By Tim Neuenschwander
For the Beauty of the Church brings together a collection of noted voices of art making (the craft of making art) and art makers (the people who create art) from religious settings, churches, and forums. There is something in this collection for everyone who is looking for ways to manifest arts in his or her religious venue. While some chapters held little interest for me, others were spot on and I gleaned much from the encouraging and thoughtful outline on the how to.
Taylor presents examples that reach from the beginning of time (how art intersected our forefather’s lives and worship) to the present (where art has been known to supersede worship for art’s sake and struggle for balance between the two). This can be seen in the relationship of the pastor to art and the lack of cohesion of the two in the corporate presentation of the Word. Thus, art can seem an unwanted appendage to the operation and guidance of worship.
Chapter 6 is worth the cost of the book as it gives practicality to successful coupling of art making with the spoken Word, which can be an oddity for many of our churches. The examples bring a point of realism for the novice and experience for the seasoned art makers, to help them think better how to incorporate art in their community of believers.
If you find art making a difficult craft to integrate into your worship setting, I am sure the ideas, examples, and philosophies in this book would help you on your journey.
Tim Neuenschwander serves as associate pastor with First Christian Church, Albuquerque, New Mexico.