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Jim Janknegt

Why do artist avoid the church?

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And folks wonder why artists avoid the church??

Here is my latest experience. A friend of mine and a fellow artist has been asking me to loan some paintings to her church. She is trying to get an arts program going there. She contacted me before advent and I couldn't do it but suggested I might have something for Lent. So she got back in touch with me and I had just finished my painting based on Jesus parable of the wicked tenants (Mathew 21:31-41).

tenantsSM.jpg

This seemed like a good painting to meditate on during Lent so I said I would loan them this painting. I sent her an image of the painting and we arranged for a time for her to pick up the work. I spent a good portion of time last weekend buying framing material and framing the painting.

I get an email this morning saying not to bring the painting today, they had changed their mind. She Said "Although the person who oversees the art-hanging at (name of church removed) loves your work, he is concerned about exhibiting the content in your piece in our 'G' rated space in the sanctuary. I hope that this is not offensive to you in any way because your generosity and expression are so appreciated."

I have to say I AM offended. Now, I don't consider this censorship. A privately run public space has the right to show or not show anything they choose. And I acknowledge that this is a tough painting. But is it any tougher than Jesus' parable? Does the fact that the parable is visualized somehow change it from a G rating to something else??

This isn't the first time stuff like this has happened to me. I've had churches paste actual leaves over Adam and Eve's nudity in my paintings that ripped the paint of when I've removed them.

The Gospel is tough and demands to be visualized in an honest way. If all churches want is Thomas Kinkaid sweetness and light then they'll never get any substantial art. The church needs to grow up.

By the way, I stole the idea of the dog taking a crap come from Rembrandt's etching of the Good Samaritan.

As Mose Allison says " I am not discouraged but I'm gettin' there"

Edited by Jim Janknegt

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Pathetic and sad are the only way to describe the church's decision.

But three cheers to those who want to keep Christianity "G"-rated!

This is another sorry lesson in the artistic impoverishment of the church.

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That stinks, Jim. I share your frustration. I also really like your painting.

I'm always taken aback when I encounter responses like the one your encountered from the church. My church is incredibly supportive of the arts, and is made up of many people who earn their living (or at least part of their living) from the arts. I forget about the pervasiveness of the attitude you encountered. And I'm sorry.

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Here's a new art concept: Rip out every page of the Bible with other than G-rated content, and place side-by-side as a mural. Display in space. Hilarity ensues.

Well, there's always the Brick Testament.

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Here's a new art concept: Rip out every page of the Bible with other than G-rated content, and place side-by-side as a mural. Display in space. Hilarity ensues.

Well, there's always the Brick Testament.

I particularly love the handy parental code that helps mom and dad be informed about the potentially inappropriate biblical content. The code for the book The Teachings of Jesus is NSVC, which stands for:

N = nudity S = sexual content V = violence C = cursing

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Here's a new art concept: Rip out every page of the Bible with other than G-rated content, and place side-by-side as a mural. Display in space. Hilarity ensues.

Well, there's always the Brick Testament.

I particularly love the handy parental code that helps mom and dad be informed about the potentially inappropriate biblical content. The code for the book The Teachings of Jesus is NSVC, which stands for:

N = nudity S = sexual content V = violence C = cursing

Just like Movieguide.

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That is an awesome painting, Jim! Sorry to hear what happened. It is so well done!

If my tax return was going to be a little larger, I'd buy that from you!

Much admiration!!

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That is an awesome painting, Jim! Sorry to hear what happened. It is so well done!

If my tax return was going to be a little larger, I'd buy that from you!

Much admiration!!

I am happy to report that the situation has been resolved. A lot of miscommunication seems to be the culprit. The worship pastor was the guy coordinating the art for Lent with the artist friend of mine. He realized, apparently the day before I was going to deliver the painting, that the main pastor had not been in the loop. What he meant for a pause in the situation, so he could run the use of my painting by the main pastor, my artist friend took for a NO. In actuality the main pastor thought the painting would be good for their congregation and they could use it as a teaching tool. The worship pasture assures me, "Our sanctuary is not "G-rated" at all (because life in God is not G-rated) but it is PG-rated, that is in the sense that we try to use "Pastoral Guidance" to help our congregation encounter art in more thoughtful, courageous, and transformational ways." A step in the right direction, anyhow.

So I'm going to loan them the painting after all. Thanks for all your comments and support!

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That is great to hear!

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