Stirring Controversy: The Worship Conference 2011

I’ll be speaking as a clinician at The Worship Conference 2011 at William Jessup University in Rocklin, California, on Saturday, April 9, 2011.  They just sold out, so if you aren’t signed up, I guess you’re out of luck.  However, if you are signed up for this conference, please be sure to attend my workshop at the Breakout Session 3 (right after the General Session with main speaker Bob Kilpatrick).  Here is a synopsis of what I’ll be speaking on:

Creativity & Faith (Saturday, 2:15 PM) “Why are we creative? What makes us compose, paint, write, film, act, and dance? And how does God receive our artistic expressions? Manuel Luz practically discusses the crucial necessity of understanding the convergence of faith and the arts, the nature of creativity, and the relationship between the artist and God.”

Personally, I love giving this workshop, because I love seeing the imaginary light bulbs that start turning on above people’s heads as we start to get a sense of God’s perspective on the arts.  Here are three things that seem to always generate a lot of controversy, discussion, and interest:

• Beauty is an objective quality, not a subjective one.  We have bought into the humanism/relativism tenet that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  But beauty is a quality of a thing independent of how it is perceived.  In other words, beauty is a quality of the object, not a quality bestowed by the person experiencing it.  This is a crucial concept to understand, because beauty points to God.  More specifically, I contend that beauty is defined according to God’s original intention for the universe. (This is why God said that “It was Good” when he finished!)   And as such, all beauty points to God, because it hints at His fingerprint upon the universe.

Without a theology of the arts, the arts are minimized in the church to simply be a vehicle for a message.  And in it’s worst form, it becomes kitsch, or even propaganda.  But the arts, in a larger sense, should be an expression of one’s faith in and life lived in Christ.  Our understanding (or misunderstanding) of the arts vastly affects how we use (or misuse) it in our churches, and how we treat (or mistreat) the artists in our churches.

People have a really hard time using the word “artist” to describe themselves.  And that is a shame.  Because we are all made in the image of God, who defines Himself first as the “Creator,” the Artist God.  If we cannot embrace this aspect of our humanity, we cannot fully understand or worship God as He really is.

I look forward to seeing you at the conference.  There’s a lot to talk about!

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