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Why Pastors Need Artists - and Vice Versa


Form : Content :: Body : Soul

When we think of preaching, art, public speaking, music, writing - all of these are forms into which we pour content. These are bodies which we make from dust, paint, and sound, and into them we breathe a soul. The content/soul is both specific (making a certain point) and general (born out of worldview). The form/body is varyingly appropriate to conveying specific or general content, so the content and and form must be tailored to and for each other.

Pastors are uniquely focused on content, and artists uniquely focused on form. The most impactful pastors and artists are those who have recognized the essential unity that must exist between the form and its content, body and soul, and seek to marry the two in their sermons or artwork. As a human being is a unity of body and soul, so the Gospel goes forth in unity of form and content. We need to learn from one another if we are to be effective emissaries of the Gospel.

You cannot put new wine into old wineskins. The form is just as important as the content if what we want to communicate is to actually be communicated. Wine with no wineskin cannot be carried and shared. A soul without a body is still dead. Do you preach truth beautifully?

In the same way, you can’t drink from a wineskin that contains no wine. The content is just as important as the form in which it lives. A wineskin without wine is no good. A beautiful body without a soul is still dead. Does what you've made interpret the world after God?

So we cannot neglect the beauty and aptness of the form (the body), the essentiality of the content (soul), and the unity of form and content (body and soul). I have seen many pastors neglect the form, and many artists neglect the content. Neglecting either leads to impoverishing our audience and our message.


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