Balladeers: Colin Harbinson @ the intersection of Worldview, Mission, and the Arts
2:13PM Apr 27, 2023
Jenny Jee-El Park
been cool things that God has been doing as a result of call for Balladeers, pursuing art and beauty for the discipling of nations. All of us who are on the call recognize the incredible importance of Christian artists and those who know and see the importance of worldview for cultural change. And so that's the reason that we're gathering together. And I just want to open us up and prayer. And then we will turn things over to Darrow. And to Colin, to get us started, I have I have visions in the future, to be able to break out do little breakout groups for just a couple of minutes. So we can get to chat with one another a little bit more. But please do take the time to maybe if you want to change your name, that's an easy way to add in a location. And if you have a passion for a certain type of art, we would love to see that and get to know that we also have growing Christian creative community, which is a social media style platform where you can identify people along with their location, and the different type of art so that you can get connected with other valid years who have a passion about biblical worldview. Let's open up in prayer. And we'll turn it over to Darrow. And Colin, a warm welcome from all of us. Just take a quick moment of silence as we get started in prayer. Gracious God, we are humbled by your work and by your presence in our lives, God that you would patiently seek to transform our minds and our hearts, so that we would live in ways that would glorify You, and also lead to the flourishing of our communities and nations. God, thank you for the incredible anointing that you have given to artists and the influence that they have got in the way that they can penetrate cultures and nations with biblical messages. God, I just pray that You would bless Colin and Darrow bless their speech, and encourage us through this time. Together. We pray all these things in the name of Jesus. Amen. Amen. And if you would, when you're not talking, if you would just mute yourself, that would be perfect. And we are going to have a time for question and answers. But there's no need to wait. If you have a question, feel free to drop it into the chat directly to me, or to the whole group would be even better. And we will monitor those. And at the end, if you have a question, it's even better if you want to raise your hand and announce that question to to Colin and Darrow directly, that would be fantastic. So at this time, I'm going to highlight Darrow and Colin, and we will turn it over to you all.
Well, let me say how wonderful it is to see both so many of you that have been involved before and those who are new. And it's exciting to see this community slowly growing. I want to do a quick commercial, those of you that have read the call for Balladeers, I'd encourage you to go to Amazon and write a review. That will help get more people interested in the book and we'd greatly appreciate it. Let me introduce Colin, and then he'll share a little bit about his background and his the art what is that?
Can you hear me? We can hear you? We just needed to do a little muting. We're we're back.
Okay, I think Colin and I met at a YWAM arts conference in Hollywood. I don't know how many years ago. But we've sort of tracked each other we've written about each other and have learned from each other. I've said for years Fallens life has been lived out at the intersection of the arts, missions, and worldview. And that's very exciting because this this is a man who in his blood is a balladeer, Colin founded early on you while and founded the dance company, Lord of the Dance, which sounds very interesting. He was the director of the Academy of Performing Arts, the International dean of Performing Arts at YWAM, which is where I had contact with him. The founder and president of internal Festival of Arts, and pioneered arts in Russia, and China and a number of other places, but using the arts to share the kingdom of God in places that were normally closed. And most recently, he was the dean of Fine Arts at Belhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi. His passion is for reforming culture, and recovering imagination in the church. So the church can fulfill her life and mission. So Colin, let me turn it over to you share a little bit about your background, your calling to the arts. And we'll see where we go from there.
Great, thank you so much Darrow. And it's wonderful to be here with each one of you. I have been married to my wife, Maureen, for 55 years. And we have two sons, and four granddaughters. That's interesting. Two sons who produced four granddaughters. Yes, and I was born in London, England. I won't tell you how many years ago, but this is my 77th year. And I was when I was very young, nine years of age. My mother died. And three months later, my father left home and went to live in Canada. So within a three month period, as a young boy of nine, I lost my mother and my father. And my mother's sister, who was a nurse, who had nursed her during her Gears of sickness, then took my sister and I into their home, and brought us up. And I'm forever grateful for that. But this new family that I gained, were very fundamentalist, conservative. And there was no place in their lives, our lives for the arts. And just to give you a little example, how anti the arts they were, which is all the more extraordinary, because what God has led me into over the last 50 something years, I, I was asked by worship magazine to do an article on the arts and worship. And it was beautiful. They illustrated it beautifully. And I said to my wife, I'm going to send this to me know, my new family. And she said, Colin, don't do that. I said, No, it's a reputable magazine. And, you know, she'll know what I'm doing and thinking, Well, I didn't hear from it was actually my aunt who was the one and didn't hear for her for some some time. And then one day I called her and she said, you probably wondered why I haven't been in touch with you. And I said, Yes, I have. She said, Well, let me tell you. The magazine arrived. And she said, All I can say is it is a sad day for our family. So I was never able, with all the work I was doing in the arts around the world and seeing Odd move, I was never able to talk to her about the arts. So at 19 years of age, I was on my way to university. And I decided to be really rebellious. And I decided to watch a movie in a cinema. And the movie was What's New Pussycat. It wasn't about as bad as it sounds, it was, I can still hear Tom Jones singing What's New Pussycat. And, you know, I hated every minute of it. Because all I could think was, What if Jesus came back and found me in this cinema. I'd heard that all my life growing up. I wasn't sure what would have happened. But I was sure it wasn't going to be good. But that's the first time I saw a movie at 19 years of age. And so I ended up arriving at university. And I met another Christian. There who told me that he had a Christian rock band. I said, interesting. And he said, I've got a real problem. He said, I've got a gig coming up this weekend. And my drummer is sick, and he can't be involved. Have you ever played the drums? And I just laughed. No. He said, Would you be willing to try? And for some reason, I said, Yes, I would. And so the next three days, we spent rehearsing with the band for the concert that weekend. And that weekend, I found myself in the first rock concert, playing the drums. And so you know, I had never had an opportunity to develop any of the creativity that God had placed in my life. But now I was beginning to find that I had creative gifts. And then the next thing at the university was I was told, I had to do dance classes. So to prepare for my teaching career. And you know, dance was a dirty word in my family. And so I got into the gym. And the instructor said, to us, mostly women, I was, I think, the only man in the class, I'm going to put on some music. And when you hear the music start, I want you to imagine that you are a flower. And as the music starts to die, you are going to close your petals, and you're going to go to sleep. And my thought was get me out of here. This was as far away as I could have ever gone. And as Darrow said, over a decade later, I had my own dance company. And we toured England with these dancers. And I have had since that day of those dance classes. I have had a love and a passion for dance. So one of the things that I created out of my love of dance was toymaker and some I was the deputy headmaster of an English school at the time. And I was already knowing that God was calling us into YWAM and And I wanted to leave the kids, not a Christian school. But I wanted to leave these kids with something that would speak their language and represent the gospel. And I couldn't figure out what on earth that was. And then, you know, a month or so before, I would have had to have done this. I got up. Actually, I just woke up in the morning. And I had this vision. And it was an ancient town, cobblestone streets, and as I looked in my mind's eye, I saw sign swaying gently in the breeze, and the sign said, toymaker, and some,
and that was it.
I rushed downstairs and grabbed my Pink Floyd and my other albums that I used for teaching dance. And within an hour, I got it. The toymaker was God, and toymaker and son, the son was Jesus. And toys were people and the world was Thailand. And so that's how it was born. And I joined Youth With A Mission to do their discipleship program. But of course, I didn't think I needed any discipleship, how wrong. I was. And we went to an outreach in Venice, Venice, Italy, and all the missionaries and training there 300 And something of them. The leaders said, We want you to do toymaker and son, I said you have got to be joking. No one is gonna sit around listening to anything that's, you know, 50 something minutes long. But they said, we really want you to do this. And so then we performed with this group, to this group of missionaries and training
and into the
performance. Everybody was crying. And I'm thinking, surely it's not that bad. But they were weeping. And so afterwards, I went up to them and said, What is the problem? Why are you crying? They said, We know the gospel story. But when we saw it acted out reenacted here, when we saw the love the toymaker for the toys. We couldn't help. But we because we saw the gospel in a new, fresh way. And so the next thing I was asked to do to take this group out to some Marco Piazza, in the center of Venice, and again, I I knew no one would stop. But before we had started the performance, there were at least 300 people that had gathered to watch what we were doing. And as the show went on, I looked and I saw there again, people were weeping, and others at times were laughing. They were drawn into this and were responding. And in an amazing way. So toymaker and sun went on after that performance to be performed in 70 plus different nations. And we stopped doing the performance after 30 years. And a couple of years ago, I had a heart attack and nearly died. My heart was severely damaged and I'm at the point I thought I was going to die. And everybody else did, too. I had a picture from the Lord. And it was I regret that I had. And the regret was that I had not written my story of missions around the world. But the other thing was that I had not written a book on toymaker and son for a new generation. And so I got out of the hospital, I was alive. I got a laptop, the one I'm using right now. And I began to write the book. And it's, it was amazing to do that, and just recently, actually due to Darrow, I sent he got a copy of the book in English. And he told me about a young lady Viviana, who headed up the Spanish department of YWAM publishing. And he said, I think you need to send her a book. And I did. And she got back to me. And she said, we would love to do this book in Spanish. But there's a problem. The illustrations for your English book are not appropriate for the age group. They're too sophisticated for these children. And so we would need you to do the illustrations again. I said, Oh, my goodness, after all of that work, but you know, as always, I spent time with the Lord. And he just put my heart at peace. And that, I guess it's maybe three months ago now. I signed a contract for the Spanish version of toymaker and son, and I'm actually using an illustrator from Bogota, Colombia. And she has done a fantastic job of the illustrations. So just a little bit about the background of toymaker and some
well in Viviana she is a dynamo. And she works with the church in South America. But she also works with public schools, universities. And she will drive this book. Yeah. All over the continent.
Yeah. She and why when publishing have told me that they're going to distribute the Spanish version into schools in every Spanish speaking country of the world. And I'm so excited about that will look just moving on. And a little bit different way.
That Colin, I want to make sure you share something about you're recovering the imagination within the church. So the church understands imagination and the role of the church in the arts.
Yeah. Do you want me to do that right now? Well, that.
I'd like you to do it at some point. Yeah.
Well, let me let me continue. And then if I don't get to it, remind me again, please. I will read I'd love to address that. Okay, in the early 18 1980s, I trained a team of toymaker and son to go to Columbia. And when they arrived, they discovered they had been booked to go into a notorious prison. And after the performance, the host the Colombian host, said how many of you here would like to follow Jesus? And 800 prisons put up their hands to say yes. And he said to the others with him, No, this isn't right. They can't have understood. And so he then talked about the cost of discipleship what it meant the cost of following Jesus. And when he thought he made sure they understood that, he asked again, and this time, the same 800 prisoners responded, along with the guards.
some of our leaders were back in Colombia. months, months later, maybe six to eight months later. And the Christian leaders said, since the performance in the prison, it has been known by the nickname of the Bible school. So this notorious prison was so transformed, and that people refer to it as the as the Bible school.
I love that.
And all right.
Colin, I just want to highlight a few things that I just just heard you say there, you know, I mean, you got so he, you wrote you wrote this toymaker inside. I mean, he felt like God gave you this story. And it's been performed in like 70 countries, and one of the places was this Colombian prison, where 800 inmates and guards gave their lives to Christ. And it became known as a Bible school. And I just think that that goes to highlight again, the penetrating power that God has given to the arts and to artists to be able. Now I there's no telling how many sermons they had heard at that at that prison and in their lifetime, but by the Holy Spirit, you know, working in and through, you know, the power of the arts to penetrate the heart, and to begin a process of transformation. So I just found that story so compelling when you share
there's, it's such a joy, to even tell it, you know, the transforming power of the gospel for the human heart. But institutions as well. And so I was working alongside Oh, am, I'm sure many you're familiar of about Operation mobilization. And my good friend, George burrower, went to be the Lord jet with the Lord just recently. And so I was helping om to raise some money for the arts. And they had arranged a meeting with Hollywood filmmakers. And so I didn't know any of these people. And I got into the restaurant and sat down opposite a lady. And she said to me, I'm a Hollywood screenwriter. And we talked a little bit, and then somebody down the bottom of the table mentioned toymaker and some, I have no idea why. And she immediately perked up and she said, did somebody there mentioned toymaker and son? And they said yes. And actually the guy you're talking to is the one that you that wrote it. And she was just flabbergasted sand. She said, I have a story to tell you. I was as a young child crippled with arthritis. They did so many operations on me and she just showed me a big car scar on her shoulder. And she said, I bound in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. Because there is nothing that they can do. And she said, One day, some Christian friends of mine came to me and said that there's a dramatic presentation coming to California. And it's called toymaker and son, and we would like to take you. And we will make sure we will take your wheelchair. And we'll make sure that you're settled, so that you can watch this performance. And she said, they took me and they set me up with my wheelchair. And she said, during the performance, I found myself involuntarily saying,
I would love to move like these dancers. And she said to me, God began to instantly heal her. And she went to her specialist who said to her, I have no explanation of what has happened to you. And she said, From that day onward, I have had no arthritis in my body. And I'm working as a screenwriter in Hollywood.
And impressive how toymakers has had such an impact, both globally. And as you've just shared this story, on a micro level with individuals, tell us about the relationship between the idea that's behind the arts, impacting a culture, reforming a culture, because this is what's happening.
You're not going to let me get away without answering this site.
No, I'm not. And I also want you to talk about the recovery of imagination in the church. These are very critical things. And I know the people that are tuned in around the world are really interested in absolutely hearing your thoughts on these things.
Absolutely. Well, I have a passion for Cultural Restoration. And my definition of Cultural Restoration is beginning to see a culture restored to God's original intention for them. And that means recognizing the distortions, the lies, that they have believed, and repenting of those, and taking those things in their culture, and redirecting them towards Christ, for his honor, and His glory. So, you know, I've worked with Native American cultures. I've worked with a tribal peoples in Africa. And I've seen, I was asked actually to go up to the north of Canada, several years ago now, to the Ojibwe people. And they had the greatest question that I couldn't not go, we have just become believers. And we want to know, if we can use our symbols and ceremonies and our arts, now in the worship of God. So I went up and lived with them for three days. And we opened the Bible together and had an amazing time. And at the end, the chief said to me, he said, Colin, can we send you the things that we're thinking about changing? And I said, my friend, you do not need to do that. You don't need my permission. You You just need to gather your elders together and see the Lord and whatever He tells them, you know, to do you do it. And I've heard since that the tribe has gone through a reformation within their individual lives and their culture.
How do you see the arts impacted in this way, Colin? Because obviously you do, and you have been doing it. But for the people that are listening, who are dancers, painters, working in theater? How can they consciously begin to think of their art, being a means of reforming culture? Re forming cultures?
Yes. And, you know, if we had time, we could go through the Scriptures, you know, beginning with God, the original artist, and making us in his image, and also how he called the first artist bezel, and filled him with the spirit, the first person we read in the Scripture, filled him with the Spirit, character and skill. And God use the arts in so many ways. I think of the sculpture that God commissioned in the wilderness, the bronze serpent, non verbal art, and yet God brought healing, forgiveness, and restoration. And I think the power in the arts also lay in a major way. In the power of story.
I took a lot to artists these days about story narrative. Yes, a story is a dwelling place, we are supposed to live in it. And the more we live in the story, and I'm referring to maybe the grand story of the meta narrative,
no more we, as individual artists live in the story. The more the story,
yes, the more the story lives in us. And it affects everything we think, and everything we do worldview. And, and so many Christians live in a broken story, not the Gospel story. And so story is, for me, so important.
And explain this a little more. So many Christians live in a broken story.
Yes. A story of failure. A story of defeat, a story of disappointment. And if you're living in those stories, those stories will live in you and affect your worldview and everything that you do as a result. And one of the other things I love to say, if a story moves you, you want to participate in its possibilities. And that's why I think the arts are so powerful. They not only affect you, in the intellect, they affect your emotions. And the arts are largely story related. And that's why I believe people cry, and they laugh. Because the when they're moved by the story, they want to be a part of it.
That reminds me of a book I read in the last six months. I think it was a book about I think Dasco yesterday that Russian novelist. Yeah, I think that's who it was, who was in a prison in Siberia. And every every year, these prisoners who are mostly there for murder had a Artsfest Civil with things that they could instruments they could scrap together in the prison. And they would do a concert. And he said that this concert brought human beings together. And these hardened criminals were weeping at what they heard being produced by the music and the stories that were being told by their fellow prisoners. Yes.
So true and so wonderful. That reminds me Darrow of story. I met this lady, she was Chinese. And she told me that she became a Christian. And I had a passion for dance, which she'd studied. But when the authorities discovered that she was a Christian, um, they prevented her going to this Academy of Dance where she wanted to study.
And she told me,
they arrested me. And they threw me in jail. And they made me kneel. And you can imagine how painful that was in a concrete prison cell. And she said, they would look through the door, and watch me every moment to make sure I wasn't moving. But she said, in my imagination, that they couldn't see. I was choreographing dances and performing them. And so again, speaks to the importance of the imagination, and the power of the imagination, which I'll address briefly your question on the imagination.
Thank you. Some,
sometimes I talk about the arts in churches, and I get these blank stares. Because people are thinking, what's that got to do me with me, I'm not an artist. So now what I talk about is the imagination. And we all have imagination. Nobody can say, I'm, I don't. It's has nothing to do with me. And in fact, we, we can't do anything without imagination. We can't think about what we're going to do at the weekend, we would be locked into the present. If we were sick. We could not ever imagine being well, because the only way we can imagine that is the exercise of our imagination. And so. So I talk a lot about the imagination. And there's a lot of people in refugee camps and immigrants, and others, whose imaginations have been numbed, disappointment, and hurt, and wounds. And one of the ways the arts can help that is to flesh out possibilities. Because very often, you know, if people don't know what the possibilities are, and they can't imagine them, they're stuck where they are. And so the arts powerfully can flesh out these ideas, these possibilities. And that's just one way that you know, the arts can do that.
Let me respond to that. Follow on with two things. One, In the beginning God and before the universe was created, it was imagined. Yes, God is the first artist. But more basic, to his being an artist was his imagination. He thought it all up. He thought it all up he imagined that he dreamt drempt it. And then he spoke it into creation and a CS Lewis so brilliantly does in the book. Think it's the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, he has Aslan, singing creation into existence. Yeah. And, you know, it's
the artists God imagined. And then he created what he had imagined. And the second thing is, a good friend of mine worked in the Golden Triangle up in Northern Thailand. He was a missionary there for years. And it worked in the very poorest communities in northern Thailand. six hour walk from the end of the road to get to the villages where he worked. And they were absolutely impoverished. And he realized, how can they be in a different than they are without dreaming? Or imagining. And they couldn't imagine their village being any different than what it had been for generations? Yeah. And I said, Tom, what did you do? He said, We'd sit around the campfire at night. And I would begin to imagine out loud. And he shared with them the concept of the importance of the imagination. And out of that imagination, they begin to imagine how their community could be transformed.
I remember to one of the things you said to me was that you can have two nations, side by side, one poor, and one rich, the same resources. And it's all to do with worldview, whether they right, whether they whether they had an open or a closed worldview. That's right. And those with the closed worldview just accepted their fate, where the others with the open worldview, were able to look at their resources and mind them well, and prosper as a result.
That's right. And that is, again, its worldview. It's what do you see? What do you see that's right around you? And do you have an imagination that can take the things that God has given you? Like you said, in your own life, you were in your 20s, before you began to see the creativity you had inside of you? Yes. And if you had never seen that, all that God has done in your life would never have transpired. And through your life, never would have transpired this right. So this is where the arts can be such a gift to help people imagine reality the way it is, yeah. Well, I
hope it's an encouragement to you, Darrow, that I do listen to you when you speak.
It's humbling, actually. Because I have such respect for you, Colin
says, That's so nice. So
Tim, our time, Tim? Yes. Hi, you're watching our time. Yes. How are we doing Tim? How do you feel?
We want to, you know, move things along and button them up? What do we what do we want to do in our final moments before we move into questions? We've got a question coming in from Jenny Park. I'm confident we've got other questions too. But I want to you know, give us a moment for any closing remarks or last last minute items that you
feel we need to the gym. The only things I had left to talk about was Russia, Bulgaria and China. And you just tell me how long I've got and I will just just go over those very briefly.
Um, and and Colin, oh, how D Is there a way that VA Simply we could share your type stories, which are very powerful with the audience, is that something you would consider?
What's that type stories?
View? So the document that you sent me the ministry stories,
okay, yes, absolutely. Yeah, that way they could
get if we don't share it all. Now they could, because you have a type so neatly you have it communicated so clearly. And I think
that makes me think of something else to call them. Your pamphlet on culture is transformative. Thank you. And I don't know if if we could I mean, just the question you're raising 10, if we could begin to share those kinds of things with this growing community.
That's, that's great. And I would be happy to send you. The other thing, Darrow is the Lausanne document that I headed up. And we have a whole document that I commissioned artwork for. And that could be also sent out.
Very good. You're capturing all this, Tim, I see a smile on your face. You know,
one thing I'm thinking about, some of you haven't made it over there yet. But we do have this community kind of growing. And in just a minute. I see Dwight's got a hand raised also. So I'll invite him on to speak. But I want to post the the ministry stories that that colin has written up, they're very concise, and you'll be very pleased and impressed with them. I'm going to post those in our Christian creative community here within an hour. And so what as soon as we close this out, I'll be posting it over there. So you can check it out. And you can find the details for how to get into that at a call for balladeers.com. There's a link about the Christian creative community. Dwight, are you there? Do you want to come on? Yeah, I
just you guys were talking about imagination. And I'm not an artist, and my imagination needs to be developed. How do you cultivate an imagination?
a question. Go ahead, Colin.
What do I do? Well, you know, a lot of people say to me, I don't have an imagination. Number one that's non biblical. It's like, you know, you don't use it, you lose it. So I think there's, there's ways in which people can be encouraged to use their imagination. A simple example would be a Bible story. Just imagine that you're there, and describe what you see. So there's many different ways where imagination needs to be developed. And the more we develop it, the more we use it and grow it.
Thanks. I think of some people that we used to work with in Asia, who understood this principle. And this was in a closed country where they worked. And they were development workers. And they would share stories, they were biblical stories, but they would share biblical stories. But wouldn't say there are biblical stories, they tell stories. And from those stories, they would articulate biblical principles that when applied, those principles have a profound impact on shaping people's lives and shaping culture. And people would say, Well, where did you get that story? And they'd say, Well, it was a wise man who said this. And it could be the prophets. It could have been the Psalms. But it was a wise man who shared this story. And it they used imagination from biblical stories to bring transformation to a culture.
Yes, that's great. Tim, would this would be a good time to show the video and maybe I could introduce it. Yeah, I
think that would be great. And so, everybody, just a Quick comment colin has a video of, he's going to introduce it right now, that a five minute video of something amazing calling you started off, and I'll I will branch off of that. And then as soon as that's over, we'll jump into a time for questions and answers.
Okay. This video is pretty famous in summation of the festival that we did in China. And I brought 300 or so artists, from 20 different countries, to China, at the invitation of the Chinese Communist government to do art from a Christian worldview. They didn't actually say that exactly. But that's what they got. And one of the things you'll see in this little video, is it's not just art. It has something about special needs education. And one of the exciting things are led the way in Russia, Bulgaria and China with these festivals. But because of the relationship with the highest members of the government in each of those countries, including the Vice President, in Bulgaria, I was able to ask, are there any any other issues that you are interesting, interested to talk about? With the international community that we're bringing? Do you have some things that you would like them to know? Or do you have things you would like to know that they could speak into? So when you see this video, you will see some of those other things and the exciting thing is not only the arts were from a Christian worldview, but education and all the other things were also presented from a biblical worldview perspective, so let's see, the video.
In May 1999 300 artists educators and participants arrived in China for an historic cultural exchange. The Kooning International Festival of the Arts Ode to Joy was an official part of the First World Exposition to be held in China.
Chinese students on the campus of the prestigious Yunnan Arts Institute, eager to learn more about the cultural expressions of other nations fought their way through a closed door to attend a performance during the Third International Festival of the Arts.
18 visual artists from six countries exhibited paintings sculptures, pottery, quilts, and art installations. Mixing artists from many cultures established a foundation for dialogue, mutual understanding, and cross cultural insights with a Chinese audience.
Education is a high priority in China. With this in mind over 40 seminars, workshops and master classes were held in partnership with the UN educational Commission. They also hosted delegations of special needs educators are therapists and businessmen, the emphasis of the education delegations was on releasing the potential of the special needs child. These joint venture projects included play therapy stimulation programs, strategies for children with single and multiple disabilities, and practical art, crafts and music projects.
Some of the most significant cultural exchanges took place during the lecture and workshop sessions which were filled to capacity, cultural uniqueness was celebrated. common values were affirmed friendship, trust and respect, created an environment for a genuine exchange of ideas. Effective communication requires a common language and mutual interests. This is accomplished through the international language of the arts and the benefits of cultural exchange.
It is through the arts that Chinese civilization has shaped its response to the meaning of life. The arts will continue to provide a significant context in which the Chinese people can engage in a vital dialogue within their own rapidly changing nation and with the international community.
The door is open.
That's incredible column. I did see that years ago.
Thank you. And I don't know why my computer is telling me I'm low. And I've tried to replug it in but it's doesn't seem to be juicing up. So just to give you a little bit of warning on that. And I guess I could, you know, if the worst comes to worst I could read plug it in somewhere else. But anyway, just to let you know, is your power strip up logged on? Yeah, everything's the way it should be. Okay. But it doesn't seem to be working right now. Okay.
Darrow and Colin are we find to flip over to questions? Okay, great. Great. Um, let's see. I saw a question from Jenny earlier. Jenny, are you available to come on and ask that question?
Yes. Hi, thank you so much for such a wonderful, wonderful presentation. I'm so encouraged and inspired. Thank you. Well, trying. Okay, so my question is, first, I'm very I'm struggling, not struggling. I've been asking myself the question if there is if there is objective truths, also in the area of aesthetics. And by searching through the Bible, my conclusion is that ethics and aesthetics are joined at the hip. And the problem that we have is that God's law is so simple. Love the Lord your God, and love your neighbor as yourself. And I think that we have to first dispel the notion of these, you know, complicated notions of law, which really leads us into legalism of all sorts. And that really suffocates the artist. And for me, as a musician, when I imagine and when I make music, it's a form of prayer, because as you said, I envision the kingdom of God, what it would look like what kind of music we would hear. And so all my practicing is actually a form of prayer. And then that got me thinking, well, because of what Jesus did on the cross, we not only have that story of the fall with that corset tree, we can be in the Garden of Eden, and try out and explore and taste all the other fruits on all the other trees. And those trees are like the little stories that are throughout the whole Bible under the meta narrative. We have all these parables and just beautiful collection of stories that has that same theme. And so I wonder, my question is, first, do you think that, if you see any, do you think I'm on the right track? When I say ethics and aesthetics are joined at the hip, given the fact that God's law is simple, it's based on love, and therefore it preserves creates and honors life? That's my first question. And second question is, do you think that because we are made in the image of God, the imagination will be restored as our image becomes restored? And what is the number one lie that is keeping us from doing that? That's a lot of questions. Well, there you go.
Real questions. Big Questions. Go ahead, Colin,
why don't you address the first one Darrow?
way I would answer that Jenny is there is a culture of the kingdom of God. And that culture of the kingdom of God is truth, beauty, and goodness. And these are married at the hip to use your term. They are a cultural Trinity. You can't separate them. So truth is beautiful. Truth is good. The good is beautiful. But we can talk about them distinctly but never separate them. So Right. Art has to have an objective aesthetic quality that is good. And true. That would be the simple way I would answer that.
Yes. So that I believe that boundaries. God ordained boundaries or laws, ethics, is necessary to be creative. Unlike our cultural notion of being artistic or creative means like, no rules, right? You can do whatever you want type of licentiousness. So that's, that's what I'm struggling with. Because I feel like that notion is really has pervade is pervasive in our American culture. But yes, I do wholeheartedly agree with the cultural Trinity you mentioned. Thank you.
I'm calling back. Can you?
Yeah. As I understood, your second question, Jenny, about the imagination. And my response to that is, the imagination is a gift from God. But like, every other gift that he gave us, it's become distorted. And it's so I think that's why scripture encourages us to take every thought captive, because all sorts of imaginations, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly can go through our minds. And I believe, as we continually deal with taking control of our imagination When, and we're lining it up with, with the scriptures, that we will that imagination will begin to be restored. Of course not completely. That's not going to happen until Jesus comes back and ashes in his kingdom, when, you know, it will all be like He intended it to be so I'm not sure if that answer you.
Yes, yes. So yeah, I do feel that for artists, for musicians, we have a different kind of Bible study, which renews our imagination. And I have personally testified to that I really do feel a big transformation taking place. So my the hardest question, I think that I throw at you is what is the number one the biggest lie that is keeping us all from being creative and imaginative?
Well, I think just answer that, as far as Christians are concerned, a lot of Christians have struggled with creativity, and the imagination. And I understand, you know, from the King James Version of the Bible, which I was weaned on, and every mention of imagination is in a negative context. And that's not surprising because of the icon debate that was going on. So there's been generations of Christians have been brought up to believe that the imagination is somehow suspect. And that's something that needs to be corrected. For sure.
That's the biggest lie. That it's it's it's, it exposes us to the dangers of idolatry. Art does that.
Yes, it does. Yes.
Thank you so much. You're welcome.
I'd like to connect something that Jenny has said in the past with something you said, Colin, and you mentioned, the big story, the big narrative. We are to live our lives as Christians within the framework of that narratives. And we are to do our art from the framework of that narrative. And that narrative is to live in us. Very powerful, the way you said that. And I remember Jenny, when we were doing a ideas have consequence podcast with her. She spoke of when she is playing the piano. She enters the universe of music. And she is playing like she said, today she prays as she practices, but she's entering that space of music. Yeah,
can I think at
some point, it would be fascinating for us to have a discussion here around this idea of the realm of music, the imagination of the kingdom of God, living in the meta narrative of the kingdom and letting that narrative living us
actually Dara that's the reason why I thought about you know, entering the Garden of Eden and exploring all the other trees, because it's almost like being a musician. All that practice and skill building and technique building really gave me this privilege to enter this world. And it is just a fabulous world to to enjoy. So I thought of it as like a garden.
Yeah. Okay, Tim, other questions? Yeah, I've got raising her
hand. One. Yeah. Fiorella. Would you like to unmute and share? She has some I know they're gonna log off soon. And if you have to log off, we're going to miss you. We're going to continue recording for a while and we are going to jump over we'll share more details about our next meeting and we'll we'll publish those it's going to be on June 6 Fiorella. Whenever you You're ready.
my name is Lauren, I'm here with the Arella. There's a few of us here that are here from impact with Madrid, Spain. By the way, when base here, I don't know if it's Colin still on the caller that he dropped out is
logging back in, and I did see your message. And I did forward that to him before the call. So yeah, I see him logging in now. And I guess I'm sorry about that. That's good. No problem. This is Lauren, I sent your the message from our to you earlier.
Hi, Colin. I just wanted to take a second just to honor you, and thank you, because your obedience to the Lord and what you've created has so deeply impacted my life. I saw a human when I was a little girl. And I've watched it on VHS over and over and over and over again. I'm a dancer and a choreographer. And but when I was graduating from high school, I didn't know what to do with my life. And I asked God, God, what, what do I do with dance. And he reminded me of de uma. And it was the first time that I thought I want to do that. That's what I'm called to do is to create productions that bring heaven to earth, that unite the nations and create things that the people have never seen before. So my question is for the people that are called to create the de uma as of today, for the people that are called to create productions that transcend culture and language, what what is your advice
to those people?
Well, I think first of all, you need to get great stories. The the things that I wrote, Britain that have been most successful, are stories that have moved me very much. And, and I wanted to capture those stories and communicate them to others. And so I think we need if we're looking at cultural cross cultural communication, we need to have stories based around universal truth. And the third thing, I would say, to use the non verbal arts language of dance, mime, and visual art. The reason why we have done and been able to do to Yuma and toymaker in over 70 Different countries is because it was a movement. And we just added a very brief commentary storyline, that if we were in Russia, we could translate that into Russian and so on. So I, I really believe the de uma format, which the storytelling and the mime and the acting and the dance is very powerful when trying to communicate stories cross culturally.
It was great to listen to you. I have a question. Like, what do you say to the Christian artists and art lovers that are afraid of losing or the meaning the arts power, an essence when or if it is used with an evangelistic purpose? Yes,
well, let me let me just say one thing off the top. I think art is a very poor preacher. I think art has its own language. And when we try to make it something else, that it's not we ended up doing bad art. And I've seen lots of that very preachy sentimental art that does no honor to the gospel. So I think the first thing people really need to understand artists need to understand is the kingdom of God. That within God's kingdom, he rules over everything. And there is nothing, no subject that is outside of his interest. So the Christian, who is an artist can talk about anything, any subject on Earth. Do it from a Christian worldview, perspective. And I know exactly what you're saying. There's a lot of argument in the art world amongst Christians, you know that those who do preaching through the art are condemned by those who don't accept that at all. And it's not good. The vitriol between the two. And I think the, one of the one of the stories I love is, when David committed adultery and murder, Nathan, the Prophet went into him. And he didn't say you murder. You know, you adulterer. He said, can I tell you a story? And I think that story really shows us how the arts work, because David had no idea. This was about him. So his barriers were down. And he ended up declaring that man had no compassion. He deserves to die. And oh, my goodness, that dramatic moment, where Nathan looks at him, and says, David, you are that man. And I think art that's non preachy, that's from a biblical perspective, says to men, women, and children, you are that man, you are that woman. There's the power of a relevant revelation in that.
Thank you. Another subject we could spend a lot of time exploring. So very, very good question. tiarella. Thank you. Who else Tim? John, a couple
questions left. While we are doing this, let me see if I can get Dwight to come on just momentarily. I want him to mention who we're going to have as our next guest. As, as he's preparing to come on, I'm just going to remind you, you can go to a call for balladeers.com. And, of course, you got access to the books digitally and in print, and read the introduction and endorsements. But I really want to point you to this link right here, which is going to take you to get a free account for our Christian creative community where you can also download that free app. And this is a great opportunity to help you find Balladeers near you those similar artistic interests, allows private messaging, there's a public feed, and I will get up information here soon. Our next one is going to be on Tuesday, June 6. And I'm going to turn it over to Dwight for just a minute to tell us who we've got coming on next time.
And Tim, if you could put up after Dwight Jeremiah. Dina's question.
Okay, yeah, I will do that. And I've got I've got some in the queue for as long as we have time for Marian and Mallanna. Also,
Dwight, all right. Why
don't we yeah, why don't we take another 10 minutes or so but our next guest is going to be a graphic designer from Brazil named Samuel Felix. He is an animated video artist who works for We're clients like red bowl New Zealand, and does some amazing work and has also worked with the DNA and with Elizabeth humans and several others, helping us and he's extremely talented, but he is completely immersed and how can he challenge and present truth to his culture in Brazil and in a way that reaches them through animation and this indirect storytelling, our direct storytelling, you want to put it that way? Anyway, he's next month.
Look forward to having great, great.
Maryann, are you available to ask your question? Or I can ask if you want
me to go back through the feed and find it.
And then Mallanna, I'd
love for you to ask your question next. Marian says what do you think is the way to educate the church about art as a way to extend the kingdom of God? What do you think is the way to educate the church about art as a way to extend the kingdom of God?
Good, I just answered that with a story. I was invited to go to a to speak at a university, to the Board of Governors. And the President said, I'd like you to come and talk about the arts, but don't be disappointed. They really don't get it. And I said, Okay, nice invitation outcome. And so I stood up, basically, and for 20 minutes, I just went through the Scriptures, starting with God, the artists and all the way through showing the different times, God use the arts and the imagination. And when I had finished, gentleman of the board, stood up and I thought, oh, here we go. And he said, I have been a pastor, and he had been the pastor of the largest Presbyterian Church in Mississippi. And he said, I never, ever invited artists to show their work in my church. And he said, Now this man stands up and opens up the Scriptures. And he shows me how wrong I have been. And he said, I repent. And he said to the other board members, you need to repent to, and you need to invite him to come and speak at your churches. And that man, became my good friend. And he used to write me real letters, always encouraging me about the arts. So my answer has from experience been, it's going to the Scriptures. These are Bible believing, believing people and show them from the Word of God that will transform their thinking. Do you want to add to that Darrow?
No, I think that's great. I don't know. Have you written anything on this column?
I have to think of my some of my articles. And of course, the Lausanne document that I referred to earlier, which I wrote, the final version of has a lot of things in there that I think could speak to this to
long term I'll get these posted on our on our site so that they can be shared more widely.
Milana as this is going to be our final question, and then I'm going to be over in the in the community getting those documents posted. We'd love to see some of you all there. Also, if you're available. Um, Mallanna you want to go ahead and ask your
question would be great. Hello. Hello from Brazil.
I'm Alana. Oh, hi.
Yeah, I was I was very thoughtful when you told that story about the prison about how they did that art, exposition creative words. And that question came to my mind, how do we train or encourage people to use to activate their imagination without shoe without first having to do this exercise? And this addressing the distortions they have about the way the way they see life in the world? Is it possible to have positive output, you know, like they had in prison? I don't know if I understood all of it, but the whole process they went through, and that they finally were called the Bible school.
Darrow. Would you like to address that?
Oh, that's your Go ahead column.
And yeah, so I'm so mean, Alana, one thing that I had heard was, you know, so he went in, and he did a performance, he did a performance of his toymaker and son, and after that, that was when everybody's raising their hand. I want to follow Jesus. And then after that, they said, No, you this is you're not understanding it. Right. It's hard to follow Jesus it requires, you know, and it was just an interpreter who did this, you know? And then and then they said, no, okay, so now really, who wants to follow Jesus? And even more people raise their hands. And, yeah, so you're,
I don't know if you were on last time when Jeremiah and Mona ina were on.
they were talking about something that Colin was talking about a few minutes ago about dance and mime. And their Sterling dance, their Sterling Dance Theater. In Kansas City, it is a professional dance company. And they write their own stories of issues that are predominant issues, in history and in society. So they write the story. They have a composer compose the music for the story. Mona is a classically trained ballerina, she choreographs the ballet. And they put it on in the in the major theater downtown Kansas City. But they've done a story about a family whose mother had Alzheimer's
They did a story about the Underground Railroad during the time of slavery in the United States to tell that story. And they create stories. I think they're working on one now about the family being the primary the foundation. social institution of a society is the family. It's the bedrock of a society and they're there, doing the research, going to court, get the composer to develop the music. They're going to choreographic to tell that story. So they are telling stories that are addressing issues that are real issues today, addressing them from biblical principles. So it is taking the kingdom of God through ballet to address an issue. That is an issue that people discuss they know about they struggle with. I don't know if that's helpful, but that's what Mona and Jeremiah Aiden are doing through storm theater.
They're doing a wonderful job. Yeah. And it just when you were saying that Darrow remember, you know, Jesus didn't wake up on a Monday and said, I'm going to plan my week which parables I'm going to teach him which day? Scripture says that Jesus, knowing what the people were saying, and thinking, told them a parable, his responses, were always in response to the questions of the age and the things people were thinking. And I think that's so important that there's someone that said, Christians are the ones asking questions, answering questions no one is asking. And we need through our art, to understand the questions of our culture and address them artistically.
Hey, man, thank you so much. Thank you. Yeah.
Colin, at this time and Darrow, at any last remarks, but I'd love for maybe perhaps Colin, to close us in prayer. Any final comments?
I'd like to raise a question just for the community. And as as we listen to different people, each a few weeks when we do this. I know just right now, we've gotten in a discussion, a very good discussion about imagination. And I wonder if at some point, we couldn't have, instead of an individual have a panel that we simply have a panel of folks who have been on with us, who are there to dialogue about issues that are raised by this community. love that idea. So if you think that's a good idea, let's put a note up to where said put the note up, Tim? Yeah.
You can certainly email me and, or email, Shawn. Um, my email is in the chat right now. It's T Williams, at disciple nations.org. And you can certainly reach out to me also in the community. Those are good ways to do that. Yeah, thanks. Thanks, Colin, are you still there? I am. Yeah. Okay. Other Other comments or thoughts? Before prayer?
I don't think I need to say anything else? Sure. Yeah. It's, it's just been a wonderful time. Thank you.
Thank you, Colin, and and for all of you, as you have additional feedback about how can we meaningfully support you and encourage you, you know, what the goals are for this community? We would love to hear that and think about that. Thanks.
So Father, we thank you, for this time together. For these creative people who love you, and love to share you through their artistic endeavors. i Father, I ask that you will encourage them to keep going, even in times of discouragement, knowing Lord that the arts are something that you created. And the best way that we can thank you for the gifts that you have given us is to obey you by using those gifts for your honor, and for your glory. So Lord, just continue to be with this forum. Thank you for it. Thank you for Darrow. Thank you for the book. Thank you two things that I've emanated already from it, and those things that are yet to come. We give you thanks in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.
Amen. Well, Colin, thank you so much. And thank all of you who joined joined us today. For your interest, your questions. This is very stimulating. Thank you. God bless. Ciao, ciao.