Friday, September 10, 2010

Balancing Art and Christianity

I have been doing some deep thinking and reading some philosophical books on Christians and the arts this summer, and it has solidified many of my thoughts on the subject. Last night we watched a movie that was a perfect example of where I’m at.

We watched “The List,” by Robert Whitlow with our daughter.
I believe that as a Christian artist I need not only to portray a beautiful Christ and a hope to this world, but to admit that we live in a fallen world, and that we live amongst evil and sin. If the world sees nothing but smiley face bumper stickers that say “Smile, Jesus Loves You,” and cute, big-eyed puppies with catchy Christian slogans, that same world is going to write us off as living in la-la land, and as people who can’t possibly understand their problems.
“The List,” rated PG, was perfect. It portrayed evil for what it was. It gave a number of beautiful pictures of believers, and offered hope. The overall message was PRAY MORE. That thought lingers with me still. The author and producer clearly painted the Christian message without the in-your-face obviousness that turns people off. I highly recommend it for you and your teens. (By the way, Whitlow is a master at this in all of his non-fiction books).

I believe that as an artist I must somehow paint a balance of dark and light, evil and good to meet people where they are and draw them to Christ. Hans Rookmaaker, in his book Modern Art and the Death of a Culture, states that we must use arts “not as a mere tool for evangelism but as an authentic expression of human life in a broken yet redeemed world.” THIS the world can relate to.
When we as believers show beautiful, squeaky-clean faces to the world and never let them know of our problems, we’ll be turned off immediately. This not only goes for fine arts, but music, books, movies, theatre, the internet, etc. While we are raising our children, we must be conscious about preparing them for the future. It’s important that we give them a balanced view of the world. It’s important that we prepare them, and ourselves, to speak to a lost world.

Francis Schaeffer says “Just because something is beautifully written it does not mean it is true.” We need to teach our children not only to write well, but to know how to speak to meet unbelievers where they are - presenting both darkness and light, sin, redemption and hope. Teach them to paint. To imagine. To create. To make music. To debate. To dance. The Harvard Business Review now says that “creative edge is what businesses now want.” Let’s train our children up to be creative people so that when they are grown they can be salt and light, as we are called to be.

Rookmaker says “To be Christian involves all our work and activity, understanding that there is nothing neutral, nothing apart from Christ’s reign.” Paul calls us to be Jews to the Jews and Greek to the Greeks. This means we need to study and understand their problems and be able to meet them where they are. And prepare our children to be the best they can be in whatever area they have been gifted in to reach lost people.

Psalm 137:5 says, “If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill.” My we be both skilled and prepared, and may we remember Who it is who gifted us. And, we shouldn’t forget, the way we live our lives before God and the world should speak loudest of all.

1 comment:

  1. This is a great message. Very well said.

    Trudy &