"Christians are growing more and more interested in the arts. Across the country now, we find churches with art galleries and open studio nights. We see more emphasis on visuals and aesthetics in church, and a whole cottage industry is emerging in publishing resources for Christians and the arts. Though we have a long and rich history of engagement with art and culture, the dialogue has gotten more intense in the last ten years. On some level, this is probably a product of the growth of the emergent church, whose interest in the arts is often sacramentalized and strange. But it’s fair to credit the growth of “new” Calvinism as well. John Calvin’s view of culture and Christian liberty have been empowering factors to many Christians whose interests lie in the world of the arts.
But this renewal can be troubling. The word art describes the well-accepted traditions of Shakespeare, Bach, and the Italian masters as well as the disturbing world of Tarantino films, the pornographic art of Jeff Koons, and the odes to death in the work of Damien Hirst. Art has been deconstructing itself for quite a while, and much of the work that fills galleries and museums seems at odds with a Christian worldview. So while some churches are beating a drum that art will save the world, others smell smoke."