Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Christian Arts Subculture

Christians seem obsessed, and rightfully so, with producing art and entertainment. God created the arts and he gave Christians artistic gifts and desires. He gave us the ability and the inclination to create. But there is a big problem with the Christian arts scene. It has become what can only be described as a ghetto.

The Christian arts world is segregated from reality. With very few exceptions, the music, dance, drama, film, literature and visual art that the Christian world produces has separated itself from anything that we might call the secular world. The very few instances when Christian artists have moved into the mainstream (these are almost always musicians) the motivation has been the entirely un-Christian attitude of greed.

So why has this happened? Why do we have inferior art in the Christian world? After all, we are biblically challenged to give our very best and to do our very best for the Lord. So, why don't we?
  1. The Christian arts subculture is consumed with making money. No experimentation can take place because it might interfere with the profit margin. The Christian music world only produces what has sold in the past. It is all about the bottom line.
  2. The Christian publishers and record companies are not owned by secular corporations. This is true in nearly every case. The profits and marketability of a product have become more important than ever. And beside that, the heads of these corporation have little, if any Christian context to evaluate whether or not a product is Christian and has quality.
  3. The Christian arts subculture almost always imitates secular art. This keeps the Christian world a little bit behind everyone else all the time. It also serves as a stagnating agent.
  4. The Christian arts subculture, bound as it is to imitation of the secular and the concern for profits, lacks creativity. In the Bible we are told that there is nothing new under the sun. This is definitely true in Christianity. If you want something new, creative, innovative or different you have to look to the secular world.
  5. The Christian arts subculture lacks excellence. Again, the reasons have already been stated. Christians do not produce art, but products. The production of commodities leads to an "adequate" mindset. We determine that when things are good enough we can sell them.
  6. Finally, the Christian subculture lacks variety. This is true in every form of art. If you have read about three Christian novels, you know the basic story of all the rest. If you have listened to four Christian albums, you can sing along to the others.

God is the master of Creation. He made it all, after all. How sad that his followers, that's you and I, allow mediocrity to be labeled as Christian. Open your eyes and ears. Know what is going on in the Christian world and start to make a difference.

No comments: