Transforming Teachers - Arts

  • 3 ways movies are searching for the Gospel

    I love movies. I always have, but for some reason I’ve grown more and more fascinated with movies in the last three or four years—the massive industry that stands behind them, the intricacies and subtleties that make for good acting and good narration, and most of all, the power of stories to communicate at such a deep, complex, emotional level. I loved the new Star Wars.

  • Agapic reading: How to read the Bible and other literature to enhance love for God and neighbor

    What is the purpose of reading? That is, what is the ultimate end or telos of an encounter between ourselves as human beings and literary texts? A variety of answers from various traditions could no doubt be marshalled in response to this query. St. Augustine, for example, made a very provocative suggestion regarding the final end of reading. On the biblical basis of the ultimate and penultimate commandments, the great Church father believed that the act of reading and interpreting the Scriptures must not rest contentedly at any roadside park until it arrived all the way at its final destination. In reading the Bible, he argued that we travel on a road that leads not to aesthetic pleasure, or mere knowledge, or to moral action, or even to Christian convictions, but rather to the destination of love.

  • Art as prophetic proclamation

    I am constantly challenged to discover creative and effective ways in which to communicate the Christian interpretation of reality or worldview into contemporary culture. This is after all a central aim of every Christian—to communicate the “good news” that there is a God who has revealed Himself, who explains where we have come from and what has gone wrong with the world, a loving personal Being who has done something in response to evil and in so doing has provided the only effective remedy to the world and humanity’s condition.

  • Beauty in the eyes of God

    A bright orange sunset on the horizon fades into reds and yellows across the western sky. Large puffy snowflakes float down gently from the sky in no particular hurry to their resting place. A couple fuzzy-faced doe keep a wary eye on us humans while they enjoy some corn. …The beauty of God's creation is on constant display….

  • Christian Heritage Edinburgh

    "Challenging today from the past" with material from the arts, history and science in Scotland

  • English 10

    I’m excited that one of my English 10 students wrote, “I have no right to choose whether I should help or not; the day I chose to follow my consistent and loving God, I threw away the option of apathy.”

  • Entering the literary dialogue

    Browsing independent bookstores, readers may notice in contemporary literature an ironic quirkiness, a lack of ironic artifice, or a fusion of the two. Writers choose ways of using language that set their voices apart and reach their intended audiences, and today, irony and sincerity are two important modes characterizing the way literature is written. This can leave Christian creative writers wondering which is better—irony or sincerity?

  • George Lucas - Films are teachers

    "I've always tried to be aware of what I say in my films because all of us who make motion pictures are teachers…teachers with very loud voices."

    George Lucas

  • Handel's--and Jennens's--'Messiah': Apologetics through Art

    As one wag put it, “In the orchestra world, George Frideric Handel’s Messiah is just as much an annual Christmas tradition as eggnog and overworked shopping mall Santas.”

    Handel’s magnum opus is one of the supreme wonders of human genius, especially if you keep in mind that the genius on display is not only Handel’s.

    We’re so used to calling the work “Handel’s Messiah” that we fail to notice that he only wrote the music. And as good as the music is, what’s being said, or in this case, sung, is every bit as inspired and inspiring.

  • Music theory: A liberal art in chains

    After centuries at the core of all higher education in Christian Europe, music theory now receives no visible distinctively Christian input to the detriment of both Christian culture and music theory. The author calls for a return of Christian music theory through examination of Christian pieces, consideration of composers as human creations, application of theory to ethics, contemplation of acoustics, and reconnection of music to the rest of God's world.

  • Noah Webster - Education that rejects religion is defective

    "Any system of education…which limits instruction to the arts and sciences, and rejects the aids of religion in forming the character of citizens, is essentially defective."

    Noah Webster

  • Reclaiming the Christian intellectual tradition

    Joe Neff, editor of The Principal Connection introduced me to this series recently. It "is particularly designed for Christian students and others associated with college and university campuses.... The contributors...explore how the Bible has been interpreted in the history of the church, as well as how theology has been formulated. They will ask: How does the Christian faith influence our understanding of culture, literature, philosophy, government, beauty, art, or work? How does the Christian intellectual tradition help us understand truth? How does the Christian intellectual tradition shape our approach to education?"

    If you're looking for something to stimulate your thinking about a particular area, these books would be a great place to start. There are Kindle, paperback and print-to-order paperback versions to fit various price ranges.

        Ethics and Moral Reasoning: A Student's Guide

        Philosophy: A Student's Guide

        Political Thought: A Student's Guide

        Art and Music: A Student's Guide

        History: A Student's Guide

        The Natural Sciences: A Student's Guide

        Psychology: A Student's Guide

        Literature: A Student's Guide

        The Liberal Arts: A Student's Guide

        Christian Worldview: A Student's Guide

        The Great Tradition of Christian Thinking: A Student's Guide

    “It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it.”
    Oscar Wilde

  • Vincent van Gogh's unappreciated journey with Christ

    By Mark Ellis, November 9, 2012 in Godreports

    Van Goghs untold journeyA record 1.2 million visitors came to the giant retrospective of Van Gogh’s work in Amsterdam in 1990, which coincided with the 100th anniversary of the Dutch post-Impressionist’s death. What visitors did not see at that major exhibition were van Gogh’s Christian-themed paintings, which were left in the basement of the museum.

    “None of the religious imagery was in the show. It was deliberately kept in the basement,” says William Havlicek, Ph. D , author of Van Gogh’s Untold Journey(Creative Storytellers). “In Western art there has been a move toward secularization through existential thinking,” he notes, which followed the disillusionment of many artists after two world wars.

    Havlicek spent 15 years researching and studying more than 900 of van Gogh’s letters. His revealing book dispels many of the myths that surround the painter’s tumultuous life. “Vincent’s letters portray a very different story than the popular tale of the mad artist who cuts off his ear,” Havlicek notes. “What emerges instead is a story of selfless loyalty, the epitome of the Gospel’s sacred counsel—‘love one another.’”