"Re-remembering" Continued...

Issue: "Reinventing Hillary," Nov. 17, 2007

The Masterworks Festival is just one of an increasing number of formal responses to the church's inhospitality to the finer arts. The Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena and the Center for Theology and the Arts at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville also have attracted the interest and patronage of Christians intent on restoring art to what they believe is its proper role.

But if Powers and his brethren are keeping artistic hope alive, there's also reason for longtime observers of the evangelical scene to play the devil's advocate. It has now been over 50 years since Francis Schaeffer founded the L'Abri Christian Fellowship and began spreading a deeper, more philosophically and aesthetically rich gospel among wider evangelical audiences. Yet despite intermittent signs that Schaeffer's seeds have taken root in fertile ground, there have been many tares. Or, to cite another metaphor, every post-Schaeffer generation of evangelicals has found itself reinventing the wheel: discovering the dilemma of artistic malnutrition afresh and setting out to do something about it from scratch. In Powers' view, the problem in many ways may simply be one of forgetfulness.

If so, music such as Powers' may be particularly well-poised to effect a genuine revolution. One can hardly hear the music contained on Into the 21st Century without wanting to discover-and thus "re-remember"-not only the lives of its composers but also their times, and therein to see afresh the hand in history of a God toward whom worship of the highest order is the only response.


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