Pivotal People

Paving the Way for Faith-Based Art: A Conversation with Emily and Isaac Gay

January 01, 2024 Stephanie Nelson Season 2 Episode 68
Pivotal People
Paving the Way for Faith-Based Art: A Conversation with Emily and Isaac Gay
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

What if art and beauty were the most potent tools for evangelizing in the 21st century? Join me as we explore this intriguing concept with Emily and Isaac Gay, founders of Parallel Society. Through personal anecdotes and insights, Emily and Isaac shed light on the transformative power of artistry - how the triad of goodness, truth, and beauty can point to the divine. They highlight how their journey as artists led to the realization that artists can be today’s evangelists, communicating gospel truths through their work.

We don't just stop at understanding the potential of artists, we dive right into the role they play in society. Emily and Isaac elaborate on how artists, often undervalued within the church, have their fingers on the pulse of culture, shaping ideologies, impacting legislation, and education. Referencing insights from Vaclav Havel, the former Czech Republic president, they underline the power artists wield in shaping a nation's heart. Together, we envision a future where artists are nurtured both within and outside the church, enabling them to reach the lost.

Our discussion takes a fascinating turn towards the power of art and beauty, especially in times of crisis, using real-life examples such as a video of a woman playing the violin in a Ukrainian war bomb shelter. We reflect on the importance of imagination and creativity in maintaining our humanity in the face of adversity, inspired by the experiences of Victor Frankl in a concentration camp. As we wrap up, we peek into the future of faith-based art, discussing how it can embody Christ's ethic and morality, and the potential for artists of faith in the future. Tune in for this enlightening journey through faith, art, and beauty with Emily and Isaac Gay.

Learn more about The Parallel Society: https://www.theparallelsociety.co/
Reach Isaac Gay @imisaacgay
https://www.instagram.com/imisaacgay/

Order Stephanie's new book Imagine More: Do What You Love, Discover Your Potential

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Speaker 1:

I'd like to welcome Emily and Isaac Gay to the Pivotal People podcast and I have to tell you I'm really excited about this conversation because this is a new topic for me. We actually have a mutual friend and our friend told me probably a month ago Stephanie, you have to meet my friends with the Parallel Society. I'm like, okay, I don't know what that is, but if this guy says you have to meet these people, I want to meet him. Well, a couple of weeks ago we had a phone call and we just got to know each other and they told me what they're working on. It is so inspiring and I am not going to waste any words trying to tell you what they're working on, because when you hear it from them, you're going to agree with me it is amazing what they're doing. So, welcome to the podcast. Tell us a little bit about who you are, who you do your life with and what it is you're working on right now.

Speaker 3:

Well, thank you so much. Thanks for having us. Yeah, we were really excited to be connected. We've so enjoyed getting to know you and so, yeah, we would love to share Isaac. Do you want to?

Speaker 2:

kind of pick this up. So, emily and I, we have three kids five, three and a year and a half. We live in Southern California and our background so about 20 years of our lives has been spent as performers musical theater, dance, music and that's what brought us up to New York. We did some shows in New York and then, quickly after that, found ourselves in full-time ministry, and we were in ministry for almost a decade. Local ministry helped plant a church, built prayer rooms, led worship, did a ton of stuff. Really, really beautiful season of our life and we really had this, I would say, existential personal crisis where we found these two parts of our history that almost felt irreconcilable being artists and then working in the local church and soon after that maybe connected the dots that, oh, this might not just be a personal crisis, but maybe a communal crisis, maybe something that other people are struggling with, people that are a faith, that are artists, and then, on the flip side, people that work in churches that are trying to figure out how to disciple this really nuanced community of people. And so I would say that led us into launching Parallel Society, which is the organization that we run right now. That is about re-envisioning evangelism in the 21st century through the power of beauty. We really believe that beauty is the apologetic and that artists, therefore, are the evangelists. And if that's the case, then we need to pour into them resources and time really equip them to be the gospel carriers of our day. So that's kind of a little bit about us and what we're working on.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and I just like to share about kind of my personal experience. So, just like I was saying, I used to be a full-time performer and I was studying I was going to be a master of fine arts and acting and I had this specific moment and I always say it's one of my core memories kind of like shaped to who I was and has really determined a lot of our future plans together. So, anyways, I was taking this acting class and it was a voicing movement class where you learn how to be uninhibited in your body and how to use your voice well and everything. So here we are in this class and I know this sounds like kind of ridiculous, but we're learning how to move like cats. That was the assignment. And our professor is like, okay, yeah, you're not as free here as you should be and all this stuff. I mean it was a great exercise, but the thing that made it this really pivotal moment for me was that earlier in the day I had talked to my best friend who was at the time a missionary to Uganda and she had talked to me about like her work there. You know she was like working with orphans and just doing such such beautiful kingdom work. And so, as I'm like sitting there in my acting class, I have this moment where I'm like what am I doing with my life? Like, oh my gosh. And you know, I was a believer and so I just I really really struggled in that moment and honestly, for a long time after, to be like I feel like I come alive in these spaces and I love telling good stories and I believe in the power of theater. And yet I don't feel, like Isaac just shared that phrase like beauty is the apologetic of the hour. And I was like, honestly, I don't feel like I am an evangelist or even like can play a meaningful role in the kingdom of God. I I felt actually more embarrassment to kind of share with people what I did, and I almost even felt like I had to give an apology for like what I was doing. I was like I'm back on that time. What I realized is I just had a really misconstrued understanding of the theology of creativity and the theology of surrounding art and beauty. And so, anyways, isaac, would you share maybe more about just like what an apologetic is, and maybe like the transcendentals and like where we kind of come to believe that beauty is maybe one of the the leading ways in which we can communicate gospel truths in our day and age.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean throughout history, spanning all the way back to Plato and Aristotle. So the Greek philosophers, most philosophers, theologians, they would say they're these things called the transcendentals, which are essentially goodness, truth and beauty. But these are the three avenues in which we point to the transcendent, something beyond the here and now, the divine God.

Speaker 1:

And though you said goodness truth and beauty.

Speaker 3:

And beauty.

Speaker 2:

And this is something that you know. Like I said, like people that didn't believe in the Judeo-Christian God still held to, they still believed. Oh, you know, goodness points to true, goodness points to the divine. Truth obviously points to the divine that if we, you know, plato talks about them being values and essentially, you know, pursuing these values of life. And then Thomas Aquinas came around, the theologian, and really started to say no, you know, these are actually not only defined by the Trinitarian God of the Bible, they're actually found in him. And so that's where you know, and with the Christianization of culture that began, that the language began to be used, that the transcendentals, goodness, truth and beauty were found in the God of the Bible, the Trinitarian God of the Bible.

Speaker 3:

Right, and that it's those things in particular that allow us to so transcend. So if you're not like familiar with that word, I just kind of want to like break it down a little bit because I think it can sound somewhat ethereal. So to transcend just means to reach like beyond or outside of the world that you can understand and know and touch something that's beyond it. And so, when you know, people will say, oh, I had this like transcendent experience. Simply, what they're saying is I was like I was in a place and I had an understanding, and then I went somewhere else, like I went beyond what I could kind of fathom, and so, anyway, so that's what Isaac is saying with these, these like transcendentals goodness, truth and beauty does that for us. When we see X of goodness, it takes us out of ourselves and allows us to touch what we would call the divine and what historians have said for many years the same thing truth does that, beauty does that. But right now, in our particular moment of history, we would say beauty is actually I'm sorry, yeah yeah.

Speaker 2:

So essentially, you know, as Christians, we all have to answer Matthew 28,. You know, go and make disciples of all nations. Like each one of us, every generation of Christians, is responsible to answer that call that Jesus gave. And so throughout church history, you see one of those transcendentals being the forerunner, or being the tip of the spear, if you will, in that time of history. So I mean the early church there are accounts of. You know, a lot of people think that that constant, that Constantine, was the sole reason for the Christianization of Rome. But it was a part of it. But also there's a little bit more of like a darker side to it, which was essentially there were plagues that killed so many of the citizens and kick and so many Roman citizens left, and so the only people that stayed in Rome during those plagues were the Christians that mended the sick, that would actually die with those that were sick, and so that was an act of goodness in that time of history. Obviously, you can't separate goodness, truth and beauty. You can't, they're not mutually exclusive. But that was the time of history when goodness was really on display. Or in the Protestant Reformation, regardless of it was right, wrong, it brought a lot of good, you know, maybe not some aspects not so good, but truth, or the desire for truth was. That was the transcendental that was really at the forefront of the civil rights movement and the non retaliation of the black community. That was a time of goodness and truth that was really on display. And so we would say that now, in a time of history where goodness is rampant, you can be an activist for the most nuanced, you know, community or activity on planet earth. Everything is worthy of activism at this moment. And so, at a time of history when goodness is being defined apart from God, like some things that are worthy of activism are actually not, you know, it's when everything is worthy of something, it really diminishes the value of the things that are actually worthy of it. So we live in a time of history where goodness is defined apart from God. We also live in a time of history where we're told that truth is relative, and so in that moment we're in a kind of unique moment compared to the rest of history, where those two aspects are a little bit more subjective than they have been in the past. And we would say, in a moment like that it's beauty that comes to the forefront, and beauty that really has the best. We have the best opportunity of answering Jesus's call to go and make disciples of all nations through that transcendental.

Speaker 1:

Great, and so you're a parallel society, as I'm reading and learning about it. You're really discipling artists and musicians actors, I'm guessing, fine artists to use their creativity to communicate the love of God to people who are outside the church inside the church too, obviously. But something that kind of came to my mind is that over and over again, we hear that church attendance is going down. We got to get people back in church. We got to get people back in church. Well, I've also read. Or we could just leave the church and go out to the world. I mean, who are we being in our neighborhoods? I always call it the holy huddle. Are we just going to stay in our holy huddles, where it's real comfortable, or are we going to reach across the street and perhaps just try to show God's love without stating that it's God's love?

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Maybe we could just live. So when you've taken it to the next level of saying you're a talented musician, you're a talented actress, how can you use that gift to really put God on display, to reach people? Am I getting it right or am I? I'm sure it's a little more complicated than that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, essentially I hold to. So I love I mean with all of its flaws. I think that Jesus loves the church and so if Jesus loves the church, I should probably love the church too and I should probably believe in the church. But I do think that there is perhaps an old wineskin that we're operating out of that there are old habits and looking at the culture, so there's this. You know, I've been thinking about this concept of like micro versus macro contextualization and essentially what that is is like, you know, contextualization. You get around a bunch of pastors and they're always talking about contextualization, like ministry in Idaho looks different than ministry in San Francisco, or ministry in Florida looks different than the upper east side of Manhattan. We have this emphasis on micro contextuality where we're just like contextualization to the neighborhood that I've been called to in the city that I'm in and that's kind of like the border in which we kind of think about our contextualization. How does the gospel reached in this time of history? And you think of somebody like a Tim Keller, somebody who just like did this so masterfully. But I do think my last statement about you know, I think we're operating in like old wines, wineskins is in the, in the pursuit or the over emphasis of our micro contextualization, we're kind of forgetting about the macro contextualization that we should probably be aware of, and what I mean by that is in our time of history, look at who are the most influential demographic of people. Obviously, you know, legislators and politicians are. They put things into place, they put policy into place, but it's really the artists are. I would make an argument that the artists and I think you make a strong argument looking, doing a socio kind of like you know, evaluation of culture, artists are really the ones that bring ideology into the centerfold of the marketplace and affect, you know, legislation or education. It's really the artists are the ones that like bring the advent of whatever the new philosophy is and ideology is, and then legislation just kind of like cements it into place. And so, if that's the case, if we, you know, I was looking at even just like comparatively, that you know, if you want to use the divide, which I'm not the biggest fan of the sacred secular divide, but if you wanted to use that language, like music that comes from the church versus music that comes from the world, if you want to be dichotomous like that, it's almost, it's quite astounding the gap between like the most streamed song on Spotify let's take. Let's take Spotify, for instance, the highest streamed song from the highest, from the most listened to artists. That doesn't take the. The title of like Christian versus a Christian artist is, I mean, it's a drastic we're talking almost a billion, if not more, streams difference. And it's just this, this, this reality, in which it feels as though the church is always playing catch up. And I think we feel that in some of the art that we see coming from the church, where it feels second best, it feels almost caricature-esque, like oh, we're for it, we're just making stuff that like fits this particular box that we've created as Christians, and it just feels like it doesn't have a deep level of. There's something compelling that's missing. And so I would say, yeah, in that kind of reality that we find ourselves in, I think that the church is really struggling in how to disciple its most influential people group, and so I would say, your best opportunity of reaching our generation is to equip, to disciple and equip the artists to have rooted, grounded theology, not only in their, in their work, but in their identity, because that's going to, that's going to stem from who they see themselves as people, as the created New Manga day, the other God. So we would make an argument like if you want to reach your community if there's, you know, in this time like a shot of us reaching, you know, our communities and our culture we have to equip and empower our artists. You know some artists are going to be called to work in the church. I get it Like the church. You know there are aspects and functions of the church that have to run and that's okay. But even in that regard I think we do we do easily fall into like utilitarian utilitarianism where we're basically saying you're an artist, I need you to do this thing, and so I value you for the, for the product, versus oh, I value you because of your kingdom potential. And just like any parent, like you have kids, we have kids. Like, if you value your kids potential, you pour time and resources into them. I pour into my kids the best knowledge that I have and I try to give them a disproportionate amount of my time. Sometimes I fail at that. I just got back from a 10 day trip in London and so that's a little out of whack, but like that's the idea. It's like if you value something, you pour into it, and I think we are feeling the the byproduct of not valuing our artists, and so you see a lot of artists leaving the church or a lot of hurt because they're like, they're some of the most overworked demographic of people within. You know the things that have to happen Sunday and in, sunday out, and yet not a lot of space is created for artists to be poured into, and so you know we're taking a lot out without pouring in, and what we want to say is like, actually, this is the demographic of people that we should actually pouring into the most, because what they can create inside the church and outside of the church gives us our best shot of reaching the loss.

Speaker 1:

So what is your vision? Like you know, when I had a vision for a project, I mean I thought about it all the time. You think about this all the time. What is your like blue sky hopes and dreams. What would you like to see happen in discipling artists? Like, specifically, tangibly, what are the events and activities you'd like to see happen and from who? Who would do those things?

Speaker 2:

Well, back with Hobel, who was the former president of Czechoslovakia yeah, yeah, yeah, the former Czechoslovakia, czech Republic in the 90s, after the Berlin Wall fell. So he was a, he was a playwright. He was actually enslaved by the country that he ended up becoming the president of and the Berlin Wall fell and the BBC had an interview with him and they asked him how he led Czech Republic, the Czech Republic, through what they coined was the Velvet Revolution or the bloodless revolution. And they kind of like asked him they were just fascinated, like how did you lead your country so well through communism, like the fall of communism, how'd you do this? And Hobel's response was communism had its narrative and we had ours. And he says through playwrights, songwriters and poets, we created a parallel society. That's where our name comes from. And then he has this line where he says you keep all the politicians and legislators, but give me the artists and I'll have the heart of the nation. Oh wow, and I think that's really kind of like the vision. You know, andy Kraut, he's the culture making he talks about. You know you can critique culture, you can consume culture, you can copy it, but if you really want to have cultural influence, the best way of doing that is through creating culture. Creating culture yeah, and I just I think, unfortunately, I've just I've experienced, I've felt it, I've heard it in, you know, in my time in ministry there's almost this like militaristic perspective when it comes to culture, like we need to take over, we need to reclaim Hollywood, you know from the darkness, you know for Jesus, and it's this like militaristic kind of like undertone and I would actually say like, oh man, I don't know if that's, I don't know if that's really the most, I don't know if that's the right response. I think we should reclaim our vision for creativity, because I think in that we will create the most compelling culture and the rest of culture will follow. Culture is always trying to follow the most compelling you know narrative that's out there. The problem is like we just haven't created a compelling narrative and the gospel is compelling, jesus is compelling, we don't have to come up with anything. But I just think we have kind of yeah, we've just kind of gotten into this cyclical habit of trying to create, you know content that just like sounds or looks Christian, but it's actually. I would make an argument, a lot of the times I don't know if Jesus is actually, if it's a full representation of who he is. You know the cross was was horrific. You know it was horrific. It's compelling, it's a thing that has compelled all of us. And so what do we see at the end of it all? I mean, I see a generation. I see we want to see a generation of artists that we want to really lead a generation or a creative revolution within the church. And I see, you know, parallel society. We would love for it to be a an avenue in which that artwork from that community of people is seen at a global scale. So we're still trying to figure it out. You know I'm not short of dreams and visions, but I can get very few things done without Emily. So we're still trying to figure it out. But we really do see this being the intersection of kind of like our, our story of being artists and then being and having a love and really a love for the church and like obviously loving Jesus and wanting to see art that comes from people of faith, that is really transcendent, that is impactful, that is compelling. So that's what we kind of we really want to see happen.

Speaker 3:

Well, right, and we so we actually have. We have a resource that's called the Parallel Society course and it's eight lessons and it is essentially discipleship in giving, like a foundation for biblical beauty. And then we talk about the theology of creativity and then, essentially, we do end with this charge, calling for a creative revolution in the sense of that the Lord has like uniquely formed and gifted artists to contribute and to bring about like kingdom, good and beauty, and that it's like our responsibility is artists to embrace that and not, you know, like me, not be like embarrassed about that, but that actually it is his beauty that will save the world, because Jesus is beauty incarnate and he did save the world, you know. And so we would say like we obviously have lots of dreams and visions. Right now we just like run our course, which anyone can like purchase this on kajabi, but then we also host events that we really hope and pray are meaningful. I think we are. We get great, great feedback from that, but essentially we get to showcase and feature artists who have this understanding, have this ideology of their art. That it is, it is something to create culture, right, they're like not interested in copying culture, but but creating culture and creating kingdom culture, and so we love getting to do that, getting to to give them a platform and and and just bring awareness to like who they are and, in that sense, allow their art to continue, obviously. And then, you know, we really see, like I, we think, you know, in 10 years we pray that churches all over the globe would begin to form artists in residency programs. And this is actually not necessarily a new idea. This is, this is an ancient church idea, so the church used to commission artists all the time to to create art, you know, gospel centered art and so we would love to see that again where we say, you know, churches say, hey, we really believe in this artist and we're going to pay their salary for a year so that they can solely concentrate on their craft and in that sense, you know, be backers of the artistic community, which we think will also really help in the mending and the healing of that relationship between the artistic community and the faith community. Right, because if you're like, hey, no, we believe in you, we want to champion you, I just think that's a really healing experience and we would love to see that happen. And then, of course, you know, this coming June we're hosting a gallery in New York City where we are going to get to again showcase different artists, all you know, a variety of mediums, really. So, you're correct, and like fine artists, dancers, musicians, we love it all. And so, again, just hopefully giving, giving a vision and inspiration for others who who are, like you know, craving that and and sorry I know I'm kind of just like spewing a lot of information, but I just wanted to share, you know, in the Psalms, something, a scripture that's really formed us, I think, is it's from Psalm 27, when David of course we, you know this is like add it to your top five scriptures. If you're a Christian, if you've been a Christian for longer than a year, you'd like, of course you know this. But you know, david, he says one thing I ask of the Lord, one thing I seek that I would be able to gaze on the beauty of God. And I just sat with that for a long time, because if you read the context of the scripture, he's not lounging, you know, in the palace, you know he's not on vacation when he writes that and he's like, oh, I just want to gaze on the beauty of God. No, it actually the context for is a time of war. It's a time of strife, he's in the in the middle of, essentially, battle, and that's when he's asking to gaze upon the beauty of God and I just really yeah, like I said, I just really meditated on that for a long time because I was like why is he asking to see the beauty of God? Why not the justice God, why not the power of God, the strength of God? I personally can come up with five other things that would be better than the beauty of God in a particular moment like that. Right, but he has to see the beauty of God. And anyways, it continues on in verse six and he says for he will lift my head above my enemies. And in essence he's saying I can gaze upon the beauty of God, then I have hope, then I will have hope that will carry me above the chaos, you know, surrounding me, and I just think you know personally, we do live in a time that is extremely. There's lots of pain obviously there's been pain since the fall, but pain and chaos, and I think a lot of people are really confused and I think that beauty gives us hope, you know, and beauty really points us to God, as we, as we began our conversation. Beauty allows us to transcend our experiences. You know, that's why, and I think that's what the heart is drawn to. I don't know if you saw, there was like a YouTube video going around at the start of the you know, Ukrainian war, and it was. It was honestly stunning, but essentially there was a group of people huddled in like a bomb shelter, right, and you can, you can hear the bombs like explosions going on around them and they're all like huddled. It's like, you know, terrible quality, it's like probably just somebody's phone, but everyone's just like sitting there quietly and this woman is standing in the middle of them and she's playing the violin and and you know, the music is just like swirling around them. And I just remember being so touched and it went viral, Because I think this is the, this is the message, you know, of David's heart. Right, it's like in time of war, beauty is actually the thing that gives us hope, it reminds us that we're human, it gives us dignity. We actually saw. You know, if you're, I could give lots of other examples, but that's that's inspiring to me and that's, I think, the gift that we want to, you know, give to this next generation.

Speaker 2:

Well, yeah, just to support. Lastly, just to support what Emily was saying Victor Frankl, in Man's Search for Meaning, talks about how one of the ways that they would, that they would really just like keep sanity and really keep their humanity in the concentration camps, was they would, they would talk about like, what kind of food would you, would you eat when you, when you get out, what kind of food will you eat? You know, they would imagine, they would use their imagination, they would create scenarios and scenes and this wasn't exclusive to Frankl's accounts. There was plenty of accounts of Jewish people that were in concentration camps that would actually host like plays they would create. They would, they would, you know, give people characters and things of that nature. It gives us hope, it gives us our humanity, our dignity.

Speaker 1:

So yeah, I love this. I could, honestly, I could sit and listen to your wisdom all day. You are so inspiring and I'm sitting here thinking of how much art and beauty has brought me closer to God. You know, clearly, clearly, listening to for me, listening to Christian music is transcendent. Reading the Psalms is transcendent. Looking out, we live on, we're retired, so we live in two beautiful places. I'm either looking at a lake or I'm looking at the mountains and I see God all the time. And it's interesting because at this point in life too, I've done lots of things. You know, you're young, you've got to do exciting things, you have to do new projects and you have to have all these exciting, exciting adventures. And my husband and I have done all of that. And here we are and we are just so happy to just look at a lake or look at the mountains. And we want to tell young people don't drive yourself crazy with all the other stuff, when you have every option in the world and you can do whatever you want to do and you are so at peace and feel close to God going on a hike in the mountains because you are surrounded by his beauty. Anybody can do that. You don't have to have a dime to your name. You can go, enjoy the beauty of nature and be close to God and stop driving yourself crazy. So, artists, I think, give us the space to be able to listen to that beautiful music. You know, to listen, to look at the beautiful scene. I'm looking around my house. I told you my best friend from college has. She's an artist and she paints, and I have her paintings in every room because they remind me of her. I also think they're beautiful, but she as an artist would just be very humble about it and she would say, oh, that's just not quite right. I need to fix that little thing over there, I need to really touch it up. No, it's beautiful the way it is, you know. So I appreciate artists and what I think is interesting. You are so right. I'm thinking when you're talking about artists as evangelists. I'm going to date myself here, but I know every word to Hotel California. I don't know that many Bible verses, but I can't sing, so you don't have to hear it. But wouldn't it be wonderful if we all had all of these songs memorized that happened to be filled with words from the Bible or you know truth, and so you have. I love your artist and resonance idea. I have to believe that that's going to take off. But something amazing is going to happen and hopefully in the meantime you guys are going to enjoy beauty and not drive yourself too crazy working so hard. But I understand having a vision and I'm going to have. In the show notes I'll have a link to all of your information, but people can follow you on Instagram at parallel society. Co is that? It? Yeah, yeah, you can just go parallel society parallel society and then your website and that's where you can learn about taking the class, yes, and learn about any events if you're lucky enough to be in one of your cities where you're holding an event.

Speaker 3:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

New York in June? That sounds wonderful.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, it's, it's now, it's going to be. We're really, we're really excited, really hopeful. I mean we're putting, you know, everything, everything into this. We believe with it with all of our heart. You know, our whole family were in this and we really like see each other. You know, emily and I, we see each other as like missionaries to the artist community. You know, I just want to end with this. So, like Leo Tolstoy, who is the acclaimed Russian novelist, wrote War and Peace, other works as well, obviously he has a little it's a little book that's called what is Art and in that book he talks about what constitutes right, good art, because everybody, you know, has or at least there's the assumption, like you know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder Like sure, you can have beauty, but how does that transcend to God? Like, how does it not just transcend to your own personal desires or whatever, like that. And Tolstoy's response to that is really fascinating. I think it's true and we, we, we try to embody it. And he basically says, you know, for art to be good art, so he makes that distinction there's good art and there's bad art. And he says for art to be good art, it should, and I love this. He says it should communicate an ethic and a morality that longs for human flourishing. So he says for art to be good art it should communicate an ethical framework and a moral structure that longs for all human flourishing. And a few things stand out to me about that, because it's like the ethical framework and the moral structure that longs for all flourishment is Christianity. There are other religions that long for flourishment for certain genders or certain social class. There are certain philosophies that long for flourishment depending on you know, the proletariat or the bourgeoisie, if you're being oppressed or you are a oppressor Like. There are frameworks that long for flourishment, but the one that longs for holistic flourishment, regardless of race, regardless of ethnicity, regardless of age, regardless of social class, it really was perpetuated by the teachings of Jesus, and so I think in that case it really expands what our art can look like, because I can point to Jesus if I point to him explicitly or if I point to what happens if he's not in the room, and I think that that can just, it can open up more, so what we can actually create that can be utilized to point to Christ. We don't have to create something that is just so, that it's just so Christian, if to use lack of better words, that it's so meaningless, so obvious, there's nothing wrong with it. I write worship songs. Worship songs are needed, you have like edification of the saints are so needed. I'm also struggling with massive amounts of allergies this time of year. Oh dear From the east coast to the west coast and my nose doesn't know what to do with itself. So I apologize for all this, but it also just you can also point to the ethic and the morality of Christ. My point is, you can point to the ethic and the morality of Christ in many ways, not just by being explicit about you know right meaning something that's explicit about that. So I'm really excited, really hopeful for what the future holds for artists of faith.

Speaker 1:

Well, I am too, and I just want to thank you so much for your time and for educating. The best part about this podcast for me just completely selfishly is I get to learn so much and I get to meet interesting people, and I am just thankful that I got to meet the two of you. And also, I'm just going to warn you in advance most people who've been in my podcast are now my friends, so you're going to hear from me. We'll be, following up with you. We'll see what else is going on. And it'll be fun.

Speaker 3:

We love watching you. Thank you for having us.

Speaker 1:

Oh, thank you.

Re-Envisioning Evangelism Through Beauty
Artists and Culture
The Power of Art and Beauty
Expanding Artistic Expression in Faith