Discipling Culture Through the Arts: With Jeremiah and Mona Enna

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At a Glance

Meet Jeremiah and Mona Enna, leaders who use ballet to influence culture. They focus not just on making “Christian” art, but on making excellent art. Their lives help us understand what it means to be a balladeer! 

God, the First Artist, created us in His image to make things that are beautiful, just like He did beginning in Genesis 1-2. 

As the Church embraces and encourages Christian artists to live out their important calling, art can become a tool to make a subtle and profound impact on the surrounding culture for Christ.

What You'll Hear

Chapter 1: Introducing Jeremiah Enna (2:45)

  • Jeremiah Enna was born into a Christian family in the US.
  • He decided he wanted to be a dancer.
  • After a short stint in the entertainment industry, he joined Eternia Dance Theater, a European Christian dance group.
 

Chapter 2: Introducing Mona Enna (7:44)

  • Mona grew up in a non-Christian family in Finland where she used dancing as a chance to get away from family drama.
  • She joined a Lutheran Church and became a Christian at a Youth Camp.
  • The Pastor invited her to join a Christian dance group.


Chapter 3: The Church’s Failure to use Balladeers
(15:23)

  • Mona’s pastor supported her and her goals of being part of a Christian dance group.
  • Jeremiah went to his church and asked for support for his Christian dance outreach program and was rejected because it’s not something people are used to.
  • The Church doesn’t really understand how to properly use balladeers to spread its message.
  • It is important that the Church bridge the Sacred-Secular gap and embrace things like Christian art.
 

Chapter 4: Good Art and Christian Art (27:22)

  • Christians should not just strive to make “Christian” art, but good art.
  • Mona shared a story about how people were drawn to her dance classes because they were good classes; but while in the classes they would learn about Jesus through the dances they were doing
 

Chapter 5: The Artist Training Program (36:00)

  • Mona and Jeremiah created an “Artist Training Program”, where they can teach kids both skills in art, and about Christianity.
  • They now offer an accredited bachelor’s degree in dance, and have earned the respect of many non-Christians because of the quality of their art.
 

Chapter 6: Underground (45:11)

  • Underground was a ballet Mona wrote about the Underground Railroad.
  • Mona was hesitant to work on it as a white person from Finland, but completed it with help from Jeremiah.
  • The Underground ballet was a huge hit, and has been performed every year for the last 17 years.
  • It provided a way to help heal racial tensions, and opened up avenues for churches to come together and build relationships.

Using the link above, you can read the transcript, listen along, and adjust the speed of the podcast while you listen.

There's just one space. There's no secular world and sacred world. There's just one world, so everyone dive in! 

Jeremiah Enna (20:17)

Go Deeper

A Call For Balladeers: Pursuing Art and Beauty for the Discipling of Nations

Through a biblical lens, Darrow Miller examines what it means to be a Christian artist and the role of beauty in the world. As the First Artist, God created the universe to be beautiful, and set a precedent for all mankind: to create art, not for religious obligation, but simply for the sake of beauty itself.

With scrutiny and honesty, A Call for Balladeers takes a hard look at the faulty perspective toward art and beauty held by many Christians today and uses the Bible to make a case for why the Church should be concerned with the arts. Miller provides a hopeful, liberating outlook for Christians who find themselves caught in a dilemma between their artistic endeavors and their desire to minister to their community.

Storling Dance Theater 

The Beauty of Dance. The Power of Story. Störling has had the unique opportunity to create works that have become landmarks for their community, giving audiences icons of dance to gaze into and find the richer meanings in life. Their performances will capture your heart, stir your soul, and revive your spirit.

The Culture House

The Culture House creates educational and professional arts programs for artists and the community to flourish as designed by God. We have a passion for creating excellent, well done art which is also why we have a division to encourage new work. At our core, we hold to a belief that each person was created in the image of God and endowed with creative gifts to improve our community and world.

Let’s fill the world with beauty and truth together.

Quotes

If we’re really going to see change, biblical change and transformation in a culture, it involves a very fundamental and significant way–the arts. Scott Allen (2:04)

So if somebody puts a gun to your head, would you still confess Christ? Mona Enna (10:22)

There’s just one space, there’s no secular world and sacred world, there’s just one world, so everyone dive in. Jeremiah Enna (20:17)

Now what you find is that a church has a band, and so they say, “Oh, we love the arts!” Because they have a band, or because they put paintings on the wall or something. And so what’s happened is not pursuing and understanding the arts fully, but kind of a decorative concept of, we use the arts, and therefore we understand the arts, we promote the arts, we love the arts, etc. But really, it’s just kind of a top layer of participation in the arts and using it for services. It’s like an ornament on the spiritual ministry. Jeremiah Enna and Scott Allen (20:34)

And the reality is that for even the Christian person who goes to church on Sunday, they listen to a sermon for 30 minutes or whatever, but they’re being discipled 24/7 by the arts and media world. 24/7. Jeremiah Enna (24:04)

If the churches are full in America and all the people sitting in church are being discipled in a proper and healthy, true Christian way, wouldn’t the culture look different? Jeremiah Enna (25:04)

Learned something new? Have a question? Enjoying the podcast? Let us know!

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