We’re glad to say that last year’s conference was not just a one-off, but that a second annual Canvas Conference is planned for August 11th-12th, again in Portland, OR.
How creativity relates to theology is a topic of ongoing conversation among contemporary Christians. While, in a former era, Christianity and the arts enjoyed an especially fruitful marriage (just think of Bach’s voluminous sacred compositions, or Michelangelo’s majestic work on the Sistine Chapel), in modern times, it often seems as if this union has been all but dissolved. So much so that, especially in the modern West, many would say the relationship between Christianity and creativity (at least of a variety marked by substance, excellence, and originality) has been defined more by antithesis than synthesis. The examples of this are manifold: kitschy religious-themed trinkets; derivative, sappy, theologically vacuous songs; and cartoonish portraits of a blue-eyed Jesus in flowing robes.
God was just doing what He always does, taking these weird rappers with no theological training, and He puts His glory on display. We were baffled. Just for us to be participants in that has been super encouraging.
We have a very humble means and a very lofty task, and that keeps us dependent. It also ensures that we are motivated by the content. What’s going to motivate us? We’re not motivated by how many copies we’re going to sell, which could then lead to shaping the communication to what is popular or shaping songs by what is popular. Sales aren’t a factor for us.
Our aim with Humble Beast is excellence with a posture of humility. We want to humbly present the gospel and make Jesus known, and in a way that doesn’t put so much of an emphasis on hip-hop that all else is secondary, yet at the same time competing in the marketplace, that when people listen they will digest it. Because if it’s not quality music, no one is going to listen to it anyway.