Creative Explores a Biblical Theology of the Arts in the ThM Program

Michael Maiocco

For Michael Maiocco, creativity and theology go hand-in-hand.

As an artist who co-founded a creative studio and previously served as a creative director for a non-profit, Maiocco enrolled in Western Seminary’s Master of Theology (ThM) program with a desire to explore how the Bible and theology could help him refine his career as a creative.

The Florida-native chose Western because of its faculty and its emphasis on biblical theology, even though it meant flying across the country to attend ThM seminars. He graduated in 2023 after completing his ThM thesis: “Pure Imagination: A Biblical-Theological Study of the Sanctification of the Imagination.”

Maiocco’s thesis allowed him to explore what the sanctification of our imaginations as Christians should look like. He developed some of the implications of how God cleansing our imaginations, along with the lies we believe and idols we create, ought to connect to being made into the image of Christ. Studying this issue from a biblical-theological perspective had direct application to his career as a designer and artist.

The same week that Maiocco finished his thesis, he accepted a job as a creative specialist with Compassion International. He looks back with gratitude on way seminary impacted both his head and his heart.

“Western was one of the most life altering experiences I’ve ever had,” he says. “At first seminary had been about ‘What can I learn?’ But I came to realize that my time at Western was so much more about my holistic formation into the image of Christ.”

Maiocco credits the mentorship from faculty as contributing to this spiritual transformation. He appreciated the fact that his professors were all involved in the local church, whether as teaching pastors, elders, or deacons.

“I look up to them as professors, but they became friends to me, and were so involved in my formation as a believer, as a husband, and as a man.”

He also appreciated the confessional community that shaped his approach to theology and the arts.

“When you show up and do life with your cohort, it gets real and beautiful. I don’t think that kind of soul formation would have happened anywhere else.”

When Maiocco isn’t doing creative things, he finds time to surf several days a week, which gives him a chance to spend time in nature away from screens and technology. He has also contributed several articles to Western’s Transform website, and posts frequent artistic content on his social media channels.