Art & Grace
Art is, perhaps, one way of naming everything we as cultural beings do that cannot be explained in terms of its usefulness….
What is Christian faith itself but the embodied conviction that religion is not, after all, about utility? For many of our ancestors and many of our contemporaries, religion was and is a means to an end. It is a way to cajole the gods into propitious attitudes, to bend the mysterious forces of the cosmos a little bit toward our needs by the right mixture of supplication and praise. But what if the world, from beginning to end, is a gift? What if God is more utterly, completely for us than we could ever be for ourselves? What if we no longer have to offer a sacrifice that might waft up into his nostrils and compel his distracted attention—what if he himself has taken the initiative, become the sacrifice, torn the temple veil? What is left but gloriously unuseful prayer and praise?
What we do in our churches, when we do what we should be doing, is unuseful! It is better than useful. The economy of grace overflows with the unuseful….
Art and worship stand together on the common ground of the unuseful.
From Andy Crouch, “The Gospel: How Is Art a Gift, a Calling, and an Obedience?” in W.David O. Taylor, For the Beauty of the Church: Casting a Vision for the Arts (Baker, 2010), 36; 38-39; 40.