Tag Archives: Carolyn Arends

Our favourite Faith Today stories in 2016

As a fun end-of-year exercise, we editors put our heads together and chose some of our favourite Faith Today stories from 2016. “Favourite” meaning they resonated with readers for some reason. Or favourite could mean that we just simply loved the end results of the writer’s hard work, or thought an interview subject said some really important things we all need to hear.

We started out the year with a love letter to the Church. See you in 2017!

So, here’s our list (in no particular order, and just for fun).

Artful Discipleship: how the arts can help in spiritual formation. We love this Carolyn Arends piece with the honour it gives to the arts, and of course, with its connection to our first ever, wildly popular colour it yourself Faith Today cover. This was so much fun to pull together and it was awesome to see readers respond and send in coloured covers from all across Canada.
Continue reading Our favourite Faith Today stories in 2016

Is it True? Is it Beautiful? Questions to ask About our Art

by Carolyn Arends

Last year some Christian artist friends urged my husband and me to see a production at a local theatre. The play contained some of the most profanity-laden dialogue we had ever heard. And yet, as the story unfolded, we realized we were witnessing a profoundly redemptive story – one that pointed surprisingly and unmistakably to the gospel of Jesus.

Carolyn Arends is a musician and author in Surrey, B.C.
Carolyn Arends is a musician and author in Surrey, B.C.

We left the theatre moved and confused. Without the gritty language, would the play have been able to point so powerfully to grace in the midst of brokenness? Was it okay to expose ourselves to the language for the sake of the story?

Those of us who love stories (told in all the various art forms available to us) face a quandary. What if to tell a story honestly, unsavoury or downright evil behaviours must be portrayed? The Apostle Paul encouraged us to train our minds on “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, [and] whatever is admirable” (Philippians 4:8).

Does that mean we are constrained – either as receivers or creators of art – to keep certain topics or words off limits?

In a class I was teaching on faith and the arts, I struggled through this question with a group of college students. We recognized that factors like maturity and personal history are important. Some things aren’t appropriate for children, and mature viewers might need to avoid any portrayals that are “stumbling blocks” in their particular context. And we could all agree on extreme cases of exploitative and gratuitous sex, violence and abusive language that are clearly outside the bounds of the Philippians 4:8 mandate.

But we were less sure what to do with greyer areas.
Continue reading Is it True? Is it Beautiful? Questions to ask About our Art