This is a blog post that should not need to be written. Art and artistic expression has been part of the church since it’s inception. And while art often is a physical expression (but not always, for example poetry) it is not carnal as defined by the false dichotomy of carnal/spiritual or materialistic as in the equally false dichotomy material/spiritual.
Art is first and foremost an expression of creativity which is in itself one of gods primary attributes (creator), when we create art we co-create with god, we further gods creation act and add expressions of beauty and diversity to the creation.
Art is sacrament (an outward expression of an inward grace) it aims to make manifest that which cannot be seen but that we intuit, feel or imagine.
Art is spiritual as art draws upon our sacred imagination and creative powers and embodies (incarnates) that which only exists in thought and spirit.
The word in itself comes from the latin word artus which means joint, the root is ar which means to join or connect. And so the definition of art is that it joins or connects the unseen (spirit, grace, imagination) and the seen (materia).
Now art can become idolatry when we once again mistake the finger pointing at the moon for the moon itself or we mistake the artist (co-creator) for the creator of all and spirit source, source of all creativity. But that is us missing the mark and not the fault of the art or the artist. when viewed with love, spirit and discernment the art becomes icon, a window into the divine. A doorway to that which is hidden from plain sight a joint that re-connects us with the divine source of love.
So art is not carnal even when it is expressed in and with our bodies in dance, theatre or other performing arts. Not even when it covers deeper subjects like sexuality or darker subjects like horror or violence. However the most beautiful art is the one we create with our lives, when our everyday dealings become an artistic (connecting) expression, weaving together worldly and divine, spiritual and carnal in a divinely inspired song and dance. The scriptures tells us we are artwork (Eph 2.10), and when we join in in the creative act and create lives that express the artistry and love that has gone into our creation we are also artists so therefore:
Go, create, live, love!