Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Christian Art – A Spiritual Journey

Written by: on September 8, 2013

Dyrness in his book Visual Faith examines the past history of Christian art and the need to rejuvenate the practice for many reasons. Among his reasons are to worship, share the gospel and to communicate God’s truths with a media driven generation (Dyrness, 2001). While reflecting about these concepts, I was drawn to look back over my own spiritual journey and explore the moments Christian art made an impact on my soul.

I remember traveling to Romania and Bulgaria on a mission trip and seeing the crude art in Russian Orthodox churches. The many cave like drawing of Christian martyrs being killed for their faith in Jesus helped me to appreciate the strong Christian beliefs many have died for. It encourages me to be proud and willing to die for my faith.

After reading Henri Nouwen’s book The Return of the Prodigal Son, I found myself gazing and meditating on Rembrandt’s painting on the prodigal son. It is such a rich depiction of our total depravity and the deep unconditional love our Heavenly Father has for us. I found myself reflecting on each of the characters in the painting and how I related to each in my spiritual journey.

My wife and I have a painting in our home of Yosemite’s Half Dome and a small church chapel. We renewed our vows to each other and our Lord for our 25th Wedding Anniversary. Yosemite Valley is a testimony of Gods great artistic skill. When one looks at Half Dome and El Capitan cliffs, I am awed by the beauty and majesty of creation. As a younger man, I use to spend weeks climbing the cliffs in the Valley – a very humbling and worshipful experience. Needless to say, Yosemite Valley and this church is a very sacred place for the two of us.

I have always loved art. As a boy in high school and college, I always gravitated towards art classes. I enjoyed sketching, pen and ink and painting with acrylic medium. Then I went to work and have not made time to draw and paint.

I like creating art because it makes me see the deep colors as I try to reproduce a scene on canvas. I find myself lost in gazing upon God’s creation. My favorite painting is a painting of Mount Rainier – a very majestic mountain. When I retire, my goal is to learn to use a pallet knife to paint mountains. I find art very worshipful. Dyrness’s book is very timely and our society needs a reawakening to Christian Art.

­ Dyrness, William A. Visual Faith – Art, Theology and Worship in Dialogue. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academics, 2001


About the Author

Mark Steele

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