If, in the past two decades, your church has launched an arts ministry, or held a spiritual writing workshop, or devoted a few dollars to purchasing textiles or paintings for the expanses of previously blank walls, you might want to write Gregory Wolfe a thank-you note.
Let me not overstate: the energy around faith and art in evangelical circles has been, in recent years, enormous, and many organizations and individuals have contributed. But ask anyone who's involved in conversations about faith and art to tick off the sine qua nons, and they will include Wolfe.
Wolfe has devoted most of his adult life to weaving a braid of faith and art. The first strand of the braid is Image, a journal that Wolfe—who cut his journalistic teeth putting together a mimeographed literary mag in junior high—founded just over 20 years ago. He knew three things when he started Image: it "had to focus on art and faith"; it had to offer a "creative voice versus polemical, political, analytical"; and it had to focus on the present.
"However much I might love an essay on Rembrandt or Bach," says Wolfe, he won't run it. In Image's pages you'll instead meet sculptor Roger Feldman, poet Martha Serpas, memoirist Annie Dillard. These are, in the words of managing editor Mary Kenagy Mitchell, "people who would also be published in secular venues, but who want a venue for the best art and lit that engages with Christian faith." (If you've not read the magazine, the best way to get a taste is to pick up Bearing the Mystery, just out from Eerdmans, an anthology of work from Image's 20 years.)
The second strand is the Glen, a week-long writing and arts workshop Wolfe helped launch in the mid-1990s, and held, currently, at St. John's College in Santa ...1