The Arts Engage the Heart and Prepare the Soul
In this edition of Pacific we celebrate the arts. The arts are an expression of our cultures, values, hopes and even our trepidations. They communicate the inexpressible, broaden our imagination, drive us into self-reflection and inspire us to learn.
During my college years I signed up for a class in opera. My background afforded no opportunity to learn anything in these areas, and I must confess that I reasoned I did not like opera because I did not understand it. So, I set aside my prejudice.
To my surprise the professor decided to teach through performance. I had no vocal performance experience, but neither did anyone else. This step of faith in one area of the arts unlocked a cultural view of the world which broadened an appreciation for other expressions of the visual and performing arts. The experience roused my courage for an imaginative rendezvous with the life of the mind. The shackles that obscured my perception of God and his world no longer limited the possibilities of a future filled with faith and hope.
Fresno Pacific University is launching a new Culture and Arts Center not only to engage the life of the mind of our students, but as a catalyst for change in the lives of our neighbors. Children with unfulfilled dreams and senior adults with unrealized hopes will join with our students to engage the arts. Our goal is that this union will nurture peace to the soul and deepen faith in Christ’s creative power to transform lives.
The university’s prophetic vision is to extend the influence of the Kingdom of God through “Engaging the Cultures and Serving the Cities.” The arts engage the heart and prepare the soul while conciliating fears that confine our thoughts. Psalms 19:1-2 says: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.” Our God is the supreme artist, doing wonders beyond our comprehension, but growing in us a reverence for his mighty presence in all the earth. Engagement in the arts can speak to us if we listen, direct us if we can see and gift us if we are willing to receive. These expressions are a gift from God sent to empower us to enjoy and share with others.
This issue features alumni and students who honor God through creative exercises. It also unveils the plans for the new Culture and Arts Center—a place dedicated for service in the arts.