Outreach and the Artist a Review
Some art that has the ‘christian’ label on it, is frankly not very good. This has been properly documented by pioneers like Charlie Peacock and commented on by Hans Rookmaker and others over the years. So, what can a book on the artists’ role in outreach contribute to a discussion if the art isn’t that great? Con Campbell’s book, Outreach and the Artist does two things well. He briefly bridges the gap that some lay people and thoughtful artists who do not darken the door of a church anticipate and secondly, Campbell actually discusses evangelism or outreach or sharing the story of Jesus and frankly, within some artistic circles, this doesn’t get much attention. The focus, after all, is good art, right?
The Christian teaching on evangelism demands some attention as well as the Christian approach to art and both must live in a certain amount of tension in the 21st century. After all, evangelism isn’t taught clearly or creatively in most churches and the arts not only bring a certain subculture to mind, but often many lay leaders have few friends who are actually practicing artists. In holding things in tension and in bridging necessary gaps, Campbell succeeds admirably. This is a short book, so I will refrain from quoting at length, but it’s a solid book that takes the story of Jesus and the expression of that story seriously. Artists give so many of us a voice or a lens from which we can express that which often eludes us in words and I wish we’d hire more artists intentionally in the church who do something other than play music or sing. With that said, how we express and experience the story of the Bible is no small thing and Campbell contributes to this discussion with expertise and charity.
Jerram Barrs, a former professor of mine during seminary, also has a new book out on the arts and so i thought of reviewing both that book and Con Campbell’s new book entitled Outreach and the Artist. I decided not to as the books are a bit different in their focus, but they do compliment one another and I recommend purchasing both for your library.
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