Category Archives: Canadian Creatives

A Canadian author tackles the life of David in upcoming novel: A FT mini-interview with Mark Buchanan

Readers of the Jul/Aug Faith Today were treated to a take on King David that we might not have read before. “You anoint my head with oil: What a Bronze Age warrior-king can teach us about friends and enemies,” is an inspiring essay that looks at the friendships in David’s life, and how they might help us with our own.

But Mark Buchanan (MB) is working on more than that angle of David’s life. Deeply immersed in the writing process for his upcoming novel based on the life of the warrior-King from the Bible, one of our fave Faith Today (FT) writers took a few minutes out of his writing schedule to tell us more about the book, and his creative process.

Mark Buchanan’s essay in the Jul/Aug issue of Faith Today examines the role of friendship in David’s life. Buchanan is working on a novel about the warrior-king’s life.

FT: Mark, tell us about the novel you’re working on about David. What do readers need to know?

MB: I explore David’s story and character from multiple perspectives of those who know him well – his wife Michal, his nephew and general Joab, his priest Abiathar, and so on. I weave these multiple viewpoints into an overarching narrative that traces David’s life from birth to death. And, of course, I salt the whole thing with snippets of Davidic psalms. I am hoping that the overall effect captures both the sweep and grandeur of the story and the depth and complexity of the man.

David’s central and lifelong quest revolves around his longing for the father’s love. That explains nearly everything about him – from his astonishing intimacy with God to his failures as a husband, to his aloofness and yet indulgence toward his own children, especially his sons. It explains his military feats and his domestic fiascos. So I’ve made that quest – to find the father’s love – the deep story of the novel.

FT: What have you learned about David and his story that surprised or moved you particularly?

MB: That David is no hero. He’s a flawed and conflicted man who keeps throwing himself on God. He’s a king who needs a King, a father who needs a Father.

FT: We tend to think of you as a non-fiction writer. What has writing fiction been like for you?

MB: Wonderful. Terrifying. Deeply satisfying. Tormentingly hard. And it is borderline insanity to try to tackle a story so loved and revered – there are so many ways to mess this up. So we’ll see…

FT: What is your hope for the book?

MB: That it invites those who know the story well to reimagine it and reengage it, and invites those who don’t know it at all to explore the source material.

FT: What is next? Or are you thinking of that yet?

MB: Another novel – about a pastor who is a kind of modern day David.

FT: Thanks Mark!

MB: And you as well. Thanks for indulging my obsession.

Mark Buchanan is associate professor of pastoral theology at Ambrose University in Calgary. He is author of several books including Your Church Is Too Safe: Why Following Christ Turns the World Upside-Down(Zondervan, 2012). Spiritual Rhythm: Being With Jesus Every Season of Your Soul (Zondervan, 2010) and the forthcoming David: A Novel (Watch for news of its release this Winter).

Faith Today loves to tell stories of the creative Christian arts in Canada today.  Subscribe now for a regular dose of inspiration. 

The Journey of an Artist who is a Christian

By Jim Paterson

There is a brilliant book by David Galenson called, Old Masters and Young Geniuses, in which he makes a point for the credibility of those that develop later in life. The ones who take time to mature while coming to effective, if not profound, creative expression a little later than the rest.

James Paterson's Prayer Machine represents a lifelong journey into art.
James Paterson’s Prayer Machine represents a lifelong journey into art.

In a culture that gives popular acclaim to precocity and exults the energy of youth, Galenson makes a great case for those who seemingly muddle along much of their lives in search of, they aren’t sure what, but end up saying something new and valid and true in the end. (The book itself is in-depth, he’s an economist after all; for an easier read, Malcolm Gladwell capsulizes his thesis nicely in his book, What the Dog Saw, in the chapter “Late Bloomers”).

I love what Galenson says, because I feel like I’ve been muddling along most of my life, in search of I don’t know what, but figured if I tinkered long enough something would emerge.

That’s not to say I didn’t have a vision.
Continue reading The Journey of an Artist who is a Christian

An Artful Christmas

2013 Photo credit patty and santaby Patty Kingsley

“Join me and Santa Claus for church this Sunday at Newcastle Town Hall.” I shared that audacious announcement with friends and family because this year, my Christmas included collaborative creating with Santa at a one of a kind Christmas art and craft sale.

I think of church as a dine-in or a take-out experience. I often live the “take-out” model — using my art as a way to connect with people. I attempt to deliver “take-out” portions of love and kindness, with a side of art.

As I go, I search for the beauty of God and affirm the image of God in each person I meet. Often these encounters happen on a Sunday. I enter into the world of folks I meet during art events, and together we create. We talk about their family, their goals, their work and how life is working for them.

That is how I met [this] Santa Claus. We had hung out before, when I led carols in public schools. In fact, we’ve been meeting up during this festive season for over six years. Santa, who had never touched a canvas before, received his first art lesson with me at an event we both attended.

He had the same angst about making creative marks that we all have. He was tentative and he did not think he could do it. But he did.
Continue reading An Artful Christmas

Why I Don’t Call Myself a Christian Artist

by Albert Mueller

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Canola Field IV by Albert Mueller. His artwork is featured in Canadian Creatives in the Sept/Oct Faith Today

I never hear anyone refer to themselves as Christian truck drivers, or Christian factory workers, airline pilots, doctors, or lawyers. The list goes on. Most of the time a person will tell you what their occupation is, and then you might find out later that they are Christian also.

The band U2 is one of the most popular pop rock bands in the world and has been for some time. Not many people think of them as Christians, much less as Christian artists. They are generally considered a secular rock band as opposed to a Christian worship group. I don’t imagine too many churches would consider calling them up to lead worship in their church.

As a visual artist I do not consider myself a Christian Artist.

I am simply an artist, but will always be a Christian first. The word Christian is used as an adjective to describe the person or the type of art a person makes. When a person is called a Christian artist the person is now compartmentalized into making only Christian art.

The artist is no longer making art for the sake of being a creative person that God made them to be.

Continue reading Why I Don’t Call Myself a Christian Artist