What is a balladeer?

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You may be wondering, “What is a balladeer?” To answer that question, here is an excerpt from Chapter 3 of Darrow Miller’s newly released A Call for Balladeers: Pursuing Art and Beauty for the Discipling of Nations.

When I speak of a balladeer, I have several elements in mind.

  1. A balladeer is a Christian. Obviously, many balladeers are non-Christians. But I am referring specifically to Christ-followers, those who are in love with the Creator and thankful for salvation.
  2. The balladeer is a gifted artist (poet, singer/songwriter, painter, dancer, filmmaker, etc.). Whether novices or professionals, balladeers take their art seriously.
  3. A balladeer is always thinking deeply and theologically, conscientiously seeking to function from a biblical worldview, not from a modern or postmodern perspective. He or she is committed to lifelong learning in God’s Word and the breadth of Scripture (the whole story from Creation to the Fall, from the Fall to Redemption, and from Redemption to Consummation) and the depth of Scripture (its wholistic concepts and metaphysical roots and theology). There is no sacred-secular divide. All of reality belongs to God, not just the “religious” parts.
  4. The balladeer is a lay theologian who is able to articulate what is true, beautiful, and good. He or she speaks prophetically by speaking truth and virtue into the public square. A balladeer critiques popular culture; he or she doesn’t mimic it. The balladeer is a storyteller conveying a morality tale in order to help create culture that reflects the Kingdom of God.
  5. A balladeer is on a path to artistic excellence. Many artists who excel are creating destructive messages. Balladeers can and should create excellent art that leads to life, rather than death. Achieving excellence should be the goal of every Christian artist.

If we view each of these elements as a diagram of overlapping circles, the balladeer occupies the intersection. It is at this intersection that a movement can be born! The reformation of culture needs those who have the courage and talent to speak truth through their art. Art is no mere pastime; it is a God-given gift. As Hans Rookmaaker understood, art needs no justification, and artists don’t need to go searching for one to engage in the arts as their calling.

You can learn more about the history of the word ‘balladeer’ on page 50 when you purchase A Call for Balladeers. Do you know a balladeer? This book will be a huge encouragement to artists and non-artists alike. We have several options for you to purchase a paperback or digital version of the book, and we have a growing movement of balladeers. Learn more at acallforballadeers.com

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