By Cameron J. Anderson
“I need your help,” posted friend Andrew Nemr–an exceptional New York based tap dancer. “Everyone is talking about love these days, but very few people are talking about what it means.” He continued with this question: “How would you define love in a single word?”
Almost reflexively, I keyed HOSPITALITY.
Hospitality is the antidote to most of what ails humankind. Think about it. Accounts of radical hospitality abound in the biblical story . . . like in Genesis 18:1-8, where Abraham welcomes three strangers to his tent and serves them a feast. Or in Luke 15, where we meet a wayward son who, having squandered his inheritance, returns home to his father’s prodigally gracious welcome and, again, a festal celebration ensues. If Andrei Rublev’s fifteenth-century icon Holy Trinity has added to the renown of the Trinitarian visit, then of course Rembrandt’s seventeenth-century painting of the despondent son, has illumined the latter.
In our weekly blog, the pages of SEEN Journal, and at our conferences and events, we aspire to host the conversation about faith and art, to showcase our members and their work, and to engage the culture around us by being present in it . . . graciously, generously, hospitably.
It is encouraging to see growing numbers of churches and other Christian communities offer pride of place to art and artists. But perhaps our greatest hope is for a day when deep, life-giving conversation about the visual arts begins to occur between communities of faith and those not given to religious belief. It is time for hospitality to take down the walls of hostility. This is CIVA’s vision going forward.
In the closing month of what has been a full and very promising year, please consider a generous donation to CIVA. In return, we will continue to extend hospitality that is rooted in the visual arts and marked by Christian faith.
Cameron J. Anderson is the Executive Director of CIVA and the author of The Faithful Artist: A Vision for Evangelicalism and the Arts.