Book Review a Creative Church by: Todd Smith

A Creative Church is by Todd Smith. His book is about the history of the different genres of art in the church. Todd talks about different art genres and their progression from the twentieth and twenty-first century in the church. A Creative Church is effective to give an appreciation of the arts because it talks through each form of art, its history, and its importance.

There are many positives about the book that greatly outweigh the negatives. The first positive was that the book was written from more of a Christian perspective. Barbra Bolt, author of the book Art Beyond Representation, states “I would like to argue that artists in the modern age are so focused on creating and marketing artwork that they forget they are co-responsible (along with other contributors) for letting art come forth into being,” and she later goes on to say, “in the world of art business it is easy to become caught up in an enframing mode of revealing” p.(85). She wanted her readers to comprehend what modern day art is becoming and how it is losing its special touch of enjoying the creation and creating it.

Todd Smith’s different forms of art talked about in the book were familiar and did not need to be explained in too much detail making the book content relatable. For Todd’s readers who grew up in the church, many of the forms of art were given a new perspective in his book creating a new level of appreciation and love due to hearing about their histories and improvements over time. Todd also focused on the importance of education and theology as being an art, and the importance of the arts through people’s worldviews and ways of thinking. His writing style was easy to read and understand as well as descriptive enough to paint pictures in the heads of his readers.

Todd makes the content of his book unique through his passion of the arts making his readers want to appreciate what he loves. The book is well thought out making sure to highlight what is necessary for his readers to have an appreciation for the same thing that he does. The book included history making learning about the arts more interesting and understandable. This allows for the readers to make personal connections with the different genres of art and have more of an appreciation for it as well. Todd’s idea of writing a book that explains what the church’s art genres were and how they progressed over time created a book that allows his readers to see the progress that has been happening through the years and how it continues to get better. Todd was able to connect music with religion making the view of the reader change their way of how to view art. Graham Howes, author of The Art of the Sacred, says that “the field of art and religion is fast becoming one of the most dynamic areas of religious studies.”

The negatives about the book are more about the structure and layout. The book was so simple that the reading was almost mind-numbing even though the word pictures and content was extremely descriptive. The pictures in the book, while helping to show the readers a more detailed image, caused the readers to do less research on their own. The book covered so many topics in just under a couple hundred pages making it hard to track what the author was trying to communicate and making the reader almost overwhelmed while trying to appreciate the arts. The book is overly categorized and segmented. Todd did not create a smooth and nice flowing book that can be read without interruptions of thought. Nine different forms of art were covered but inconsistently because he would spend more times on some topics then on others disrupting the flow of the book as a whole. He also did not have great transitions causing the book to feel like the thought was unfinished.

The book, A Creative Church, was a great book to read overall due to the amount of information making the arts appreciable in the twenty-first century. The positives greatly outweigh the negatives making this a great book to read. Todd was able to create a book that is great for many ages that will not only educate but also allow for an appreciative attitude towards how far our arts genres have come in the last century especially in the church. This book was an easy read and full of information that the readers could digest and new information that they may have not heard of. The book was from a Christian worldview making the view of art more intriguing and special to the reader by causing the art to have a deeper value and meaning. The book was overall a good book to read.


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