The Significance of Art Today

We live in a time when our culture seems to be actively throwing every ancient value overboard in its effort to be free to be whatever we want to be. It seems that we are loosing every reference point in our attempts to build common ground and a common sense of value. Instead of freeing itself, the result is that the culture is stepping into the void – stepping into a view of the world with no up or down, no ground, no direction. In its effort to redefine itself, the culture is actually loosing its ability to define anything at all.

But there is one thing that our generation does not question – the reality and centrality of art. Though we question everything we do not question the beauty and power of creativity. It seems to be one of the last standing “truths” of our time. Though we have denied everything else, we cling to the aesthetic in every part of culture today. And I think that it is therefore a powerful foundation of common understanding and conversation. It is a bridge – a medium for this seeking to understand and speak truth into this broken world.

This is why I am particularly excited about the Canvas Conference. This is an event that zeros in on this issue. It is a time to really dig down and unpack the significance of the creative drive of our time. It is an opportunity to understand ourselves better. It is a time to be equipped in carrying out the most beautiful message of all to a broken world.

Creativity and Theology

I love to read and write. The guy next to me makes videos and plays something like five musical instruments. The audience around us is composed of a wide variety of creatives including photographers, designers, musicians and writers. In the coming days we will hear from poets, preachers, professors, theologians, rappers and singer/songwriters. Canvas 2016 is about to start.

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Invasive Faith

Its interesting how the consistent perception within the world around us is that the christian faith (and all religion for that matter) are an escape from reality. We always get this sense that people of faith are coming into their religious experiences as a way of getting away from the challenges and pressures of life in the real world. I can’t speak definitively on other religions, but this is profoundly untrue about the actual christian message.  One of it’s central tenets is that God is invading reality. It is a message of the fact that one of our greatest needs is not escape from but reconciliation to the actual world.

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The Foundations of Liberty

This perhaps sounds like an odd question. What do you mean? Doesn’t it just exist? One of the most difficult concepts for us Westerners to understand is the fact that much of the world is not like us. Though we boast in our pluralism, it actually seems to backfire on us and gets in the way of our ability to truly grasp the core differences that shape our world. One such difference is the presence and nature of true liberty.

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Who Is This Man?

It is a most interesting fact that many who continually denounce christianity and christians nevertheless seem to continue to quote and side with Jesus himself. The reasons behind this fact can take us into a twisted network of rabbit trail discussions, many of which are most unhelpful. In my conversations with friends and coworkers, both in and outside the christian community, I have often fallen into the trap of trying to reconcile the two seemingly opposing halves of this situation. And yet lately, instead of just eagerly lunging at the bone of argument, I have seen it as a doorway into more meaningful conversation.

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Thought Life on Campus

It was now over a year ago that, in a conversation with some friends here in town someone, we came up with the idea that we need to have some sort of event or avenue by which we could channel some of our thoughts and conversations to the college campuses in our town. Despite the slow process, we have worked our way into setting up a club on campus here at our local community college that focuses on discussing the tough questions of faith, meaning, God, doubt and skepticism. We have spent a little more than a month on the ground on campus. That is not much. And yet there are a few things I am learning right away from the weekly meetings and coffee chats.

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Believing Whatever We Want

There is perhaps no greater value in our society today than the idea of complete personal freedom. We are a generation that looks at the past centuries of cultures and societies and we are pained at the injustice and oppression that seems to fill every chapter of history. It seems that no matter how much the people of the past have sought to come up with comprehensive explanations on how society should see life, they have inevitably led to the ill-treatment and abuse of someone else in the world.

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An Enriching Disagreement

We are always inevitably building our worldview, and we are always inevitably disagreeing with others around us doing the same thing, though in ways that are different than ours. In a previous post it was noted that it is very important that we learn to disagree correctly. The prevailing tendency in our culture today seems to be to dismiss, to cut ourselves off, to pronounce the others as unreasonable radicals who are not even worthy of our consideration. And yet in this we are perhaps showing, more than anything else, our own radical pride and unwillingness to think and be challenged.
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An Opportunity to Hear

Have you ever listened to someone explain something they believe and think to yourself, “Man, that person is just nuts.” You don’t have to go far to run into some sort of division or hostility between people and their beliefs these days. Today, we live in a time in which people seem to be more than ever committed to their belief systems, thus being more than ever diametrically opposed to those who disagree. As secularism spreads through Europe and America, it is followed closely with a wave of renewed religious faith and a return to ancient belief systems.

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Reason and the Resurrection

The idea of the resurrection of has been criticized and mocked from the very earliest days of christianity. Jesus debated with the Sadducees – a group of Jewish scholars who generally dismissed the possibly of the miraculous or supernatural. When Paul spoke with the Greeks in Athens, they listened to his argument, up until he got to the fact that Jesus had been raised from the dead. Then they just mocked and dismissed him.

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