Aug 1, 2010

"...sleeping in the basement..."

Here is a brilliant quote from Ian Morgan Cron, that I got from a wonderful German friend who got it from another dear South African friend:

"The church is realizing that there is an awareness of God sleeping in the basement of the postmodern imagination and they have to awaken it. The arts can do this. All beauty is subversive, it flies beneath the radar of people's critical filters and points them to God.  As a friend of mine says. 'when the front door of the intellect is shut, the back door of the imagination is open.'  Our neglect of the power of beauty and the arts helps explain why so many people have lost interest in the church. Our coming back to the arts will help renew this interest."

Taken from his book, "Chasing Francis", which sheds new light on the legacy of St. Francis of Assisi, the above quote speaks prophetically to today's church about the critical role of beauty, the arts, and the imagination when it comes to influencing culture.  In his book, Cron masterfully weaves actual accounts from the life of Saint Francis' into the fictional story of Chase Falson, a New England minister on a pilgrimage to regain his faith. It's an amazing story with profound implications for the contemporary church.

The parallel between the way St. Francis influenced culture (an influence that is still felt today) and the way the arts influence culture, is the incarnational aspect to the way they communicate - by putting action, or form, embodiment or melody to His revelation.  The sooner the church begins to re-employ the God-given creativity He gave to man to illuminate His goodness and truth, the sooner the church can hope to reclaim the cultural megaphone.


  1. Hey Bill, Great post, and love the imagery!
    Glad to see you've joined the world of the bloggers - looking forward to some stimulating reading!

  2. I definitely agree that a sense of beauty is related to spirituality; the general purpose of Renaissance painting was to uplift the soul. I suspect that the converse is also true: there is a relationship between the spiritual vacuum of "scientific materialism" and the prevailing ugliness of modern culture. My personal opinion is that "postmodernism" is a form of insanity!