STiR:charlotte – Building Bridges | Inspiring Creatives

STiR image_smOn January 16th, 2016 the fellowship hall of CityChurch Charlotte was filled with the high-energy hum of Charlotte creatives in attendance at the first-ever STiR:charlotte event, hosted by SacredMuse.  The day was filled with personal stories…from table talk among artists representing almost 20 different sacred communities in Charlotte…to the panel of presenters, each sharing about the inescapable “Compelling” that has drawn them into creative careers and the unique ways they manage to integrate faith and creativity.

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The venue was filled with a wide range of ages and skill levels…but everyone present shared a deep affection for the creative process. “Compelling” may have been the over-arching theme for the day, but the tangible pay-offs for attendees were connection, inspiration and the permission to dream again.

One attendee stated:

“I’m just so inspired! I’ve alway done my art as a very private thing. But today, I realized that, by sharing it with others, my voice can actually have an impact on the world around me…and that my voice matters.”

Another said:

“It was SO encouraging! I instantly connected with everyone…even though we came from different parts of town and different sacred communities and had different forms of creative expression…we all spoke the same language. It just reminded me that I’m not alone…”

Another confessed:

“I want to go home, quit my job and do what I’ve always dreamed of doing. But even though I can’t just quit like that, I can take a big step in the right direction by getting these ideas that are in my head down on paper. I can’t wait for the next event…it’ll be a big help in keeping me on track!”

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JOIN US for the upcoming STiR:charlotte on April 23, 2016, held at 8519 Gilead Road
Huntersville, NC 28078
 (with special thanks to our friends at Lake Forest Church).  The topic will be “In the Beginning(s) navigating false starts, detours and distractions“.

REGISTRATION begins at 8am, March 23rd on Eventbrite. Tickets are FREE, but space is limited. So gather your friends, creative teams or simply challenge yourself to make it to the next STiR:charlotte event.  It’s guaranteed to be time well spent!

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STiR:Charlotte is a quarterly meet-up for creatives from sacred communities, focused on the dynamics of integrating faith and creativity, and the telling of artist stories (like a TEDtalks for creatives). It’s designed to be a powerful encounter that will encourage, equip and inspire you toward higher creativity–whether you’re a seasoned professional, hobbyist, closet artist or simply wanting to engage with the creative process.

Theology & The Arts

I ran across this video online, and found Jeremy Begbie’s explanation of how he relates his creativity with his faith as simply elegant.  He takes a somewhat heady philosophy, and shows in practical terms how his art form, music, unlocks the truths of the Gospel in breathtaking ways.

I took the liberty of including notes below, in case you wanted to share them with your worship team or creative group.  He offers up a most interesting case for creative expression being inextricably linked to faith, transformation and innovation.  

For me, it served as a beautiful reminder of what it means to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world–that who we are and what we believe is communicated through what we do…and that it is meant to affect transformation in the lives and hearts of people around us.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!


How does an artist who comes to faith in God relate the two worlds of:
  •  Thinking as a musician
  •  Thinking as a theologian
Two ways to view creativity in relationship to your faith:
1.  Theology for the arts – you start with a Christian world view, or doctrine or biblical text…and you apply it to the art form.  So you try to understand the art form in light of the theological world view.

2.  Theology through the arts – you start with the art form (music, art, dance, etc.)…and you ask what the art form can bring to theology.  How can the powers of creative expression help us to unlock the great truths of the Gospel?

Lessons that can be learned from considering theology through the arts:
  • The most wonderful things can come out of the most unpromising/unlikely material.  The arts show us over and over again the possibilities of transformation.  They show us how things could be.
  • Even the worst can be woven into God’s purposes.  God can take your worst mistakes and make them into His beautifully unique bits in life (ie. His “passing notes”).
  • Life is full of possibilities.  Many of us think that the only two options in our lives are Order & Dis-Order.  We’ve come to associate Order with good, and Dis-Order with evil. Order is fruitful, while Dis-Order is destructive.  But there is a third option to consider:  Non-Order or The Jazz Factor – something that is unpredictable and irregular, but is not destructive.  The real skill comes from learning the inter-play between Order and Non-Order.
    All art represents an inter-play between the given and the unpredictable.  
    One form of the given is tradition.  As a creative you are apprenticed to a tradition –  the tradition of classical music, or modern dance, or Shakespearean English, Impressionistic painting.  That is the only way you will innovate in the future. Most great innovators rely intensively on their tradition…and from within it, they begin to play around with its structure…creating a play on the traditional that  becomes something unique in its own right.  Some people try to innovate far too soon, but involves a great deal of practice and being inculcated into a tradition.  
  • You’re always innovating for a particular circumstance – innovation involves interpreting the art while being mindful of the context–innovating for the occasion.  Improvisation is the exploration of occasion.  This time, this place, these people, on this occasion. A great doctrinal example of this type of innovation in the moment is the work of the Holy Spirit…he moves on this heart, in this place, or in this congregation to affect this change…

WHAT ABOUT YOU?
Do you have trouble relating your faith to your creativity?
What role do you think your art plays in society?
Have you considered which themes of the Gospel are represented in your art?
Does Mr. Begbie’s perspectives on faith and art influence the way you see your art?