Arts & Entertainment Ministries (AEM) equips and educates artists, creative professionals, churches and educators to embrace the gospel and become agents of redemption for the arts, the culture and the world.
The Vision Expanded:
One of the greatest needs within the Christian community today is clear thinking about how the Bible relates to mainstream culture, entertainment and the arts. Typically people compartmentalize their faith. People understand their faith means they ought to go to church and read their Bible, but fail to see how their faith informs their career and their vocational pursuits. This compartmentalization is particularly evident when it comes to the issue of Christians working within mainstream media, art and entertainment. The Bible does not prescribe such a separation. The Bible presents a world in which God is sovereign and gifts us to live as agents of redemption within that world. His world is not split into compartments, but created as a beautiful whole.
The modernist approach and it’s two typical responses to culture:
On one hand, conservative Christians have seen culture as the enemy and at times vilified the artists shaping culture. On the other hand, liberal Christians have embraced the culture but compromised their faith in order to do so. Both of these options fail to be redemptive, biblical or transformational in their approach to the culture. Conservative Christians pursued purity while abandoning the culture. Liberal Christians pursued relevance while abandoning the core of the gospel. Artists and creative professionals alike see these dynamics and conclude the conservative church is irrelevant because it is disconnected from the realities of life and the liberal church is irrelevant because it is merely a social club.
A biblical approach:
The good news is there is a third approach which is the core philosophy of AEM. This approach recognizes God’s heart for redeeming not only individuals but also entire communities, cities and cultures. This authentic Christianity does not compel us to create our own subculture, rather it inspires us to engage our world and work for the good of the city and culture in which we live. It empowers us to stand firm in our faith and our worldview while we love and have grace for people who think and act differently than we do. It inspires us to create art which echoes the hope, justice and love of God while wrestling with the sins and fragility of our own humanity. Christians who live this way possess a hope which beckons them to become a redemptive force in the world around them.
In short, our commitment to Christ does not take us away from the culture around us. It equips us to be a redemptive force within it.
As Gene Edward Veith says in his book State of the Arts, “That the arts can be corrupt does not mean that Christians should abandon them. On the contrary, the corruption of the arts means that Christians dare not abandon them any longer.”
AEM ministers directly to artists in the mainstream culture, and provides solid teaching around the world regarding the relationship between the Bible and the arts so Christ might be glorified through men and women working with integrity in the mainstream art world, media and entertainment industries. We believe that God's desire is for Christians "to be in the world, but not of it." As such, we are called to engage the culture in which God has placed us instead of 1) retreating into a Christian ghetto or 2) living in the mainstream culture without discernment or distinctiveness.
By making our materials available, AEM hopes to encourage Christians to be inspired by God's word and encouraged by God's character as a redeemer of cultures so they will be agents of redemption in the culture where God has sovereignly placed them. To this end, AEM produces and provides the following resources:
Lectures and Presentations
For the last 8 years. we have been equipping artists in the cultural centers of New York and Los Angeles. These lectures are not theoretical but the fruit of years of ongoing dialogue with veteran and emerging artists working in the mainstream. All of these studies and lectures simultaneously examine the context of scripture and the context of the culture in which we live. These presentations address issues relevant in every discipline from dance and photography, to journalism and music, as well as film and television. Some of these bible studies and lectures are based on the popular series Joel and Michelle Pelsue have taught at churches, arts groups and colleges across the United States.
Mainstream Artist Showcase
Our annual artist’s showcase is called "An Evening of Art & Entertainment" which provides an opportunity for artists to exhibit artwork which is intended for a mainstream audience while being consistent with a Christian Worldview. Christian and non-Christian attendees alike continue to be amazed by the quality of art, and the profound faith of those involved. After 4 years this event has grown to become an international show which has included an academy award winner, visual artists whose work has been seen at the Getty and the Kennedy Center, as well as international visual artists from Scotland and Morocco. We have had award winning bands and solo artists, award winning short films, and stunning performances by emerging and veteran musicians. This event has quickly become an event not to miss for Christians wanting to be in the mainstream culture without compromising their faith. Many artists have benefited from the event by selling their artwork, their music and by networking for future collaborative projects. Artists have also receive requests for commissioned artwork by serious patrons of the arts. It serves as a great opportunity not only for showcasing art, but for networking with like minded individuals.
The Mentor Program at AEM pairs new, aspiring artists with veterans in their field. Mentors advise mentees on issues related to their craft, practical living, and dynamics of a healthy spiritual life. AEM also created a "Spouse Mentor Program" which is designed to encourage the spouses as they also face the unique challenges of being married to someone who is creative and whose calling requires them to live in an environment which is often hostile to their faith. This program has been fully booked almost from it's inception and continues to have a significant waiting list of mentees.
AEM Podcasts will consist of two types. The first will be Roundtable Discussions and will present artists speaking about the challenges they face as they seek to serve Christ while making a living and creating art in the mainstream culture. The second type will be Artist Forums and will contain a brief presentation followed by a live discussion with emerging and veteran artists.
Real Answers for Real Artists
In this new series of webisodes, AEM will be answering the tough questions asked by professional: Visual artists, Performing artists, Filmmakers, Writers, Designers, Producers, Creative Professionals...... basically from YOU!Send us the burning questions you have about living, working and creating as a Christian in the mainstream. Each month the questions and answers will be posted via video on this page of the AEM website. These video 'webisodes' are a strategic medium for answering that questions regarding arts, entertainment and culture.
Engaging the culture effectively requires clear thinking and practical application. Articles presented here equip Christians to think clearly about the issues of faith and culture. Particular areas of focus are those on cultural renewal, renewal of arts within the church, the role of art within the culture, and the challenge of living for God in a secular world. Articles presented here are either written by friends and colleagues within AEM, or are links to professors, pastors, and artists around the world who have complimentary views on these issues. To recommend articles for posting here, please E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
The following links are provided as additional resources on issues related to art, faith, culture, spiritual growth, cultural renewal, Hollywood resources and more. This is a small listing currently. This page will grow quickly in 2008, so keep checking back! To recommend a link, please E-mail us at this address: email@example.com
Copyright © 2007 Joel & Michelle Pelsue