After 45 years of teaching at the collegiate level at a secular college, God has finally released me into another venue. I loved teaching, but I always felt like a 70% teacher because there was often a part of me that I had to hold back on. How do you convey the deeper understanding of faith, Christ’s love, God’s help and a biblical world view in a non-Christian, often hostile and politically correct college? At best, it was a balancing act.
But I believe the time has come to be that 100% teacher that I’ve always wanted to be. Artists within many churches sadly often feel marginalized and misunderstood. I sense that there is a “hunger” out there in the hearts of some regarding deeper teaching and encouragement in the realm of what I call the “communicating arts”--visual art, music, dance, theater and so forth. Historically, before the printing press was invented in the late 1400’s, almost all teaching was done through these communicating arts. Most people couldn’t read. Only kings and princes had a Bible. So God was understood through pictures, architecture, songs and dance. Today we live in a world that “doesn’t” read much, although they can. If it’s not in a tweet or a Facebook sentence, it is often too much of a bother. Surveys tell us that only about 10% of people who call themselves Christians have ever read the Bible. In some ways we are still functional illiterates. Images shape culture. Billboards, ads, T.V., the cinema. Images still have power. And music--well, it is everywhere. So what does God have to say about the importance of creativity and the use of the arts? Actually, quite a lot!
My hope for my future is that I might be able to contribute in some small way to an increased understanding and valuing of the importance of creativity and the arts within the body of Christ. Why not a new Renaissance within the church that creates works that communicate and celebrate the wonders of God? But this time, I believe, it won’t be about the artists but rather it will be about God. I think God spoke powerfully to me one day when He said, “If my church does not embrace My creative spirit, it will embrace the religious spirit”. Creativity implies change. The religious spirit implies stagnation.
So with these thoughts I move into my retirement years with the hope of still being useful by bringing my 45 years of knowledge and experience as a working artist and college professor to the church. I believe God has promised me that my later years will be more fruitful than former years, so we will see.
To this end, presently I have put together some possibilities for talks and workshops. This is a new journey for me and I am excited to see what God has next for me and for His church.
Biblical Creativity: Creativity and the Church.
Functional Creativity: Let’s Get Started.
The Trinity of Creativity: Discovering Your “Style” in the Communicating Arts.
The Watcher at the Gates: Fear, Failure and Growth in Creativity.
Theories of Origins of Creativity: Psychological, Humanistic and Biblical.
ART HISTORY TOPICS: Christian Art, Our Amazing Heritage.
The Beginnings--Realism Lost: Early Christian Art: The Age of Persecution and the Age of Recognition--The First 500 Years.
New Beginnings--Realism Found: The Art of the Northern Renaissance.
Michelangelo’s Faith and Art.
“Matthius Grunewald and the Isenheim : The World's Greatest Crucifixion Altarpiece.”
Personal Biography: One Man’s Journey into the Heart of God Through Art.
Demonstration workshops in clay for upper level education.
Drawing workshops for adult beginners: An introduction to the basics of realistic drawing