For the Beauty of the Church

In August of 2010, Transpositions devoted over a week of posts to the recent collection of essays edited by W. David O. Taylor entitled For the Beauty of the Church. These essays were the result of a conference held in 2008 in Austin, Texas, which brought together pastors and artists to explore the intersection of theology, church, and art. In the Introduction, David Taylor indicates that what emerged is “a vision of the church and the arts that is theologically informed, biblically grounded, liturgically sensitive, artistically alive, and missionally shrewd” (23).

This vision seeks to overcome what David Taylor indicates as a pragmatic perspective on the arts devoid of solid theology and a rich tradition. “My prayer is that, by the grace of Christ and under the Spirit’s supervision, they will stir us together to develop a theology capable of sustaining a long-lasting, fruit-bearing tradition of artmaking by the church, for the church, for the glory of God in the church, and for the good of the world” (27).

The following reviews considers each of the essays in For the Beauty of the Church:

Chapter 1: “How Art is a Gift, a Calling and An Obedience,” by Andy Crouch.  Reviewed by Jim Watkins.

Chapter 2: “How Art Can Serve the Corporate Worship of the Church,” by John D. Witvliet.  Reviewed by Ben Guthrie.

Chapter 3: “The Art Patron: Someone Who Can’t Draw a Straight Line Tries to Defend Her Art-Buying Habit” by Lauren Winner.  Reviewed by Sara Schumacher.

Chapter 4:The Pastor: How Artists Shape Pastoral Identity” by Eugene Peterson.  Reviewed by Wesley Vander Lugt.

Chapter 5: “The Artist: What Exactly is An Artist, and How Do We Shepherd Them?” by Barbar Nicolosi.  Reviewed by Anna Blanch.

Chapter 6: “The Practicioner: Nurturing Artists in the Local Church,” by Joshua Banner.  Reviewd by Anna Blanch.

Chapter 7:The Dangers: What Are the Dangers of Art Making in the Church” by W. David O. Taylor.  Reviewed by Jenn Craft.

Chapter 8: “Looking to the Future: a Hopeful Subversion” by Jeremy Begbie.  Reviewed by Jim Watkins.