How Can Our Actions and Spaces be Artfully Shaped?

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By John Witvliet  |  Tuesday 1 April 2008

How can our corporate actions (the liturgy) and physical spaces (the architecture) be informed by an artistic perspective? How, in fact, can the arts reinforce and enliven our theological convictions about worship?

Our desire here is to help pastors and church leaders understand the peculiar nature of the arts as epistemological aids to our knowledge and experience of God as well as media to support our theological commitments as a community; but also to challenge and expand them when necessary. The arts are not neutral. They can aid or hinder our corporate experience. They can conserve, confront, grow and revive our traditions. And each artistic media will do so in unique ways.

For us as pastors to become wise stewards of the arts we need to have a basic understanding of the “liturgical” function of the arts and a basic sense of how the different arts perform this function in unique ways. The purpose of this talk, in short, is to offer a basic landscape of understanding about artfully shaped actions and spaces.

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