1. Two global churches
Eastertide is a season of resurrection, of new beginnings, of new life. And as two churches find themselves with new leaders, Timothy Sherratt sees reason for hope:
Both the Roman Catholic Church and the smaller Anglican Communion are global churches. That feature is perhaps an under-appreciated blessing in the Christian community. What it brings into view is the reality of our membership in the Body of Christ. When membership is global, questions of diversity, evangelism and service take shape as present reality, not abstract aspiration. Global neighbors really are neighbors, who read from the same liturgy and share in the body and blood of Christ… Both Pope Francis and Archbishop Welby have, by actions and words, taken a critical stance towards the institutions they now lead. If I read them correctly, their message to the Churches is an Easter message: Institutions matter, but health requires that they be tailored to their mission, taking risks rather than taking refuge.
Christianity was never meant to be experienced in isolation. It requires community and interaction on an intimate level with human beings. Songwriting or art or work can’t be isolated from any other part of my Christian life—like taking communion. It’s all best experienced in community. And I can’t overstate how much I have been wounded and then healed, how much I’ve experienced God’s pleasure and then God’s discipline, through the community to which I belong. I am not trying to say that you can’t be a great artist and still be a loner; I just don’t want to be one.
3. Socially engaged art
Randy Kennedy writes about an interesting arts and activism trend:
As the commercial art world in America rides a boom unlike any it has ever experienced, another kind of art world growing rapidly in its shadows is beginning to assert itself. And art institutions around the country are grappling with how to bring it within museum walls and make the case that it can be appreciated along with paintings, sculpture and other more tangible works. Known primarily as social practice, its practitioners freely blur the lines among object making, performance, political activism, community organizing, environmentalism and investigative journalism, creating a deeply participatory art that often flourishes outside the gallery and museum system. And in so doing, they push an old question — “Why is it art?” — as close to the breaking point as contemporary art ever has.
Leaders have an obligation to ask the right questions on behalf of the organization. One of the advantages of age is that it finally dawns on you that questions are more important than answers. Questions either determine or lead to such things as quality, appropriateness, who should be involved, and what’s right. The leader has a role in initiating and examining and testing questions.
[Photo: Roman Catholic devotees hold candles as they line a procession route for an icon of the Virgin Mary outside a Catholic church on Easter Sunday in Quezon City, Philippines on April 7, 2012. (Jay Directo/AFP/Getty Images) via boston.com]