posted February 16, 2010

Joshua Banner Contributes Essay to Book on the Church and the Arts

Joshua Banner of the campus ministries staff at Hope College is among the authors who wrote chapters for the book "For the Beauty of the Church: Casting a Vision for the Arts," forthcoming from Baker Books of Grand Rapids on Monday, March 1.

Banner, who is minister of music and art at Hope, wrote the chapter "The Practitioner:  Nurturing Artists in the LocalChurch."

"For the Beauty of the Church: Casting a Vision for the Arts" calls for the development of a robust, dynamic and substantive vision for the place of the arts and artists in churches, seeking to move the church's understanding of the role of the arts beyond fad, afterthought or irrelevance to its potential as an integral, meaningful part of worship and faith development.   The book is edited by David Taylor, currently a doctoral student at Duke, whose experience includes having been the arts minister at Hope Chapel in Austin, Texas, for 12 years.

Taylor describes Banner's chapter as a "street-level version" of the book's discussion, reflecting Banner's work in a church as a pastor to artists while at a church in Oklahoma City prior to joining the Hope staff in 2006.  Banner draws upon his experience growing up on a farm to make the work of nurturing the arts accessible to the local church pastor.  He calls for pastors to show sincere curiosity and interest in sharing the artist's world as a route to effectively encourage and promote the artists who are in their faith communities.

This is Banner's fourth year leading worship at Hope. In addition to overseeing the music for weekly chapel services and the Sunday evening Gathering service, he teaches a Theology of Music and Worship course in the Studies in Ministry Minor, oversees the students who run the Concert Series, and has recently partnered with John Erskine, recordist for the department of music, to develop the Dimnent Memorial Chapel recording studio and offer further classes in the audio recording arts. Banner is a song writer, having released two CDs independently, and will soon complete his Master of Christian Studies in Interdisciplinary Studies at Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Banner is one of two local contributors to the book.  John Witvliet, who is director of the Calvin Institute of Christian worship and professor of music and worship at Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary, wrote the chapter "The Worship: How Can Art Serve the Corporate Worship of the Church?"  Their essays appear in the company of several other authors currently engaged in topics of culture, theology and worship:  Eugene Peterson, Jeremy Begbie, Andy Crouch, Barbara Nicolosi and Lauren Winner.