by Darrow Miller
Miller clearly articulates a vision for the arts and issues a call for a new wave of Christian-based artists for society. It is generally acknowledged among thought leaders particularly in western societies that art challenges and often bends the way people see and think about issues and values in our world. Where then are the artists who present true truth, as Francis Schaefer declared, through their artistry? His work issues a clarion call to artists who can potentially penetrate our postmodern aberrant societies and ultimately ‘disciple the nations’ through their work.
Unfortunately, some Christian leaders often only validate the arts if they serve as a means for overt proclamation of the Gospel. In Miller’s book “A Call for Balladeers,” Darrow poses the hypothesis that artists have a primary role beyond evangelism and are specifically crafted by the Lord Himself for the task of disseminating God’s truth, beauty and goodness. He issues a call to artists who are Christians everywhere to become “balladeers” as in the days of old, that is, those who traversed the highways and byways of culture, influencing and shaping their world through their works.
In this enlightening book, Miller declares that culture is upstream from economics, politics and even the world of commerce. The artists shape culture when they consciously create or critique culture via their art. Whether they are singers, musicians or songwriters, playwrights, filmmakers, writers or poets, painters, sculptors, choreographers, composers, actors, architects or even fashion designers they have a significant role in God’s purposes for our generation as prophetic culture makers for our aberrant and fragmented world. It is time to issue a call for these gifted artisans and pray for their empowerment.
Over the last forty years, a number of excellent books concerning the arts have been published. And this work by Darrow Miller is no exception. What I find so very good about this work is Miller through his expansive connections, his travels, and network of artists of faith, has gathered mature artistic voices of experienced Jesus-centered artists to speak. Artists and church leaders alike will benefit from giving ear to these voices as well to Miller’s conclusions.
Book Review by Dr. Jim Mills