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On Christianity as performance art

Summary

Francis Spufford asks what theology has to do with art.

Summary

Francis Spufford asks what theology has to do with art.

Transcript

Art isn’t usually theological in the sense that it’s consciously reflecting and dealing with theological ideas, but I think it often is in the sense that it’s on a kind of parallel track to what theology deals with, that the more serious art is, the more it has to engage seriously with the same questions that theology is approaching. Life, and death, and what we are, and what we ought to be are the materials of both theology and art. 

Art handles the questions it’s asking concretely. It does it by making, it puts into painted form, or sculpted form, or into a pattern of words its best attempt to register where we are and who we are and the endlessly difficult question of who we ought to be. Christianity tries to turn the pattern into a pattern for living. You could see Christian living as a kind of performance art, with pratfalls because we always get it wrong, but we pick ourselves up and go on doing it.