YouTube: "art in the church" in Austin, TX

My good friend Taylor Martyn walked around the streets of Austin during South by Southwest asking people what they thought about art, church, religion, and other stuff. Very interesting responses. I love that man-on-the-street stuff.
The short version is: here.
The longer, more interesting version is: here.
Many thanks for getting this together, Mister Taylor.
Yesterday was St. Patrick's Day. Phaedra and I completely, utterly forgot about it until we walked into Hyde Park Gym and muy suave, Jason-with-the-cool-yellow-jeep, reminded us. Then we felt like idiots because we realized one year ago, March 17, 2007, we got engaged at the old medieval masquerade party. Oh man. We were two tired punks.
We're adding an evening rate for the Transforming Culture sympo-ference. It's $25 bucks.
Very exciting, encouraging discovery: that we have, thus far, 51 churches from around Austin sending at least one person to the symposium. That thrills my heart. And it ranges from high Catholic to fervent Pentecostal to Lutheran to emergent to Baptist to Anglican to house church to five-point Presbyterian.
My totally rad gardner-wife built a compost pile heap-of-a-structure in the back yard. That was cool to come home to yesterday.
Went to see STEP UP 2 THE STREETS last night. Oh man, we totally missed our callings. We were so born in the wrong hood; way too tighty whitey. We left the theater thinking: "Baby, we are destined to hip-hop dance." The dancing was so awesome we couldn't stand it.
Today was a beast of a day, by the way, getting the program booklet to the printers. Hoochimama, I had emails rushing in like a viral Resident Evil sequel.
My little sister Stephanie is days, if not seconds, away from giving birth to her second boy child. She is a beautiful-looking woman. She came by yesterday with boy #1, William Speight. Sir William Speight, whom we affectionately call "dooties," is 1.5 years old. I gave him a stick and taught him how to beat the earth as hard as he could. We also demonstrated to the ladies the evolution of field hockey. That's me and Sir William Speight in the picture above. It's his younger days.
Hung out with the Wedgwood Circle guys last week. Met some neat people. Filmmaker David Cunningham (son of Loren Cunningham, founder of YWAM) who helmed "To End All Wars" and "The Seeker" and who is one grounded, right-on, humble dude. Also Josh Jackson, editor of PASTE magazine. Erwin McManus, the lead pastor at Mosaic, LA. The right-hand honcho to Philip Anschutz, all-around magnate and lord of Walden Media. Charlie Peacock, whom we had as guest artist at the 2003 HopeArts Festival. Santino from the NOOMA videos. Bobby Bailey from the "Invisible Children" project. And my old mate, the Great Gatsby himself, all-round rabble rouser Gordon Pennington.
I also talked with the folks from Culture House in Kansas City. That was good because Phaedra and I are headed in the direction of a similar arts center for Austin.
One of these days Phaedra and I are going to get around to blogging about our honeymoon. She turned to me the other day and said, "David, do you know what this symposium is?" I said, "What?" She said, "You're planning another wedding." She's dog right.
From a sopping wet, weird weather Austin, Texas, this is Drillbit Taylor.


bruce herman said…
David - I don't have an email for you, so I've visited your blog to leave you a message. We met at a CIVA gathering at Messiah College a while back. I wanted to let you know that I am praying for you and the "Transforming Culture" conference -- and wanted also to remind you of a snippet of conversation we had. You had asked me what I'd say to a group of pastors gathered to discuss the possibilities for the arts in ministry -- relative to "transforming" culture -- and I said, "Let's dispense with the language of "transforming" and let's simply be faithful servants of the culture. Imagine Christians taking a less powerful stance -- not so much being agents of transformation as servants and good listeners to the culture. Perhaps then we will be able to know better what our lost neighbors really need. I am personally leery of all the high-sounding rhetoric of transformation, and prefer to let posterity decide if indeed we really did transform the current day culture with our love and service and faithfulness. Blessings to you and the group meeting in a couple weeks. Shalom, Bruce Herman
Hey Bruce, thanks for taking the time to write. Good thoughts. At one level I agree with you wholeheartedly. After all the hoopla of a conference or rally or street protest or evangelistic campaign, we all do the same thing: go back home.

Once home, we get on with the quiet business of living holy lives in ordinary and sometimes extraodinary circumstances. You're right: listening, loving, serving, faithfulness are all central to obedience to Christ. Few of us have mastered that art.

At another level I see the issue as one of language and culturation. What may sound like "high-sounding rhetoric" to you, sounds in my ear as something very "normal," very "at-home" bible language: "Christ will transform our lowly bodies to be like his glorious body" (Phil 3:21), "that we be transformed by the renewing of our mind" (Rom 12:2), "we are being transformed into his likeness" (2Cor 3:18).

For me to use the language of transformation, not just in regard to individuals but to entire communities and cultures, which I assume Christ is also interested in redeeming, is to use the unfancy, down-to-earth but still radical language of St. Paul, not of the latest, greatest, wow-inducing "techniques"--which, to be truthful, tire me out.

If people use the language of transformation with blaring, obnoxious trumpets, that's their business. But it's not mine.

My assumption is this: All individual and corporate culture is formed by this or that force. One of the businesses that Christians are to be on about is submitting themselves to the transforming work of the Holy Spirit to reshape us into the image of Christ. That's not our only business. We're also to be on about the business of making culture. Cue: Andy Crouch. But it is no less our business of participating in God's work of trans-formation.

But I hear what you're saying and I take it prayerfully to heart. Trust me, I pray about every corrective suggestion that comes across my path. I'd be an idiot not to.

I receive your prayers gratefully. Do pray for us. We need loads of it.

And I look forward to seeing your work in the art exhibit that will hang concomitant to the symposium.
Wyrtzens said…
The first Wyrtzen son sent me this link. I'm the third Wyrtzen son (though you probably don't even know me), if you've got time, here's a bit of mindlessness,

We're currently making Austin our abode...maybe we'll cross paths.

Man, your beard grows fast!

Bruce Herman is an awesome artist of integrity and is most certainly part of the transformation of the culture.

These exchanges encourage me even if I don't understand the entire debate.
Sarah said…
I wish so badly that I could attend the Transforming Culture symposium. It is so all about what I am all about! Hopefully, the turnout will be good and the next symposium can be in Washington, DC. That way I'll be sure to go!

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