Transpositions Tidbits: Aesthetics and the Church

The last Tidbits was on Art and Artists. It was intended to be wide ranging. This week, following the Rookmaaker symposium, tidbits will be a little more modest. Indeed, titling it Aesthetics and the Church might be an overreach. Nonetheless, here’s a list of links you might find interesting:

Piquant Editions has a special offer for their Aesthetics library (massively marked down by over 70%) which includes the collected works of H.R. Rookmaaker along with Betty Spackman’s fabulous book about Christian kitsch.

Artway’s introduction to a new book by Geoff Hall on the artist and the church, Part 1 in the 4-part series Spiritual Direction in a Postmodern Landscape. Some other articles from Artway that might be of interest include: Restoring the Arts to the Church by Colin Harbison, Is There A Christian Architecture? by Daniel Lee, Visual Arts in Church by Joan Huyser-Honig, The Arts in your Church by Fiona Bond and How to Commission Visual Art.

We recently added Unfolding Forms, a blog by Brett David Potter to our Theology and the Arts blogroll. Some of the posts you might enjoy include: Exit, through the gift shop – a post about Banksy and THAT documentary. And…a post about Art Church/Church Art, which begins:

Something I’ve been thinking about recently is the phenomenon of art galleries popping up in churches. I don’t mean churches being converted into galleries, which is happening in some places (lots of churches are also being turned into lofts, mosques, shopping malls and karate dojos) but active congregations literally “making a space” for the arts in their building.

The use of new media in publishing for the purposes of promotion has been growing in recent years – however responses to the promotional material, specifically to the advertisements for a new book by Rob Bell, have seen some pretty fiery debate in the blog world in the past couple of weeks. This post by Kevin De Young, titled Two thoughts on the Rob Bell Brouhaha seems to sum up the discussion and point to the way in which new media and rhetorical copy can express theology (while avoiding some of the vitriol).

Jon Acuff from Stuff Christians Like writes about The Greatest Church Mural Ever. Note: It’s not the kind of church mural you usually see in a church.

Mark Rodgers on Bono Asks “Can Christian Artists Ring True?” . The posts and the discussion in the comments, as well as the discussion following Ben Witherington’s Bible and Culture repost of the article give insight into a coalface discussion.

Some of our earlier posts have focused on creativity, the church, and criticism:

Commissioning: Revitalising the Church through Art?

Is Church Life Stifling Your Creativity? A Response

The Church Brand.

Art as a Theological Text: 3 Approaches

Keepin’ it real; or What Simon Cowell has to do with being a Christian critic

Does anonymity have a role in church art?

Church Beyond the Fourth Wall

We’re always on the look out for anything related to Theology, Imagination and the Arts. Do you have a blog, website, article or organisation that you think we should include in a future Tidbits? Just send us an email ( and let us know!


  • Anna M. Blanch is a regular contributor to Transpositions. She is Australian by birth, and inclination, Anna grew up surrounded by the Australian bush, a large extended family, bush poetry, and sport. Anna is currently writing her PhD in Theology and Literature. She finds photography, enjoying her environment and its fruits, and being in community bring her joy.

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  1. says: brettdavidpotter

    Hey, thanks for posting a link to my articles on “Exit Through the Gift Shop” and art galleries in churches (BTW, it’s “Brett” not “Brent”)… I have very much enjoyed reading the ITIA Transpositions blog, especially the recent series of discussions of H.R. Rookmaaker.

    Transpositions is really a great go-to place for people interested in theology and the arts; it serves as an entry-point to not only the nature of the current discussion but a place to discover web resources. Great work!

  2. says: Anna Blanch

    many apologies for the misspelling your name! I’ve corrected it in the post.
    I’m glad you’ve been enjoying the mix of posts. We always appreciate feedback and comments.

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