The Church Loses When Our Arts Communities Die - Living Strong Television Network
The Church Loses When Our Arts Communities Die

Christian writers and artists need communities of like-minded creatives so we can best serve both the church and the world.

I can remember the moment small literary magazines entered my life and established a subtle but dominating influence. I was talking with my dad about some classes I was taking at the end of my undergraduate years, and I shared an idea that had recently popped into my head: “I want to start a magazine. I’ll invite some friends who like to write and are into photography to feature their work. I’ll print 10 or 20 copies and see what happens.”

Surprised, he pointed at a maroon-covered, finely printed journal lying on his desk, the word Image emblazoned across the top. Below the title, a description: Art. Faith. Mystery. As the dean of students at a Christian liberal arts university, he knew his way around a landscape that I was just beginning to roam.

The direction of my life was permanently altered at that moment. I found a world that took seriously the things I loved: faith, books, imagination, the creation of culture, and the development of craft. It lit a fire in my chest.

But ten years later, it feels like that world is crumbling—or is at least on quaking ground. In February, Image announced it was shuttering after 35 years of operation for financial reasons—and then, in March, joyfully reversed its announcement after an outpouring of support. Other small magazines and presses haven’t made the same comeback, and Christians in the Visual Arts announced it was disbanding last year.

From my vantage, these closures don’t demonstrate a lack of energy, talent, or interest in arts and literature in the church. In some ways, the arts and faith movement—led by writers, painters, poets, and photographers who live by a drumbeat not usually highlighted in Christian community—seems …

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