Culture and Community
The area of Fine Arts and its intersection with homeschooling can strike fear into the hearts of parents. Often the Fine Arts represent that which we call “culture” and we are not quite sure how to deal with this topic. Theologian H. Richard Niebuhr, in his book Christ and Culture, discusses five basic ways we as Christians relate to culture. We are either against culture, of culture, above culture, in tension with culture, or transformers of culture. Without going into detail on each of these positions I will place myself firmly in the last camp of transforming (or creating) culture and urge all believers to do the same.
Since the creation of culture is often about pursuing truth and beauty we as Christians should see the immediate advantage that our world view brings to the table. After all, if we believe that “all truth is God’s truth” as was postulated by Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, and Calvin, then we are simply forth-telling what we believe. Non-believers do not have that point of reference as a place to start. Along with the truth that has been entrusted to us comes the responsibility to present that truth in the most compelling way possible to the rest of the world.
Culture does not happen in a bubble, but rather in the context of relationships with others, or in community. Intentional community formed around areas of the Arts are wonderful ways to transform our often disturbing culture into something once again beautiful and uplifting. Take piano lessons, join a theatre group, sing in a choir, play in an orchestra, perform in a 50’s cover band (!). Dance, write, play, perform, create! One sure way to keep the darkness from taking over our world is to shine our light brighter than ever.
One opportunity for those in the Cincinnati area is to join the Greater Cincinnati Community Choirs. This Fall my wife and I are offering three choirs to all that are interested in community and culture. The three choirs are Intervals, for those in fourth through seventh grades; Dynamics, for those in eighth through twelfth grades; and Tonality for adults. We will be performing new music written by local writers in a modern classical style. Our goal is to glorify God as a community of believers with our music. We intend to be excellent in our pursuits and intentional in our purposes. For more information you can visit our website at gccchoirs.com. Our season begins September 22nd and registration is open now.
Whether you come and sing with us, study an instrument, attend a concert, write a poem, or dance a ballet I encourage you to transform our current culture into that which is beautiful and full of truth for the sake of Christ.
Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders , making the most of the opportunity (Colossians 4:5 NASB).
James Kenniv is a composer, arranger, musician, and singer. He and his wife Kristen live in Lebanon, OH where they homeschool their seven children. In addition to leading the Greater Cincinnati Community Choirs, James teaches private music lessons at his home studio on piano, percussion, theory/composition and audio recording. You can contact him at email@example.com.