Christian Art

What I want is Christian artists who create art that is imbued with their faith.

What I see in “Christian” music is what I see in the church’s confusion when it comes to culture in general. “Oooo… Pop music is popular. Let’s make Christian pop music and we’ll make the gospel popular.”

Ok, so its probably different then that, and like Tara said, the people making those songs are probably sincere.

What I want is something more along the lines of Johnny Cash’s Man in Black or U2’s Grace. These are clearly popular songs, enjoyable by non-Christians.

This universality applies, of course, to other art. Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy were distinctly Christian novelists and wrote novels that were distictly Christian, but their works are loved by atheists and Christians alike. Not only were they universal, they were timeless.

More recently, C.S. Lewis’s friend (and fellow Christian) Tolkein wrote Lord of the Rings and the story, with distinctly Christian themes, was voted Book of the Century and made into a popular movie with those themes faithfully carried over by a director without a “Christian” agenda. How many purveyors of “Christian Music” can say they’ve influenced the world?

So, what makes these artists and their art different from the trash we get today carrying the label “Christian Music”?

The key word is: “imbue”. These artists created great works because they didn’t set out to prosletize, or to write create only for Christians. Nor did they see the need to censor themselves. They did what they loved and, as the result of who they were, their Chistianity penetrated the whole result.

Some people are trying to make art like this. A friend of mine, Ephrem, has a site whose aim is “to explore a theory of literature informed by the Incarnation”, by creating art. If nothing else, it gives Christians artists a place to express themselves. Perhaps, like Lewis-Tolkein-Williams, they’ll turn out something that stands the tests of universality and timelessness.

Christian pop music, by contrast, is too self-concious, too self-censoring. I won’t say it can never be great, but it continues to stumble over itself.

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