Worship Arts: Toward a More Vibrant Christian Community1.22.2017
Hey all, thanks so much for those of you who came out last night to Buckskin’s to hear Mark’s band play and support live music! For those of you who weren’t able to make it this time, know that we have another opportunity already in the works for next month — this time to go see some Memphis-style Blues. Save the evening of Saturday Feb. 11th on your calendars and look for more info to be forthcoming!
Now some of you may be wondering about how going out to see live music on a Friday or Saturday night relates back to the vision of PEPC’s worship arts ministry. Fair enough! After all, isn’t the music we create and the purpose for which we created it on a given Sunday pretty different from that at a country saloon or a blues bar? Well, yes and no. While the actual stated intent to “lead others in worship of the triune God” may be absent from the endeavors of the Saturday musician, the creation of quality art which glorifies God and calls attention to the abundance of common grace is certainly something the Saturday and Sunday musician must both aspire to, and something every culturally engaged Christian should celebrate! Richard Niebuhr in his famous work Christ and Culture outlines and critiques the variety of ways Christians have wrongly engaged with culture over the centuries, but also presents a redemptive option wherein, through active participation in culture-making, Christians actually work to “transform culture” through the power of Christ. It might sound redundant, but as Christian’s seeking to adopt this model of cultural engagement, actual cultural engagement is a prerequisite! 🙂
Secondly, we all know that Christian community is hard to come by. Our busy and isolated lives have us on a trajectory away from one another! We have to act decisively and intentionally to counteract this in our personal lives and in our ministry if we hope to be an exception to the data. I’m not sure if you ever feel this way, but for me, as a person who struggles with perfectionism, I find myself often reluctant to plan or engage in community opportunities because they inevitably fall short of the ideal of true Kingdom community. But in this, I am wrong, and I am chastised by Dietrich Bonhoeffer who, in his classic work on Christian Community titled Life Together, reminds us that “The person who loves their dream of community will (actually) destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create community” (emphasis added). As such, gatherings like the one we had last night (and like the one scheduled for February) serve at their most fundamental levels as opportunities for us to learn to love one another better. Simple as that! 🙂
Thankful for the opportunity to transform culture along-side and love/be loved by you!