This week’s guest post is by Katie Fox, Christ Church parishioner who leads the Faith+Arts ministry, with assistance from Caleigh Taylor, Billy Hollis, and Shaun Fox.
Dear Christ Church,
If you’ve been around here for a little while, you’ve probably observed that we are a church who loves and values beauty and the arts. But why? Is the pursuit of beauty not extravagant, wasteful, luxurious, in a world full of suffering and poverty and injustice? I love what my friend and artist Michelle Radford wrote about beauty:
“Some are concerned that beauty costs too much, that the money, time, and effort should be used elsewhere for something more holy. That the perfume should be sold and the money given to the poor. This could show that some believers genuinely want to use resources wisely, want to steward and invest wisely. What if we fed the poor AND brought beauty and good news to them? Our scarcity mentality betrays us. Beauty and generosity go hand in hand. Can you separate either from love?”
Our God is a god of plenty, of variety and extravagance – just look around at the gratuitous beauty of His creation. He could have created a world without natural beauty, but that’s not what He did. Christ said that He came to give us not merely life, but abundant life. When we create beauty and art, when we engage with beauty through the arts, we come a little closer to the true source of all beauty, God Himself. We see Him a little more clearly, we point others toward him, and we get a little taste of His kingdom.
Art-making can’t solve poverty or injustice on its own. But here is what art-making can do:
- It can help heal our own hearts.
- It can express what words cannot.
- It can draw us closer together in community.
- It can make us more fully human.
- It can help us become more like our Creator God.
- It is one way that we join God in His active renewal of all things.
Nothing we do here is wasted. Dostoyevsky wrote that, “Beauty will save the world,” and artists who are the hands of God here and now, crafting beauty, and pointing us to a better way, a Kingdom way.
This weekend and next, you’ll have an incredible (free!) opportunity to engage with beauty and the arts: the East Austin Studio Tour opens tomorrow all across the downtown eastside, and here at Christ Church, we’ll have 18 different artists and their beautiful work on display. We invite you to stop by, talk with the artists, and engage with their work. Click here to find out more!
There will also be a private EAST happy hour event just for Christ Church goers and their guests, next Friday the 18th from 5-7pm. We’ll have appetizers and beverages, so stop by after work, mingle with your fellow parishioners, and enjoy taking in the beauty. It will be a great way to start your weekend.
You’ll also have two opportunities to join a tour of other EAST artists’ studios in the city. The tours will be led by one of our Christ Church parishioners and will take place on Sunday afternoons, both weekends of the tour. This is a great chance to get to know our neighbors and extend love and generosity to them, as they welcome you into their studios. If you are interested in joining please email Kit Johnson.
May you experience the breathtaking beauty of our God and His great love,