test is love and the fruit that the truth bears.