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For the Beauty of the Church: Casting a Vision for the Arts

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  208 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Think of your local church. Without art--music, song, dance, etc.--it would be a much poorer place. But if protestants have any vision for the arts, it tends to be a thin one. This unique book is an attempt to contribute to a robust, expansive vision for the church and the arts. Its specific aim is to show how the many parts of the landscape of church and art hold together ...more
Paperback, 204 pages
Published March 1st 2010 by Baker Books (first published 2010)
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M Christopher
Jun 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
As always, with collections of essays from different authors, a mixed bag but there were none of these essays that I thought were a waste of time. Generated following an "arts in the church" conference in Austin, TX, the essays trace the positive and negative aspects of bringing artists "into the fold."

Overall, the book made me yearn for a situation in which I could once again explore my own artistic passions in a church or para-church environment and in which I could encourage other artists. At
Nathan Edgell
Jul 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Utterly indispensable for any Christian artist or leader. Loved this book! It touched on some topics that I've been thinking about for a while now: arts' role in corporate worship, how to support artists, engaging culture, some of the dangers surrounding art and the church.

Something I admired the most was the fact that it compromises EIGHT different authors. That's humility right there - to include eight different perspectives on a discussion, and be okay with difference! I am so grateful to all
Dec 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is one of those books where you don't agree with everything or with every contributor, but you just love that a book like it was written and that some folks had the courage to really dig into the particular conversation. Very helpful in a lot of ways.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ryan Lucas
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Art in the church has been a conversation of the past and in our era of post-Christendom we have all but forgotten about art’s place in our faith circles. I find it interesting that we are constantly surrounded by physical objects that tell a story about our communities of faith and similarly, we are constantly engaged in the hearing of stories and music that shape our understanding of how God is working in the world. But we have lost the reflection of these forms of media in our religion becaus ...more
Well, I "liked" this book well enough to read it for a second time...
Ben Palpant
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is an ecumenical exploration of art’s engagement with the church and how the two need each other. Like baseball’s Barry Bonds, this book hits home runs or strikes out entirely. We remember his home runs, however, and not his misses and I think I will do the same with this book. The first chapter by Andy Crouch and the last chapter by Jeremy Begbie are worth the price of admission. Rich fodder for contemplation.
Mar 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The most surprising book I’ve read in a while. It provides a solid theological and inspirational vision for art in the Church. I thought it was going to be boring but I found that every essay offered insights. I learned much about the value of art and artists, and how to value them and communicate them.
Lynn Domina
Mar 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
As with nearly all collections of essays, I found some here more helpful than others. Several of the writers come from a much more conservative religious tradition than my own, so I wasn't as interested in the need to justify the place of arts. I was more interested in the contributions that described options for integrating more art in worship and in church programming.
Apr 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Such a good book. Beauty matters. Don't settle for a sterile, sleek, hospital-like vision of the church. It's a garden, thriving in the beauty of the Son. Enjoy it. Cultivate it. Support it.
Mary Wiley
Mar 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: creativity, theology
I've read this book multiple times. It has been absolutely formative in building my view of art in the church. We have been created by THE Creator, who has given us the gift of creativity. So many believe that art has no utility and therefore no place in the church, but this book reminds us that the Christianity is not about utility. It is not about us, nor is it simply a means to an end. Instead, it is the all-encompassing, artfully-designed relationship of God with His people.

A quote that hit
Jamie Howison
May 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Like pretty much all collections of essays, this book is uneven. There were a few pieces that I found very helpful, and a few that I ended up skimming my way through after just two or three pages. That probably reflects my own starting point as much as anything, for the essays dealing with making a case for art in the church were pretty much just recapping things that folks like Cal Seerveld convinced me of decades ago.

I think my favourite was Lauren Winner's very personal piece on being an art
Dec 06, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dreadful-burn-it
What complete crap. Is there some weird newsletter I'm not receiving? I'm Catholic yet I feel my views on things religious, spiritual and temporal are utterly foreign. Imagine a group of essayists who have found yet one more way to box in an ineffable God and this time with art no less. If you are that fearful of someone creating something subversive or damaging to the faith, maybe they aren't the problem? I have no time for small minded people who find idolatry and blasphemy in anything that do ...more
Nathan North
Dec 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-reads
This book was a wonderful conglomeration of artists and pastors working together to see the world how it is, how it could be, and how we can work to bring about an artistic awakening in the Church (not just the local church, but the global Church).

I normally hate to write or highlight in books, but before I had even finished the introduction, I had to underline paragraphs of great words, both challenges and encouragements.

If you are in anyway associated with art and church, read this book! It
Jul 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
By the time I finished this book, nearly the whole thing was underlined--- very thought-provoking and encouraging as a Christian and as an artist!
An additional comment would be to encourage those who read this book to further follow the discussion (which is what it was written to provoke) through David Taylor's "Diary of an Arts Pastor" blog and its many enlightening links--- I wouldn't consider this book to be conclusive on its topics, but rather opening a door for growth in this area of our Ch
Tamara Murphy
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The book is ten chapters written by ten accomplished advocates for art in the church. Advocates for artwork that is more than a sermon illustration or an effort in following trends, but art that is forming and being formed by whole and healthy persons. So, if you are an artist or a pastor or a church-goer or an ex-church-goer or a patron or just someone who likes to read well-written non-fiction - go buy the book.
Denisse Beltrán
they probably should have specified in the title that they were focusing on the beauty of a United States, mostly White Church, not a breathtakingly diverse and Global one...

but this could just be me lackin' some grace. on the positive, I am actually digging some of the thoughts from the pastors who contributed essays on liturgical worship...
Francis S. Poesy
Aug 20, 2010 rated it it was ok
There were some good points made in the introduction and the Barbara Nicolosi piece was excellent. It was basically the reason I bought the book as I've read her stuff before and find it well-reasoned and inspiring. I didn't get that feeling from many of the other chapters, some which went on and on without making much of a point.
Jen H
May 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book for pastors. Excellent book for lay leaders. Excellent book for ALL those interested in how to best integrate arts and artists within the local church. Would make a great small group study book (and I'd love to be a fly on the wall as you discuss).

David Hoos
Aug 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
Like any art work, I have some criticisms but overall I think there was some definite substance and food for thought. I particularly enjoyed Barbara Nicolosi's chapter.
Oct 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian, art, theology
I had not read anything about this topic before. I found several chapters interesting and thought-provoking.
Buddy Eades
Dec 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Must read for artists and pastors
Oct 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
The writers pay homage to Seerveld, but very little in this book is interesting. Should have reread Rainbows for a Fallen World.
Margot Rogers
May 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Excellent collection of essays, enjoyed meeting the author and hearing him speak at Gordon College.
Dec 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Interesting read with a helpful vision for Christian engagement of the arts.
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W. David O. Taylor is Assistant Professor of Theology and Culture at Fuller Theological Seminary. He is the author of "Open and Unafraid: The Psalms and the Life of Faith" (Thomas Nelson: 2020), "Glimpses of the New Creation: Worship and the Formative Power of the Arts" (Eerdmans: 2019) and editor of "For the Beauty of the Church: Casting a Vision for the Arts" (Baker: 2010). He has written for Th ...more

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93 likes · 31 comments
“And on the night before he suffers the worst that wayward human culture can do, this is what he does: he takes bread and wine into his hands, lifts them up, and blesses them. Bread and wine, not wheat and grapes. Bread and wine are culture, not just nature. They are good for food and a delight to the eyes. Jesus takes culture, blesses it, breaks it, and gives it to his friends. Taken, broken, blessed, and given, these cultural goods, these “creatures of bread and wine” as the old prayer book had it, become sign and presence of God in the world.” 1 likes
“The trust we’ve built as pastor-nurturer with the artist grants us the discernment and the access to identify and release an artist’s gifts.” 0 likes
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