Compare Christian art to secular art. What do you find? How does the quality of our work match up to secular artists? As Christians, we should seek to redeem the arts rather than conform to somebody else’s creative expression.
I consider music to be my number one hobby. Even as I write, I have a Jack Johnson concert playing on my television. I also enjoy a quality movie with a captivating plot. Sadly, too much Christian media has been created with the intent of tickling emotions instead of engaging our entire person – the intellect, emotion, and soul.
Consequently, here are three specific ways I believe we’ve failed, followed by three proposed solutions.
- We’ve created disingenuous, flaky movies. The Christian life isn’t equivalent to a peaceful jaunt through a wildflower-ridden field. For some reason, that’s what Christian producers portray.
- We’ve written repetitive, lyrically dead music. A majority of Christian music doesn’t have quality sound or a powerful message. Turn on Christian radio and after an hour of listening, you’ll notice similar sounding songs and a lack of depth in the music.
- We’re too willing to bend, instead of starting trends. Christian labels and producers want to make money, so they often adopt the world’s method of entertainment marketing. Quantity over quality seems to be the mantra of the times. As Christians, we should strive to put our best on the table, even if we take our time and produce less.
Criticism is done best when it leads us to something better. For that reason, I also propose three simple fixes to the problems above.
- Create deeply artistic films rooted in themes of Scripture. Consider The Passion of the Christ. Mel Gibson incorporated elements of Dark Romanticism while using the Gospel of John as his backdrop for content and scripting. The result was a film with superior depth and a true representation of the Christian faith – one of beauty through suffering (a concept more common than superficial victories so readily displayed in today’s cheesy films).
- Write lyrics that blend honesty, artistry, and Scripture all in one. Many listeners are sick of hearing about the struggle to trust God in hard times. Branch out. Diversify. Read the Bible and bring something fresh to the table. As an aside, I think Shane and Shane are one example to follow right now. They write quality music that incorporates the whole person.
- Be okay with being different. The best art is that which shows us what we’ve overlooked about our world. So, quality creativity is going to be somewhat different. As Christians, we should embrace our differences and use them to start our own trend of heartfelt, honest artistic expression.
I have a positive outlook on art in the Christian circle, although I think it needs some reform. My prayer is through the influence of individuals like Mel Gibson and Shane and Shane, we will be able to create purer, quality art in the future.