Teaching About The Redemptive Energy of Art


My 6th and 7th grade history classes not too long ago completed a project that involved identifying and interpreting Pacific Northwest Coastal Native art types and symbolism.

I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and in undertaking so was blessed with getting exposed to a wealthy Native American culture, specifically in terms of their highly effective art pictures. Since I have usually been intrigued by this special sort of art, I believed I would have my junior higher students discover about the Pacific Northwest Native style, the certain symbolism that is a portion of their imagery, and how that is a portion of their bigger worldview as a culture.

We initially discussed and contrasted the pantheistic worldviews of the PNW tribes to that of a Christian biblical worldview, and looked to scripture to see exactly where their beliefs had been in contrast to biblical truth. Students then researched original PNW styles – identifying and working with the suitable colors employed by the tribes. The final item becomes one particular that has redemptive worth. In that, we are not only staying correct to the attractive style of the PNW tribes, but illustrating elements of the one particular correct God and his creation.

In a sense, there are two methods to method artwork from a culture and peoples of a pretty distinctive religious view than our personal. We can appear at artwork with a seasoning of “common grace”. Theologian Louis Berkhof describes widespread grace as, “…widespread for the reason that its advantages are skilled by, or intended for, the entire human race without the need of distinction in between one particular individual and yet another. It is grace for the reason that it is undeserved and sovereignly bestowed by God.” Or, the artwork could be looked at via a biblical view one particular that serves as a filter – displaying what is praiseworthy and what could go against God and His inventive order.

On its personal, there is which means and message that can be discovered from searching at artwork irrespective of whether from inside our personal culture, or from distinctive cultures like that of the native tribes of the Pacific Northwest. But it is my job as an educator to facilitate concerns and discussion with my students when searching at art, and encourage them to respond according to a Christian point of view. No matter if I am searching at or speaking about any sort of art, I attempt to ask myself or pose to my students the following concerns in some manner:

Does it relate to or bring out some aspect of our faith?
Does it give us an chance to discern?
Does it aid us see the planet and God’s persons in special or new methods?
Does it convey feelings of anger, doubt, forgiveness, reconciliation, enjoy, or God’s grace?
Does it encourage and positively impact our hearts and minds?
Does it give chance to share the joy of being aware of Christ?

As an educator and artist, I am excited to bring my students into a forum exactly where we can view, go over, develop, and appreciate art – searching at its redemptive worth as effectively as how it speaks to us as Christians. At Calvin Christian, we are assisting our students appear at the planet via the “lenses” of scripture. It is actually an fascinating venture.


By the way, the student artwork developed was terrific! They had been pretty thoughtful in their investigation, method, and all round style. Soli Deo Gloria!


This weblog was initially posted in December 2017.
Ron Van Der Pol is Calvin Christian School’s Art Instructor for grades 7-12 and teaches History for grades six-7. 


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