The title of the university class is this: The Arts and Culture: A Christian Aesthetic. It’s in January, is one week long, 8-5 for five days straight, beginning Monday, and there’s a two-three hour final on Friday afternoon. I’ve been teaching this class for ten years, a couple of years on my own, and the rest partnering with a couple of different Bible faculty (who have more graduate Bible credits than I do). This year, I’ve got a new teacher to team with (tell you about her later), so I’m messing with the syllabus, etc. After just reading a seven-year old presentation (a good 50-60 pages) that represents the basic thrust of the class, I’m convinced that while I have been working with some solid thoughts, the cultural ground has changed (and is changing) enormously. If we live in a time of cultural shift equal to that of Guttenberg, I need to pay closer attention. We all do.
Over the next month or so, I’m going to ask you to help me work on my syllabus (or at least the core ideas), and who I’m especially interested in hearing from are those of you that are Christ-followers (hip term of the moment, “Christian” not being nearly as culture friendly as we need) and working artists, successful (whatever that means) or not. If you are not a working artist, no worries…join in as well—after all, you are the receivers of the art being made. As a Christ-follower, you engage in art forms as audience (film, television, music, advertising, painting, etc.), and these discussions of what content we should be interacting with is always with us. (This and that movie or song or artist or news channel corrupts us or makes us more like Christ or offends the weaker brother or compels us to become murderers or worse…blah, blah, blah.)
I’m betting there are some awesome ideas and approaches that I have not even begun thinking about. I hope so.
The best thing about this is that I won’t have to think up stuff to blog about.
Okay. Assignment number 1:
- Tell me what you want a class like this to teach. In plain terms: if a student has to pay X amount of big bucks to take this class at a fairly pricy private university, what information/experience do they have to have, and what should they be able to do as a result of that information/experience?
Oh…one more piece of information. You may be wondering: “What’s the demographic of the class? Who is the class being built for?” The syllabus says this about the primary audience for the class:
- The class serves the fine arts student, giving attention to theological issues and spiritual dynamics the Christian artist inevitably faces as he/she pursues a career in artistic fields.
- The class also serves a cross-section of the university, attracting all majors, seeking to address the significant impact of art and popular culture on the life of the Christian.