Abductive Columns

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Encountering God Through the Arts

Before the 20th century art was an important part of Christianity. As we moved through the 20th century art and faith grew uniquely separate, even antagonistic toward one another. Yet historically the use of art as an expression of faith was common. Michelangelo’s paintings in the Sistine Chapel, da Vinci’s Last Supper, Botticelli’s Adoration of the Magi, and Raphael’s Epiphany are cultural icons with deep ecclesiastical roots. During this period Christianity drove culture instead of trying to be culturally relevant.

Ron Martoia uses ambiance art to engage worshipers in Jackson, Michigan. One week, as people entered the assembly they looked up and saw an oversized mannequin with one foot stepping off a ladder suspended in midair. During the lesson Martoia told the audience, “This is what your life is like without Jesus. Without Jesus, our lives are grounded in midair…we need to get on firmer footing.”

For his series on “Transformed Hearts,” artist sculpted a 6-foot heart and set it in the middle of the stage. Hanging directly above the praise band was a 5-foot electrical transformer. Art reinforced the message.

Ron Martoia is just one of a growing number of men and women expressing an artistic creativity that has the potential to change culture. As Barbara Nicolosi of the Hollywood based Christian screenwriting program Act One said, “A beautiful piece of art can stir people inside for something they don’t even know. It can make them lonely for heaven.”


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