Sunday, April 18, 2004

The Missing Art

The pastor of my church believes in the arts. Painting, sculpture, film, music, literature, drama, and so forth. They can all be used to glorify God. And I certainly agree that they can, and I welcome the church's renewed interest in the arts.

But of all the arts that the church promotes, the really obvious one seems to have eluded it (or maybe I've just missed it). This is an art form that has been associated with the church for not just years or decades, but probably for well over a thousand years.

Stained glass.

The great churches I've visited in Europe are filled with stained glass. Many traditional American churches also use stained glass.

It seems to me that the association of church with stained glass gives the church in the West a platform.

Why shouldn't churches sponsor stained glass art festivals? A stained glass festival could feature local stained-glass artists, speakers, demonstrations of stained-glass technique, history of stained glass (which would present plenty of opportunities to discuss Christianity), tours of the sponsoring church's stained glass windows (which probably feature biblical themes and could be used as a bridge to explain the gospel). Plus, the whole event would lend itself to local press coverage and raise the church's profile in the community.

I doubt any of this is world-changing, but for some people it could be life changing.

[Update: Dr. William N. Brown sent me a great link to an article on his Web site about a friend who does some amazing stained glass work in China]

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