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

Freedom of Art vs. Reality of Art?

Written by: on September 13, 2015

Freedom of Art vs. Reality of Art?


September 13, 15


First off my background is from a Catholic Church. And what is so striking to me is that I was inundated with Roman Catholic Art and Roman Catholic artifacts. These artifacts would forever stay in my mind and was actually something that compelled me to seek knowing God. I went to Catholic School for seven years and after graduating from a public high school I could easily remember those artifacts. The main ones that stood out to me were the stained glass windows and the plethora of candles. We had the Stations of the Cross and sculptured images of Jesus on the way to the cross. And then over in the back of the church we had this big sculpture of Jesus crucified on the cross it has

been changed but they got another one. Here is a picture of my old Catholic Church in the center of South Central Los Angeles,

One of the things that later became an issue with me was that I did not never see any things about slavery and how Christianity played a part in it. It was not until I got out of Community College that these images became an issue. In Visual Faith: Art, Theology and Worship in Dialogue, an important issue was discussed that I think is important. Are artist today actually capturing the beauty of what they are creating or are they leaning more to their personal desire to see something that doesn’t reflect reality. I think this is where art gets out of dialogue to me. “The modern artist has chosen freedom rather than a delight in beauty and thus runs the risk of denying the true nature of reality, of being antirational rather that super-rational.”[1] I think that art should not just be the expression of an artist’s freedom. It should speak to reality as well for it to be meaningful. In the neighborhood I grew up in they used a lot of graffiti. Although it was against the law believe it or not a lot of it spoke about the reality in our neighborhood whether it was good or bad. And I think Christian faith in art should speak to the good and the bad. At the same time it’s hard to require an artist to not have their freedom. After all that’s sometimes what sets them apart.

I think it would be great for Christian artist to resurface and speak to this generation’s faith through their art. I think it would help in our faith if it were real. Just watching some of the Christian movies allow you to see people taking their best shot at illustrating the bible. Just recently the mini series AD did a good job on depicting certain things from the bible. Mainly the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and them speaking in tongues was something I had not seen before on a movie. Yet I think even our movies have not done a good job on illustrating through art the bible message. May be they don’t have enough money or maybe they are just not able don’t have enough imagination or faith.

[1] William A. Dyrness, Visual Faith: Art, Theology, and Worship in Dialogue (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001), 89.

About the Author

Travis Biglow

Pastor of Victory Empowerment Center. Regional Chaplain High Desert Regional Center Graduates Azusa Pacific University. Licensed General Contractor B. I am the married with one daughter, two grandsons and one step son.

3 responses to “Freedom of Art vs. Reality of Art?”

  1. Mary Pandiani says:

    Some of the most powerful art I know is graffiti. I recall when I was in Bethlehem, walking around the wall that surrounds them. It’s a structure that is actually an Apartheid wall by keeping certain people in and other people out. The art was so powerful drawn on it, especially by Bansky http://banksyworld.blogspot.com/2012/10/banksy-graffiti-in-palestine.html
    It moved me emotionally to where I continue to hold onto the images, praying for my Christian brothers and sisters there as well as those of different faith traditions.
    Talk about art and reality.

  2. Brian Yost says:

    “These artifacts would forever stay in my mind and was actually something that compelled me to seek knowing God…The main ones that stood out to me were the stained glass windows and the plethora of candles.”

    It is interesting to see how two people growing up with the imagery in the Catholic Church can react very differently. Some reject the images while others embrace them with fondness. My oldest son had very limited exposure to the richness of art in the Church. We worked with a lot of church plants while he was growing up and met in very humble, in-ornate buildings. He is now in his twenties and loves the beauty and symbolism found in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

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