Art and Beauty: How to Embrace Beauty to Change Culture

“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way… things I had no words for.” 
― Georgia O’Keeffe

Sometimes we forget that God created beauty. At least we evangelicals who value utilitarianism above beauty and art do. We forget that God is the original artist. He paints on canvases of sky, feathers, rocks, and fur. Our many hues of skin and shades of eye color display God’s creativity. When we lose sight of the fact that God uses beauty to increase the longing in our hearts for His majesty – eternal beauty – we begin to think beauty is something to be sworn off or ignored.

So we miss the opportunities we have to not only appreciate the beauty God has placed in creation, but we miss how artists, photographers, sculptors, theater productions, music, and even digital media producers can capture beauty in a way that forces our eyes to look to God.

I was able to watch The Lion King on stage recently. It was visually stunning. The movement of puppets and people to make them look like animals was spectacular. Awestruck I wondered how the engineers created these puppets and masks and costumes that brought these animals to life. Then in the first act, prior to Mufasa’s death he said something to Simba…He said, “Life comes from death.” And while he was mentioning the circle of life, how live things die and become fertilizer for new living things, I also knew the spiritual truth behind that statement:

Jesus died so I could live. I must die to myself so that I can truly flourish in my life through the Holy Spirit. 

There are things that poets, artists, theater productions, musicians, dare I say, movies can say that no amount of writing can. When parents encourage their children to know God well and follow their God-given talents, they ought not fear their children entering these industries. They ought to be wise and guide and protect their children. But we cannot stand on the sidelines and bemoan what these industries have become if we are unwilling to engage these industries as anything but consumers. 

We must create! We must admire! We must thank God for the amazing privilege it is to offer our work of arts to the world at large so that the world may begin to turn their eyes to Him.

As believers we ought to be involved in the arts, not afraid of them. We need to engage in the creation of and production of art be it on a canvas, on a stage, or on a screen. What we do and say can be artistically beautiful and different and still point to the One true God of the universe. This means we should not only create works that other Christians may like or approve, it means we ought to create works that anyone in this world may enjoy. Works that point to the truths of God without preaching about God. 

We need more people like Flannery O’Connor, Georgia O’Keeffe, Madeleine L’Engle, J.R.R. Tolkien, Andrew Peterson, Josh Garrels, Jars of Clay, Luci Shaw, George MacDonald, C.S. Lewis, and many, many, many, more.Art, theater, poetry, music, movies, and so much more…all can capture the thoughts, hearts, and minds of people interacting with them. So, believers in Jesus, let us, with the help of the Holy Spirit, create things that encourage ALL people to seek the Creator and His Son, Jesus.

What are you going to create today?