website of Clarke D. Emervane


essay | 2019 | 43 pages

Some years ago I wrote The Merit of Metaphor as a summation of what I have come to believe about Christian art. That is, why should one create, and what are the bounds and virtues of creative endeavors? Since writing it, I have had many other questions to deal with in relation to my understanding. A worldview always grows. In seeking answers, I have personally found a great lack of material relating to directives for the Christian artist. There is much on being an artist from secular scholars, but for those holding to an absolute axiom there is little. Historically, the church has birthed art, and it has come to fruition through theology. Somehow, it would seem that Christian art has ended up as something neither the world nor the church desires.

I mainly write this to answer my own questions, but share it in hope that it might benefit others who have raised the same. This is not career advice, nor focused on any particular art; it is a broad proposal for why I believe Christians should value art. Particularly, I hope it is an encouragement for the artist to create.

The main questions I have written on are these: what is Christian art, and how do we define it? What is the virtue of such a non-practical thing, and why should we make it? Should we be honest expressing our soul to others in art? Is art just entertainment, and therefore without eternal value? Should I even bother if my art is so bad? Can a Christian paint 'secular' subjects? Is art a needless distraction from the Bible? These are some of the questions I have grappled with myself, and had to answer. I simply hope they may be of help to you.

This is a broad proposal touching creative work; if nothing else, I hope it stirs you to be free to create things for the joy of making them. And if it has been helpful, I would be most encouraged to hear.

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