Worship and the Arts: a Summer School course at Regent College

I'm excited to be teaching a summer school course at Regent College this coming summer. It'll be a one-week intensive in which we investigate together ways in which the different media of art shape a congregation in public worship. If you wish to take the course, you can go here for more information. Registration is officially open here.

With the ocean to the west, the mountains to the north, a richly multi-cultural city to the east, and the good ol' U. S. of A to the south, Vancouver, British Columbia, will be a wonderful place in which to explore the meanings of worship, the meanings of the arts, and how the different arts "mean" in their own unique ways. In the end I hope to persuade students that the arts can serve the various purposes and activities of corporate worship, whatever they may be in a given context, with their own powers and logics, but not (preferably) on their own terms.

I've included bits of the course syllabus below, so please feel free to pass this along to anybody who might be interested in joining in.

Finally, the above banner is a hint of the book I have coming out with Eerdmans this summer: The Theater of God's Glory: Calvin, Creation and the Liturgical Arts.

Course Title:
Worship and the Arts

July 31 – August 4; 1:30 – 4:30 pm

Course Description:
The arts have been central to Christian worship from the start of the church's common life. Join us as we discover how different artistic media open up and close down possibilities for the formation of a given congregation in corporate worship. Through lectures, class discussions, and conversations with practicing artists, learn how you can bring theologically vibrant engagement with the arts to your worshipping community. Learning Objectives

At the successful completion of this course, students should be able to: 
1. Articulate a greater understanding of the biblical, historical, theological and contextual perspectives of art in corporate worship.
2. Appreciate the “singular” and formative powers of the different media of art in corporate worship.
3. Discover ways to think more deeply about their respective practices of art in corporate worship.


Day 1 July 31
Theme: The meanings of corporate worship
Theme: The meanings of the arts

Day 2 August 1
Theme: Theological and Contextual Perspectives
Theme: The Sonic Arts

Day 3 August 2
Theme: The Plastic Arts (2D, 3D and video art)

Day 4 August 3
Theme: The Literary & Oratorical Arts (words and speech)
Theme: The Kinetic Arts (drama and dance)

Day 5 August 4
Theme: The Formation of Liturgical Artists
Theme: The Missional Implications of the Liturgical Arts

Required Texts

1. Begbie, Jeremy S. Resounding Truth: Christian Wisdom in the World of Music.
2. Cherry, Constance M. The Worship Architect: A Blueprint for Designing Culturally Relevant and Biblically Faithful Services.
3. Crowley, Eileen. Liturgical Art for a Media Culture (ch. 3)
4. Dyrness, William. Visual Faith: Art, Theology and Worship in Dialogue.
5. Gagne, Robert et al. Introducing Dance in Christian Worship (Part II: ch. 2)
6. Guite, Malcolm. Faith, Hope and Poetry (pp. 16-30).
7. Guthrie, Steven. “Temples of the Spirit: Worship as Embodied Performance,” in Faithful Performances + Guthrie, “The Wisdom of Song,” in Resonant Witness.
8. Johnson, Todd and Dale Savidge. Performing the Sacred (ch. 1)
9. Rumsey, Andrew “Incarnation through Poetry,” in Begbie, ed., Beholding the Glory (ch. 3)
10. Taylor, W. David O., ed., For the Beauty of the Church: Casting a Vision for the Arts.
11. Taylor, W. David O. The Theater of God’s Glory (ch. 5)
12. Torgerson, Mark. An Architecture of Immanence (ch. 9)
13. Torrance, James B. Worship, Community and the Triune God of Grace.
14. Wolterstorff, Nicholas. “Thinking about Church Music,” in Hearing the Call.
15. Wolterstorff, Art in Action (Part One): “Artistically Man Acts”
16. Walker, Jeanne Murray. “On Poets and Poetry,” in The Christian Imagination.


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