Art & Culture

Reach into the mixed bag of culture and you could pull out almost anything: food, theology, cars, physician-assisted suicide, tradition, furniture, music, plastic trinkets from Taiwan, talk radio, dog breeds, hairstyle, theories of evolution, historic battles, the impossibly long first chapter of Ben-Hur, clay pots, even politicians. Culture is the intersection of nearly every aspect of human existence, and as such it is impossible to escape.

Not that we need to escape it. The Preacher said,

“There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God” (Ecclesiastes 2:24, ESV).

The first response in the Westminster Catechism is similar: “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” There is a consistent theme within Christianity of the importance of enjoying life on earth, not only through sacred avenues, but also through culture and the humanities.

In fact, Christians are better equipped than anybody to enjoy the world around them. A lot of people tend to think Christians are long-faced pietists who never have fun—and many do live up to this description—but when God created the world He proclaimed it good and never revoked that judgment, even after the Fall. Taking delight in God’s creation (and Christians believe He is the author of all things) is not just an enjoyment in the thing itself, but also in God Himself.

Equating culture and the humanities is a poignant identification because it illuminates the relationship between human nature and mankind’s creative and intellectual impulses. Culture is perhaps the one universal language among societies, since everyone is impacted by the one in which they live. If we follow this thinking to its logical conclusion, we could say that culture reveals what it means to be truly human. If humans are made in the image of God, and Christ is the pinnacle of humanity, then as His followers Christians have not only the right but the duty to take delight in the good that is found in and among the human race.

Art & culture is central to what Exodus is about. Not only is it important for Christians to enjoy art and culture and to analyze it according to biblical standards, they should create it and influence society in the name of Christ. This is the major impetus behind Christian education: to raise our children, not just to sit idly by, but to engage and transform culture through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.

 

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53 Items found Print
5 Cities That Ruled the World
by Douglas Wilson
from Thomas Nelson Publishers
in Art & Culture (Location: C08-01B)
Amusing Ourselves to Death
by Neil Postman
from Penguin Putnam
for 11th-Adult
in Culture & Discernment (Location: C08-01D)
Angels in the Architecture
by Doug Wilson & Doug Jones
from Canon Press
for 11th-Adult
in Art & Culture (Location: C08-01B)
Art and the Bible
by Francis A. Schaeffer
from InterVarsity Press
for 11th-Adult
in Creating Culture (Location: C08-01F)
Art for God's Sake
by Philip Graham Ryken
from P&R Publishing
for 10th-Adult
in Creating Culture (Location: C08-01F)
Bread, Bread, Bread
by Ann Morris
Reprint from HarperCollins
for Preschool-1st grade
in Food & Farming Around the World (Location: B03-00B)
Calvinistic Concept of Culture
by Henry R. Van Til
2nd edition from Baker Academics
for 11th-Adult
in Art & Culture (Location: C08-01B)
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by T. S. Eliot
from Harvest Books
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in Art & Culture (Location: C08-01B)
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in Practical Christian Living (Location: C03-02E)
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by N. D. Wilson
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Cultural Liturgies Volume 1
by James K.A. Smith
from Baker Academics
for 11th-Adult
in Art & Culture (Location: C08-01B)
Discovering Wine
by Joanna Simon
from Simon and Schuster
for Adult
in Culture of Drinking & Wine (Location: C08-07A)
Echoes of Eden
by Jerram Barrs
from Crossway Books
for 10th-Adult
in Creating Culture (Location: C08-01F)
First Dictionary of Cultural Literacy
by E. D. Hirsch, Jr.
from Houghton Mifflin
for 1st-6th grade
in Core Knowledge (Location: B11-03B)
For the Beauty of the Church: Casting a Vision for the Arts
from Baker Books
for Adult
in Art & Culture (Location: C08-01B)
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by Jamie C. Martin
from Zondervan
for Adult
in Recommended Book Lists (Location: A06-00A)
God Gave Wine
by Kenneth Gentry
from Oakdown Books
for 11th-Adult
in Culture of Drinking & Wine (Location: C08-07A)
History of the World in 6 Glasses
by Tom Standage
from Walker and Company
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by Witold Rybczynski
from Penguin Putnam
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Idols for Destruction
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In Defense of Food
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for Adult
in Culture of Food (Location: C08-07F)
In Defense of Food
by Michael Pollan
1st edition from Penguin Press
for Adult
in Culture of Food (Location: C08-07F)
It Was Good
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Last Child in the Woods
by Richard Louv
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Let's Eat
by Beatrice Hollyer
1st edition from Henry Holt and Company
for 1st-3rd grade
in Culture of Food (Location: C08-07F)
Life Under Compulsion
by Anthony Esolen
1st edition from ISI Books
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in Parenting (Location: C02-02A)
Loaves of Fun
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1st edition from Chicago Review Press
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in Culture of Food (Location: C08-07F)
Meaning at the Movies
by Grant Horner
from Crossway Books
for Adult
in Culture & Discernment (Location: C08-01D)
Meltdown
by Thomas E. Woods
from Regnery Publishing, Inc.
for 11th-Adult
in Economics Resources (Location: B12-05D)
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by H. R. Rookmaaker
from Crossway Books
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for 11th-Adult
in Films & Documentaries (Location: C01-02A)
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in Culture of Food (Location: C08-07F)
Performing the Sacred
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from Baker Academics
in Creating Culture (Location: C08-01F)
Plowing In Hope
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in Culture of Food (Location: C08-07F)
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from InterVarsity Press
for 10th-Adult
in Creating Culture (Location: C08-01F)
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in Art & Culture (Location: C08-01B)
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by Gene Veith
from Crossway Books
for Adult
in Art & Culture (Location: C08-01B)
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2nd edition from Intercollegiate Studies Institute
for Adult
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Total Truth
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Study Guide Edition from Crossway Books
for 11th-Adult
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Treasuring God in Our Traditions
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from Crossway Books
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in Purposeful Homemaking (Location: C08-08A)
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