Darrow Miller and Friends

A Call for Balladeers

Recently I had the privilege of teaching at the YWAM base in Puerto Rico. I love being with these folks because of their heart for the message of Biblical worldview, and their readiness to apply DNA teaching in creative art forms. These young people are seeking to be balladeers.

For years, as I have taught The Power of Story, I have urged young Christians gifted in the arts to speak prophetically to the culture. Many Christian artists lead worship, do evangelism, and entertain the church. But few are functioning from a Biblical worldview to think theologically, and create poetry, music, dance, films, and novels that critique culture and bring hope and light to darkness and death. The Puerto Rico YWAM team, led by director Yarley Nino, have such a vision.

Here is a brief film clip they produced for the 4/14 Window initiative of Luis Bush’s Transform World movement:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJ365TzA1nI&w=560&h=315]

In Puerto Rico, my good friend (and DNA board member) Bob Evans and I met with Yarley and John Ray, a gifted singer/songwriter, to talk about how we might work together to launch a school for balladeers.

Today, I read an article, Literature and the Search for Liberty, by Peruvian-Spanish novelist, writer, journalist, politician, and Nobel Prize laureate Mario Vargas Llosa. He writes passionately to show that culture is upstream from politics and economics. A system that separates economics and politics from a vision and ideals will reduce human beings to consuming machines. He argues that the artist cannot have his/her ideas separated from the art form. Whether conscious of it or not, the artist is conveying a worldview and principles through her or his art. Llosa writes:

Mario Vargas Llosa

Having abandoned the Marxist myths that took in so many of my generation, I soon came to genuinely believe that I had found a truth that had to be shared in the best way I knew—through the art of letters. Critics on the left and right have often praised my novels only to distance themselves from the ideas I’ve expressed. I do not believe my work can be separated from its ideals.

It is the function of the novelist to tell timeless and universal truths through the device of a fashioned narrative. A story’s significance as a piece of art cannot be divorced from its message, any more than a society’s prospects for freedom and prosperity can be divorced from its underlying principles. The writer and the man are one and the same, as are the culture and its common beliefs. In my writing and in my life I have pursued a vision not only to inspire my readers but also to share my dream of what we can aspire to build here in our world. …

Then there are those who have coldly reduced all questions of humanity to a matter of economics and see the market as a panacea. In doing so they ignore the role of ideas and culture, the true foundation of civilization. Without customs and shared beliefs to breathe life into democracy and the market, we are reduced to the Darwinian struggle of atomistic and selfish actors that many on the left rightfully see as inhuman.

For more, please see Llosa’s complete article.

Today we need Christian artists who are steeped in a Biblical worldview and can think in terms of deep theological truth, to use their gifts and imagination to reveal the Primary Creator to a broken world, without the use of overtly religious themes and frameworks. (For more on this, please see my article, Worldview and the Arts.)

My hope and prayer is to encourage young artists, and to help them begin a community of balladeers.

– Darrow Miller

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Darrow is co-founder of the Disciple Nations Alliance and a featured author and teacher. For over 30 years, Darrow has been a popular conference speaker on topics that include Christianity and culture, apologetics, worldview, poverty, and the dignity of women. From 1981 to 2007 Darrow served with Food for the Hungry International (now FH association), and from 1994 as Vice President. Before joining FH, Darrow spent three years on staff at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland where he was discipled by Francis Schaeffer. He also served as a student pastor at Northern Arizona University and two years as a pastor of Sherman Street Fellowship in urban Denver, CO. In addition to earning his Master’s degree in Adult Education from Arizona State University, Darrow pursued graduate studies in philosophy, theology, Christian apologetics, biblical studies, and missions in the United States, Israel, and Switzerland. Darrow has authored numerous studies, articles, Bible studies and books, including Discipling Nations: The Power of Truth to Transform Culture (YWAM Publishing, 1998), Nurturing the Nations: Reclaiming the Dignity of Women for Building Healthy Cultures (InterVarsity Press, 2008), LifeWork: A Biblical Theology for What You Do Every Day (YWAM, 2009), Rethinking Social Justice: Restoring Biblical Compassion (YWAM, 2015), and more. These resources along with links to free e-books, podcasts, online training programs and more can be found at Disciple Nations Alliance (https://disciplenations.org).