Hans urs Von Balthasar, in his Magnum Opus Theological Aesthetics, said that the prophets have never used any medium other than art. In all of human history, no other medium has been able to carry the full weight of the prophet’s words. No other medium has been able to capture the surprising nuances of the prophet’s critiques. No other medium has had the humility to rage against empires that nearly drove the prophets mad.
Here it is. The arts are often the vocabulary of the Spirit. We are oblivious to this obvious truth, and it has been at cost to only ourselves.
This is a picture of the lead singer from mewithoutYou. They are a remarkable band that does not fear to use religious imagery throughout their lyrics. Pulling references from Judaism, Christianity, and Sufi Mysticism they have resonated well with post-moderns trying to apprehend spirituality.
Although some may refrain from calling them Christian and therefore no Christian should listen to them. (A critique of that logic may be coming soon.) I have grown to the idea that truth can be expressed by anyone. This is a result of a comment from that titan of a early church father, Tertullian, who said, “All truth is God’s truth.”
No matter the medium, the mode, or the man that it comes through; if it is truth then it finds its ultimate ground in God.
We have done ourselves a disservice in our dismissal of the arts. Perhaps one might need to be educated in a field in order to have a voice, but for the arts, this is less the case. Everyone has a voice because everyone has been educated by the field of life to some degree.
Truth has found expression in poetry, cinema, street performances, lyrics, spoken word, orchestras, punk bands, paintings, photography, novels, novellas and more. This is because, I believe, truth wants to engage us on a foundational level and not merely on an intellectual one. Truth must take its claim upon the entirety of our being, and when it is left as an intellectual category then we have fortified ourselves from our own freedom.
Let us learn to reclaim the arts. Let us allow the minor prophets of today to be the megaphones for the God behind all things. Let us not merely engage the truth, but allow the truth to harmonize with our souls and restore color to our hearts.