A Creative Church: Critical Book Review By: Sara Bloor

The book starts out with some background information to set up the reader, which I found to be tremendously helpful in setting up the book. In 1874, a successful and talented man named John Heyl Vincent, took the initiative to start a summer camp. The camp was set up in Chautauqua, New York. The original goal for this camp was to train and teach Sunday school teachers to the best of their abilities to change the way they reach out to kids. Many courses were offered that covered many different spectrums of art.

Later in 1918, at Boston University, the Department of Fine Arts in Religious Education was established and drama was finally included in higher education. This was another huge step in the right direction of art expansion. The start of this department led many to believe that “the church must again become the mother of artists and the generous patron of arts” (Smith, 49). The program offered classes for those interested in music, poetry, art, and drama

I found a particular part of the book to be very interesting because I am actually familiar with one of the production sites noted, The Sight & Sound Theatre. In 1976, Glen Eshelman actually started the Sight & Sound Theatre in Pennsylvania which is the one that I have visited many times with my family for various shows. The stories really come alive, they’re spectacular. This theatre is reported to be the “largest faith-based live theatre in the country” which is a phenomenal honor.” Another Sight & Sound theatre is in Missouri (Smith, 52-53).

In W. D. O. Taylor’s book “For the Beauty of the Church,” I found this quote very relevant to the importance of art for us as Christians, “it is imperative, particularly for artists who call themselves Christian believers, to glorify God in their creative lives” (Taylor, 9). This quote just shows that those who believe in God need to use their talents for His glory. Art has always been an important part of religion and it needs to stay that way, Todd Smith does a tremendous job of explaining the many types of art and their importance.

Todd Smith goes through several different types of art in his book and he goes through and explains the importance of each type and the initial origin. He goes through many historical periods that are very noteworthy for art and are huge landmarks in the expansion of art in religion. Todd Smith shows his love for art and God in his book by how he makes sure everyone knows that he believes that they should stay connected and grow together and through the other. In his mind art and religion should be hand in hand. He makes it his mission to protect art in the church and encourage the continuance of expression of religion through the many types of art noted in his book.

Works Cited:

Schaeffer, Francis A., and Michael Card. Art and the Bible. InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, 2006; 2009;

Smith, Anthony Todd. Creative Church: The Arts and a Century of Renewal. Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt, 2015. Print.

Taylor, W. D. O. For the Beauty of the Church: Casting a Vision for the Arts. Baker Books, Grand Rapids, 2010.

Methodist Church, Flickr. Personal photograph by author. 2010.

Gigathlon tent stock Church, Pixabay. Personal photograph by author. 2015.

Harvard, Flickr. Personal photograph by author. 2010.

Stage curtain curtain stage, Pixabay. Personal photograph by author. 2015.

Cross church faith, Pixabay. Personal photograph by author. 2017.

Stained Glass Window, Pixabay. Personal photograph by author. 2016.


Created with images by < J > - "Methodist Church" • adege - "gigathlon tent stock" • CarlosPacheco - "Harvard" • Nachrichten_muc - "stage curtain curtain stage" • MichaelGaida - "cross church faith" • rottonara - "stained glass window painting church"

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