Archive for the ‘art’ category

Mission set in stone

March 5, 2010

Spent all morning talking with students about the things we can learn about European thought (religious and secular) from its art history. We’ve moved from cave art to Vivienne Westwood’s so-called ‘bondage pants’, from icons to Dali, via van Gogh and Carravagio, etc.

Each of them gives us some insight into how the artist, as a mirror to their contemporaries, sees the world, themselves, and their understanding of God’s relationship to the world and humanity. Some of the art was intended to tell the Gospel story, some of it sets out to undermine the Gospel, much of the post-Reformation art simply assumes humanity’s liberation from the constraints of Christian belief and assumptions.

We ran out of time to discus the relationship that exists (or doesn’t exist) between contemporary art ¬†and mission in Europe. Is there one? Does art pose the questions or answer them? Is art diminished when it’s associated with the mission of God or is it elevated by the association? Shame we ran out of time. Hopefully the conversations will continue.

For more details about the European mission short courses on offer at Redcliffe, you can check the programmes at