6 Books for Small Groups Studies on Christian Art
Start writing a post
Entertainment

6 Books for Small Groups Studies on Christian Art

Francis Schaeffer and others on how faith and art connect

114
6 Books for Small Groups Studies on Christian Art
Wikimedia Commons

In a recent article, I suggested that a great way artists and churches can come together is by hosting small group studies where they read books on how art and faith connect to each other.

Here are five of the best books I've found on this topic.

1. Art and the Bible by Francis Schaeffer

Schaeffer examines Bible verses that discuss artwork -- from God creating the world to the Israelites building the Ark of the Covenant.

He then considers what Christians should know about art based on these verses -- whether art has to be realistic, whether God cares about art -- and from the lives of Christian artists such as T.S. Eliot.

2. Scribbling in the Sand: Christ and Creativity by Michael Card

While Schaeffer focuses his book on Scripture that specifically talks about artwork (sculpture, painting, etc.), Card focuses on creativity itself.

He argues that creativity is a basic human trait, one that’s present in Scripture from Adam and Eve tending to the Garden to Jesus’ seemingly absurd actions (washing the disciples’ feet, writing in the dust) to illustrate his teachings.

3. Imagine: A Vision for Christians in the Arts by Steve Turner

Steve Turner, one of Schaeffer’s students at L'Abri in the 1970’s, and a music journalist as well as a poet, addresses why Christian art tends to be substandard and why evangelical Christians struggle so much with art.

Starting with the earliest known Christian artwork in the 4th-century and continuing to the present day, Turner analyzes what good Christian art looks like, why modern evangelicals have had problems with it, and what artists should do next.

4. Walk On: The Spiritual Journey of U2 by Steve Stockman

Steve Stockman -- poet, pastor, and frequent attendant of Greenbelt Festival -- talks about rock band U2 and how its Christian members have reconciled their faith with their careers.

This is very much a book about music. Stockman describes how U2’s music and stage personas have evolved, then uses interviews to explain the spiritual side of those changes.

So, the book is one part music biography (like reading an in-depth analysis of every Beatles concert and album) and one part spiritual discussion.

Sometimes the author gets rather enthusiastic.

However, the book provides an interesting look at what Christian artists must do to work in secular entertainment and stay relevant over time.

5. The Christian World of the Hobbit by Devin Brown

C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien both wrote excellent stories with Christian elements and any work that analyzes their work is worth reading.

However, most Christians don’t have a hard time finding the Christian ideas in Lewis’s work.

His overtly Christian approach makes it relatively easy to find the faith-based elements.

Tolkien, on the other hand, had a subtler approach which requires some digging.

Devin Brown, who’s written books on both Lewis and Tolkien, is up to the task.

He examines the Christian themes and ideas in The Hobbit in a straightforward manner even people unfamiliar with literary criticism can understand.

6. Culture Care by Makoto Fujimura

What is beauty?

How does it affect people -- is it necessary for life or something extra?

Painter and author Makoto Fujimura deals with these questions throughout this book, building a Biblically-based case for what beauty is and how Christians should cultivate beauty in their cultures.

Along the way, he does an excellent job of explaining the concepts in a way even secular readers can respect.

Fujimura also highlights the role of "border-stalkers," artists who operate on the edges of groups but can bring new knowledge and growth to others.

Alternate Choice: Short Fiction

Sometimes it's best to learn by example.

Pick any short fiction by C.S. Lewis, George MacDonald, G.K. Chesterton, or J.R.R. Tolkien, and analyze it for religious themes or ideas.

Infer principles about what good Christian art is.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Featured

Ford Cars That We Love

There's a good chance we've all driven a Ford or spent a lot of time at Ford, but what are some of the best cars they've ever made?

11477
Ford Cars That We Love
Photo by Jessy Smith on Unsplash

There are arguably few bigger automakers than Ford. They are a company that shaped the auto industry as we know it today and with a solid reputation in the industry, our wide range of Ford leases has always been a popular choice among drivers.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Prose: One Call

What if you had one call, but you could not say anything other than what you were told to say? In this short excerpt, Bethany finds herself at odds with her jailers and with the one she was told to call, the one she loves. What would you do when the conversation takes a turn off script?

9608
Prose: One Call
https://unsplash.com/s/photos/jail

With each incessant numbing ring of the phone call, I could feel the betrayal coiling around me like the phone line, squeezing me tighter.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

'Hotel Transylvania: Transformania' Film Review

Solid animation can't raise the newest entry in Sony's colorful monster series beyond the basics

72991
'Hotel Transylvania: Transformania' Film Review
Photo Credit: Amazon Prime Video – YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6suJohjIvfo

I take a slight issue with the idea that Adam Sandler didn’t have a good dramatic role until ‘Uncut Gems,’ what about ‘Hotel Transylvania’ (he says semi-seriously)?’

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

4 Common Reasons Couples Get Divorced

Are some people just not meant to be together? Is there any way to prevent an impending divorce?

94192
4 Common Reasons Couples Get Divorced

We've all heard the statistics. Roughly 50% of married couples eventually end up divorced. This can lead to complications, problems with your children, financial issues, and no small amount of negative emotions.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

​Pets are Good for the Soul

Millions of Americans have found comfort in pet ownership. The media has been awash with stories about a surge in pet ownership, as Americans have taken advantage of the ability of pets to improve emotional well-being.

86057
Good for the Soul
Pets are Good for the Soul

America is going through a mental health crisis. This crisis predates the global pandemic, but has in many ways been dramatically exacerbated by it. In 2019, 19.86% of adults, or 50 million Americans, reported suffering from a mental illness. The emotional toll of the pandemic has been heavy, with over half of U.S. adults saying that they have experienced stress and worry related to Covid-19. Anxieties over work, uncertainty about the future and other triggers have intensified the mental health crisis. Millions of Americans have found comfort in pet ownership. The media has been awash with stories about a surge in pet ownership, as Americans have taken advantage of the ability of pets to improve emotional well-being.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments