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Hollywood needs missionaries, Christian arts advocate says

GLORIETA, N.M. (BP)–Christian writers are needed to bring the arts back to the church and to send missionaries to Hollywood, Barbara Nicolosi told participants in the fourth annual Christian Writers’ Conference, Oct. 17-21 at Glorieta, a LifeWay Conference Center, in New Mexico

Nicolosi is director of “Act One,” a Hollywood-based organization that encourages and trains Christian writers to impact the contemporary culture.

“The 20th century was unique in human history because it was the only century in which the arts and faith were separated and antagonistic,” she maintained.

Bringing the arts back to the church, she said, will benefit the church. “A beautiful piece of art can stir people inside for something they don’t even know. It can make them lonely for heaven,” she said.

The church needs the arts, she continued, but the arts also need the church.

“Art without faith can only talk in certainty about one thing: darkness,” Nicolosi said. “Twentieth-century art had an obsession with the dark side of human nature.” The church can correct the dark tendencies of art because faith will bring hope to the arts, she said.

To become missionaries to Hollywood, Nicolosi said Christians should begin with prayer, and then make a serious attempt to get involved.

“We have to reach people in Hollywood with our prayers first; then we can reach them with our witness and our actions.”

She urged the church to try to study Hollywood’s culture instead of just criticizing it.

“Missions begins when we go to them and listen,” she said. “We go, we look and we see how the Spirit of God is preparing the way for the Word. We affirm what is good, we build on it and then we share what we have.

“The media got too big too fast, and the church got too afraid because it couldn’t control them. The easiest thing to do is condemn,” Nicolosi said.

Because of the church’s constant criticism, Hollywood will “perceive us as brain-numb naysayers. They don’t get us,” she said. “When all they hear us say is ‘no,’ ‘bad’ and ‘don’t,’ they react.”

Instead of being disgusted by what comes out of Hollywood, Nicolosi suggested that Christians pray for the culture and for missionaries to Hollywood.

Nicolosi urged conference participants to encourage young people to pursue the arts and become missionaries.

“Beg them to be writers, artists, poets and filmmakers,” she urged. “If we don’t get good Christian kids in the acting profession, we’ll never have good Christian role models in Hollywood.”

The 2001 Glorieta Writers Conference will be Oct. 16-20, 2001. Call 1-800-797-4222 or visit www.glorieta.com for information.

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  • Jim L. Wilson