Friday, April 30, 2010

Who needs indigenous art most?

Something I've thought about in the last year or two in relation to indigenous art and the Gospel is this: When does affirming cultural identity become a necessary component in presenting the Gospel (and living it out) vis a vis the visual arts? When are more generic (i.e., western) forms of art not suited for evangelism, worship, etc. among an indigenous group?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

And now for something completely different...

Welcome to my new blog!  My goal here is to provide a place for exploring how indigenous peoples can illuminate and honor Jesus through their visual arts. For the last thousand or so years, Christianity has been considered a western religion because most people (especially Christians) have mistakenly equated its cultural practices with the person of Jesus. Yet, when Jesus told his followers to “make disciples of every nation” (Matthew 28:19), he wanted these disciples to follow him with all of their hearts, minds, souls and strength (Mark 12:30)-- not a foreign culture. Therefore, the Gospel should be given to every nation (ethnos) so that they might follow Jesus in culturally relevant ways of their own choosing, in order to express their hearts' praise to him.

Indigenous visual arts can take on many forms: ritual objects, iconic images, narrative paintings, etc. But what forms do these objects take when indigenous people reflect on Jesus and the Gospel? Which facets of Jesus resonate most in their hearts, and what do they see in him that I miss (and how do they express it artistically)? What cultural and artistic treasures has God placed in the hearts of indigenous peoples that they are longing to pour out to Him?

I hope you will join me in exploring these questions and others, and that we will all learn something new about God and His Gospel. Most of all, I hope we'll all come to know and love Jesus more deeply. I'm looking forward to the journey!