New City Friends,
Joseph’s tools included a hammer and a saw. His son Jesus built stories and crafted metaphors, giving structure to God’s kingdom through creative figures of speech.
One of Jesus’ best known constructions describes his friends as being the “salt of the earth” and “light to the world” (Matthew 5.13-14). Salt was used then—as now—to season food. Salt also performed a more critical function, preserving good meat from going bad. Light presumes a degree of darkness and also revelation.
Both these images—salt and light—have given shape to cultural engagement among God’s people through the centuries. I find in them, today, a twin call to the careful stewardship of culture and, if necessary, a loving prophetic stance against it, a creative tension that characterizes New City’s involvement with the Square Room at Café 4 on Market Square in downtown Knoxville.
As salt, we are delighted to preserve and promote artistic gifts for the flourishing of God’s good creation. As light, we are strategically positioned to offer shafts of kingdom truth and beauty and hope to a culture that all too often and easily loses its way.
Accordingly, it is for these reasons that I’m glad to share with you here about all that is going on in the Square Room @ Cafe4 this Winter-Spring: from the light that will be cast through the faithful musical lyricism of Sara Groves (January 17), David Clifton (February 21), Over the Rhine (March 6), and David Wilcox (May 22) to the salt sprinkled in the artful entertainment of Robinella (February 14), Levi Kreis (Feb 20), Andrew Ripp (March 1), Cereus Bright (March 7), John Mark McMillan (April 10), the Teetotalers (April 19), WakeOwl (May 3) and The Yanks (May 17)—all the way through the eclectic mix of Jazz with the KJO every Tuesday night, singer-songwriter and local band showcases every Wednesday night, and a sample of drama in the work of Fiction (February 7-8) and musical theatre in StarQueen (March 13-15).
Frankly, it’s not always easy to give integral expression as salt and light, being in the world but not of it, celebrating beauty and embodying love in ways that are real and redolent—and every now and then a little confusing, not unlike some of Jesus’ figures of speech.
My hope is that New City’s work would function as one of Jesus’ kingdom parables, a work that might resonate and reveal, and even risk a measure of misunderstanding in an effort to creatively engage the imagination of our city through the Arts for missional purposes.
Your support and patronage of the Square Room @ Cafe4 (www.thesquareroom.com) are greatly appreciated. Hope to see you soon…and perhaps even with a friend who might benefit from a little salt and light. Thanks for your time here.