I've begun work on my book proposal for Baker and I realize that one of the best things I can do at this early stage is to open myself up to the generous and honest critique of others. If my desire is to serve the church, then I must allow the church to speak into this process at all stages. I presume too much, and to my own great loss, to believe that I've understood the matter sufficiently. One never in fact understands anything sufficiently, we are always "on the way," as Mark would put it in his gospel. But my part is to always aim at clarity and cogency. My work is to make the argument coherent. But it is only with the help of others that I will be able to see what I cannot alone see--where it is fuzzy, where it is scattered and ungrounded.
To that end I'd like to drop each of my outlines here and ask for input. In this case:
What biblical questions do you feel would be most important to address in the matter of the arts?
For the record, the three centers around which I want to wind my argument are "What is art?", "What does it mean to be an artist?" and "What is the place of the arts in the church?" The six frameworks through which these questions will be passed are 1) biblical, 2) theological, 3) philosophical, 4) spiritual, 5) ecclesial, and 6) missional. The goal is that by the end of the book artists will better understand their identity and their place in the world and church leaders will understand more clearly both how to love artists and how to incorporate well the arts into the life of the church.
One final note. It will be helpful to remember that this outline is the barest skeleton of what might end up being 20-30 pages of material. Also, the chapter cannot pretend to present a comprehensive treatment of the biblical question. It must however address the fundamental issues in such a way that the reader experiences an integrating effect upon his or her internal world.
A Biblical Basis for the Arts: Jesus the Word & Icon of God
1. What kind of book is the Bible?
a. It is a religious book (not an aesthetics book)
b. It is a literary book (hermeneutics)
c. It is a carefully arranged book (biblical theology)
d. It is a wondrous book (doxology)
e. It is a book of dialectical relations (paradox and mystery)
2. Two aims
B. Genesis 1 and 2: creative acts, creative words
1. Comments on Genesis 1 and 2: words and ideas, truth and meaning
2. Gen. 1-2 as foundational text for the arts
C. The Temple as Biblical motif
1. Bezalel and the tabernacle (Exod. 31:1-11; 35:30-36:7)
2. Solomon and the temple (1 Kings 5-8)
3. Ezekiel and the vision of a temple (Ezek. 40 – 43:11)
4. St. John and the new temple (Rev. 21-22)
D. The Psalter: Israel’s hymn book
E. Jesus the Word and Icon of God
1. The idea of the Logos
2. The person of the Logos
3. The idea of the Icon
4. The person of the Icon
F. Jesus the story-teller and metaphor-user
1. Jesus’ stories
3. Jesus’ metaphors
G. In the end
1. The poetic vision of St. John
2. The Christian and the imagination
3. Concluding thoughts