For centuries the words Church and culture were all but synonymous. This close linkage posted challenges for both culture and Church, but it gave artists the opportunity to ply their craft with the patronage of the Church, and to express their faith through their art. With the collapse of Christendom, these connections have frayed or broken. The disconnect has become so pervasive that many outside the Church, while not hostile, are unconcerned with faith in general or Christianity in particular. The Church has more recently wrestled the dragon of relevance: Do Christians still have anything to offer culture?
With its new St. George’s Institute of Church and Cultural Life, St. George’s Church, Nashville, aims to slay the dragon of relevance by equipping Christians to engage with culture in meaningful and lasting ways. The institute sponsored its first conference, “C3: Christ, Church and Culture,” Feb. 24-26 in Nashville. Far from being another in a long line of Christian quests for relevance, the conference explored deeper questions surrounding the interface of culture and faith.