Thursday, August 24, 2006

Art: for the church AND from the church

This is based on my response on a discussion board on

We need to understand that there are definitely two tracks in the American Evangelical church, in terms of music, books, and movies: 1) Artistic efforts "of the church, by the church, for the church," that we probably should not foist on the world due to their preachiness and objective lack of quality, or at least not be offended/defensive when our non-Christian friends point out their preachiness and objective lack of quality. I have plenty of books & music (and have rented lots of movies) in this category; This is what we mostly find in the "christian" industries here: christian bookstores, CCM radio, christian movies

and 2) Artistic efforts that attempt to speak to the broader culture. These will tend to be less preachy, more overtly artistic, perhaps more symbolic in their language / imagery. These are the works most likely to be criticized by the Western Church, as they might not fit our narrow definition of art that is "Christian." I am a fan of much of this stuff, too. This is space where a number of disillusioned musicians dwell -- I won't name them, because they might not agree with that characterization.

Fans of Category 1 tend to be dismissive and judgmental towards fans of Category 2 . . . . . and vice versa. This is the problem -- we need to be supportive of both, or at least recognize that both can be valid. I personally enjoy both of these types of expressions, I believe both have their places, let's just make sure we know in a particular case which one we're talking about so we can properly adjudge it.


Cami said...

Good post, Prof. And you're 100% right in my view. Personally I don't care for category 1 types at all. I'm not very eclectic when it comes to entertainment; music or movies. Jesus told parables, great parables, and they were actually very controversial. Just for one example: think of how he compared the Father to the unjust judge. Pretty risky stuff! ; )

I.I. said...

Interesting take. Thank you.

I don't get on people who want to just keep their entertainment from the kingdom, although that's not for me. It's just the judgement of those who do, and the condescension of those who don't . . . that's what irritates me.

Francine said...

Glad you shared this on your blog. I was greateful for your comments on CW. I agree. I think it depends on how God has burdened your heart as to which group (from an artists' point of view) you fall into. As one in Christ, we should be supportive of both.