Posted by Pastor Jim Fikkert

logo1WHAT ARE WE DOING? On Thursday, April 3, the church space at 312 Pine St will be hosting its first art show as part of the Skagit Valley Art Escapes First Thursday art walk. This is the first step in transforming our space into an active art space that not only shows art, but where art is created.

WHY AN ART SPACE? Since we moved into the Pine Square space, we have been searching for a way to make it part of the downtown culture. We didn’t want to simply create a dead storefront (a business that takes up a first floor storefront space, but offers no services to a pedestrian walking by). When we first moved in our kids were in there on Sunday, severely limiting the possibilities. When we got the new kids space, we began to work toward a space that could be used for other purposes (retail, etc.). Our continued use of the space for Bible studies, worship practice, and storage made this impossible. We were willing to be patient and wait for the right thing to come along.

This year, the opportunity to join with the Mount Vernon Downtown Association to promote arts in the downtown helped cultivate the idea of converting our space into a gallery, but a gallery is not the desired end. A gallery is a place where people come to look at art. We are hoping for a space that does much more. We are hoping to have a space that becomes an active arts center. We are hoping to have a space where people are engaging their talents to create, debate, and relate.

WHY ENGAGE? The church a gathering of Christians called to come together to be a light to those around us. Our role as light is to shine truth into any and all situations, from relationships, to work, to putting dinner on the table. In order to do this, we have to connect the reality of Christ (the truth) to the things of this world. We need to be the connectors between He who brings life and life itself. This is what it means to ENGAGE. Philosopher Albert Borgmann defines engagement as, a term to specify the symmetry that links humanity and reality.

Engagement describes those things that bring human existence into understanding; that make the being-in-the-world dichotomy most real. Borgmann goes on to reveal how Christians can act to help make this connection: We may be concerned to develop and use our gifts to the fullest and so find our way to the rich and grand things that require and reward such self-realization. Or we may be concerned to guard and oblige the great things of the world and find that doing so makes us most fully human. This symmetry between humanity and reality is how people recognize their own humanness. All around us people are giving up on engagement. In our society, we hide behind screens, measure our relationships by likes and followers, and judge people and things by how they benefit us in pragmatic terms. We have truncated human existence into a few tasks and allowed the vibrant reality of community and joy to be robbed of its beauty; by giving up engagement, people are in reality giving up humanity.

In all of this we have, as a society, shifted from a culture of creativity to a culture of consumers. As consumers, we care most about that which benefits us directly. As a culture of consumers, we look to others to do creating for us. As consumers, we no longer have an investment in our communities. BUT there is still an inherent desire to be part of something. To belong. To create. This space is an investment in that hope.

HOW WILL THIS WORK? The community that God has built at Communion Church is full of people who have a background in the arts and have fought (and are fighting) to figure out what this relationship between art and Christianity looks like. We now have the environment to have that discussion, however messy it may be, in a public setting, with others present. We have a unique perspective on art, life, ambition, creativity, aesthetics, all built on the foundation of Jesus Christ and Him crucified. We have the people to take a hold of this opportunity and make it a reality. We have the space to do it in. You have been made for such a time as this…what will you do with it?