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A year ago, our students created an Art & Music Benefit. I’m not exaggerating when I say that it was amazing.

First, it was amazing because it was students taking an interest in their school and playing a part in supporting and advancing the school. I’m talking about 18 to 22 year olds here. This particular age group is not always known for being responsible and setting down the video game controller in order to support a cause. But our students organized the event, created a significant collection of art (making use of a lot of different art forms and styles), gathered songs that they had written, and promoted the event. On the night of the benefit, they performed their songs and sold their art (along with baked goods), and all of the proceeds went to Eternity Bible College. This was hugely encouraging to us because it means that our students are sharing in the sacrifice that is required to make quality higher education affordable.

Second, the benefit was amazing because it was a God-glorifying display of human creativity. God has created this world with near-infinite aesthetic potential and invested human beings with a myriad of creative gifts. When we use our God-given gifts to explore and shape our God-created world, it is a beautiful thing on many levels. (If you want to be convinced of the importance of art, by the way, read through these posts.)

Last year our surrounding community got to see what God-glorifying artistic endeavor looks like. These are Bible college students, mind you. They are studying the Bible, theology, history, missiology, anthropology, philosophy. Then they sprinkle in a few elective units touching on the arts. But it is inspiring to see people who have devoted themselves to knowing God and His truth expressing those incredible realities in creative ways.

And now the invitation.

Our students are putting on another Art & Music Benefit on May 5 at 7pm. It will be hosted in the Cornerstone Church worship center (2080 Winifred St. in Simi Valley). You can come and hear great music, look at and purchase art made by our students, and enjoy some baked goods. You can even make a donation.

Visit the benefit website here.

For those of you who are significantly out of town, we understand if you don’t fly in for the event. But we would appreciate your prayers for our students, our school, and this event. And if you’d like to join in the benefitting spirit and make a donation, you can do that here.

All photos courtesy of B-Loved Photography.

 

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the seriesWhy You Should Care About The Arts

Yesterday I argued that you should care about the arts because art is unavoidable—we can’t escape it, and the way we interact with art matters. In this post, I want to give another important reason for caring about the arts: The arts serve as a cultural barometer.

If you want to find out what’s going on in the world, you check a newspaper or turn on the tv news. If you want to find out what has happened in the past, you read a history book.

Right?

It’s true that newspapers and history books tell us about what has taken place. But the arts add an important dimension: They tell us how people feel about the events that occur. The news relays events, but the arts interpret those events.

Leland Ryken says:

“The media claim to tell us what is happening in our culture, but they are terribly superficial. They bombard us with facts but ignore the meaning of those facts. By contrast, the arts lay bare the inner movements of our own time” (The Liberated Imagination, 251).

The arts function as a cultural barometer. They tell us at a deep level what is going on in the thoughts, emotions, and lives of the people around us. Mankind has always used art as a means of dealing with existence. This is where people grapple with reality. So if you want to know what people care about, turn to the movies, songs, paintings, poems, and stories that they create:

“The arts are humankind’s most accurate record of their affirmations and denials, their longings and fears. The arts are a picture of the kind of world people aspire to create and of the fallen realities that keep thwarting those aspirations.” (Ryken, 265)

We can see human depravity in the images of warfare, murder, and scandal that flash across the tv news. But we get a sense of the frustration and fragmentation that this depravity causes when Radiohead sings, “How come I end up where I started? How come I end up where I went wrong? …You used to be all right, what happened? …One by one it comes to us all.”

Some would argue that you can understand humanity better by talking to biologists, psychologists, and anthropologists. There is much to be learned in each of these spheres, but we may have more to learn about human nature by watching Spielberg than by reading Freud:

“The arts deal with the same subjects (God, people, and nature) as the natural and social sciences do. But the arts differ from the sciences by focusing on the human response to those subjects. The arts express how the human race has felt about the facts of existence. Art is the record of people’s involvement with life. It deals not simply with the facts of life but with things as they matter to people.” (Ryken, 266)

So if you care about people—if your mission is focused on understanding and speaking into the lives of the people around you—then you should care about the arts.

In the next post, I’ll argue that the arts give us the opportunity to test God’s truth in the real world.

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