The Cafe

These are links that might be interesting to Christians who are artists, and also possibly to church leaders. Some are inspirational, some are thought-provoking, some may be controversial, and some… well, you decide. We will not post things on here simply to make judgments about them one way or another, but we do want to get people thinking about the nature of art, worship, the Christian life, and so forth.

This month’s installment of The CafĂ© is all about Christmas.

These two videos are taken from a two-day, sold-out Christmas show that was put on by Sugar Creek Baptist Church in Sugarland, TX. In these videos, you will see Cirque du Soleil-style acrobatics, indoor kite flying, lots of aerial rigging, and many dancers. It’s an amazing multi-media experience put on by a church that is obviously large and not hurting for tithers. Sugar Creek Baptist describes its Sunday worship services this way:

Our worship has elements of music, creative arts and technology also used to communicate and inspire. Depending on the service you attend, you will see a
choir, orchestra, band or a mix of all three onstage. During times of congregational singing, a worship leader along with a team of singers comes to the front of the stage to lead.

These two videos definitely show exciting creativity, and the end result can be awe-inspiring. All music is live, according to the blurb on one of the videos. But, the question must be put forth: Is it worshipful as much as it is entertaining?

Most churches don’t have the budget or the number of possible performers to put on a production such as this. However, Sugar Creek isn’t the only church doing events such as this. Camarillo Community Church (Camarillo, CA), The Assembly (Broken Arrow, OK), Central Wesleyan Church (Holland, MI), and Mariners (Irvine, CA) have put on similar shows, most of them for Christmas. Still, it’s worth a look-see to get the creative juices flowing and see if there is something you can take away from this production for your art, ministry, and church.

This Christmas dance is in stark contrast to the production described above. The theatrics, acrobatics, lighting show, multi-media effects, etc. are not present in this church’s Christmas production. Still, it is a beautiful and interesting dance that inspires a spirit of worship, I think (if you can get over the camera angle that seems to have been taken from the third row of the congregation; a few heads are in the way).

Some of these dancers are well-trained, but most seem to view dancing as a hobby and a joy rather than a profession or passion. That’s the gamut that most churches in the real world have. The dresses are interesting as well, and I think they tie this whole production together.

This news report from FoxNews starts with a piece about Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA (near Irvine). The music is at 1:11-3:08 and again at 4:42-5:18, so you can fast-forward to those parts if your computer loads quickly enough. It brings to mind the question of what is a proper song to play/sing in a church service. I mean, "Feliz Navidad" is a great song that makes me just want to sing along, even when it’s played in the grocery store. There is definitely nothing inherently bad or un-Christian about the song, but except for the mention of Christmas, which is, after all CHRIST-mas, there is nothing inherently Christian about the song either.

Is this song a good use of a church’s time and resources? Most churches have a service that is about 1 ½ to 2 hours long, some a little shorter, some a little longer. Out of all the waking hours we have (approximately 98), a 2 hour service takes up about 2% of our awake time during the week. Add a Wednesday service and a Bible study, and a committed, plugged-in church-goer might spend about 5% of his or her awake time at church each week. I would hope each church leader would weigh heavily each choice he makes about what is included in each service.

That aside, the people in the choir seemed to be enjoying themselves, and maybe putting on a happy show is as important as putting on a hard-hitting show. After all, no one wants to hear a message that’s boring, even if it is the most important message ever.

These three websites have paintings about Christmas. The first two ( and have many older paintings of Christmas or Christmas-related pictures, all taken from Bible stories. You will recognize some of the masters in this list.

The third one ( is a series of thumbnails of Christmas art that depicts the difficulty many Christians have coming to terms with Santa Claus. Some of this art is okay, but most are not exactly shining examples of art at its best. In fact, some of it I struggle to call “art” at all. But it does give someone interested in Christian arts food for thought, even if it is greasy, high-fat fast food.

Here is an activity that’s fun for the whole family! Maybe you remember making paper snowflakes as a child and hanging them up in your classroom’s window. The sites above have wild patterns that you can actually print out to impress your friends and family with your snowflake-making prowess. Of course, you don’t want to lie about your talents, but it’s a new way to think about an old artform that’s considered somewhat childish by many… and a bunch of the smaller ones would look pretty on a Christmas tree.

Finally, Diana Wolverton, a Christian artist who makes word art inspired by hymns, has a very interesting site. If you click on “Art,” a drop-down menu gives you the option “Free Christian Art.” Click on that, and you can print out some of her work for your own, non-commercial use, such as gift tags and Christmas tree ornaments. Very cool!

Post your comments and ideas inspired by these links, and/or links to your own artistic endeavors as "comments" to this article.


Anonymous said...

woah! That dance thing is cool i wish my church did something like that--on a smaller scale of course.

Anonymous said...

Were making snowflakes tonight with the kids. Thanks for posting the link.