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 Christians and the Arts

I'm just curious about something. Vocationally there are Christians in nearly every walk of life. Engineering, ditch digging, law enforcement, manufacturing, farming, etc... and we do not question whether whatever someone produces in their chosen vocation is evangelistic or "Christian" (altho we would all agree a Christian should not participate in a vocation or job that would lead them to do or produce something that goes against scripture).

But when it comes to the arts, most Christians today dont allow the same freedom. If you are a Christian and a song writer... and you write a song and it's not a Christian song... some will question your salvation.

The same is true for creative writing, painting, etc. Christians always seem to have the opinion that any creative or artful expression by other Christians has to be focussed on faith.

Where does this come from? Why do we do this?

What has brought this to mind is that I am working on a writing project and someone asked me about it. They were surprised that it is not "Christian" in nature. There is nothing about it that is un-Christian, it's just that this project is not overtly Christian. Not by design, it's just where it is, simple as that. Nothing more nothing less, and the last thing I want to do is force an evangelistic theme onto what I am writing because at that point it loses it's creativitiy... and I am no longer writing because I love to write... make sense?

(and yes, this project is partly why I have not been around much lately...)

Anyone have any thoughts on this subject?

Krispy

 2012/2/27 10:55
roadsign
Member



Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3776


 Re: Christians and the Arts

Quote:
What has brought this to mind is that I am working on a writing project and someone asked me about it. They were surprised that it is not "Christian" in nature.



Hi Krispy,
I also write in a secular context – for the local paper. I write stories about people, businesses, organizations and such. I thankfully don’t have to deal with hard-core churched folk breathing down my back, criticizing me for being too “secular”. But still I see a place for our faith.

In our research and preparation we invariably see evidence of human fallenness. We simply can’t separate our faith from our work; but we can use our assignments to reveal a positive quality of our faith. Few may remember the details of our projects, but in the long run people do remember something about us – and that we care about what’s important to them. “Consider other’s interests ahead of your own”. The world doesn't just need our God-talk. Society is like a dry sponge craving for some drop of goodness. And our little offerings can go a long way in revealing the reality of God.

Here’s another way our projects can be an influence: I just wrote about a bird watcher in my town. He addressed the threat to our birds caused by changed farming habits. I expounded that point without either defending or slandering our local farmers. After all, we are all part of that problem – the insatiable drive to get ahead. That point, in itself, can heighten the collective conscience to the consequences of our life choices and habits. God can use that too – even in a local paper.

To me, that same general idea holds true for my “secular” musical involvements. … Oh…. and church isn’t that far from being secular in itself!

Does that address your thoughts, Krispy?
May God bless your project!
And make sure you do a good job! That goes a long way in being good testimony for God.

Diane


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Diane

 2012/2/27 12:16Profile
pilgrim777
Member



Joined: 2011/9/30
Posts: 1211


 Re: Christians and the Arts

Some people don't realize there is a wide latitude of freedom in Christ and that if what you are doing is not of true faith then it is sin.

That is the measuring stick. Is it of faith? And I would add (because I am going to be misunderstood), that I am not talking about natural faith (i.e. I know the sun will come up), but Godly faith, generated from the presence of Christ within you and your relationship with Him. Whatever is not of the faith that you presently have with Christ is sin.

No one would deny God is an artist. Some Christians do not even like some of His art as manifested in some living creatures. God allows them freedom to not like some of His art. That is gracious of Him. Some people think that some animals or insects or plants are repugnant while others think they are awesome.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and we should be gracious enough not to be rude.

Now, with that said, "art" that denigrates Christ or anyone else is not art to me.

Just my 2 cents,
Pilgrim



 2012/2/27 12:20Profile
Compton
Member



Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2732


 Re: Christians and the Arts

Hi Krispy,

I'm at a small creative company that does visual work for many different brands. A few of our clients are "Christian", but the vast majority are not. Most of our clients are consumer brands...the same consumer brands that the Christians who are questioning you, probably use to brush their teeth or wash their clothes with.

A life long struggle I have had with my own tribe, conservative Christianity, is that we harbor anti-humanity feelings.

MC


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Mike Compton

 2012/2/27 12:29Profile
pilgrim777
Member



Joined: 2011/9/30
Posts: 1211


 Re:

small-mindedness.

God is not small-minded otherwise there would only be a few species of plants, animals and insects.

The expression of the Body of Christ is the expression of the Head (the Creator of all) through His Body and it will manifest as incredible multi-faceted and varied expressions all over the earth.

Our humanity is an expression of God. Our humanity in and of itself is beautiful and should be used by the Holy Spirit and not the unholy spirit. Humans are likened in scripture as containers. We are vessels, cups, temples, tabernacles, etc. We were made to contain God and that will result in limitless expressions of His beauty and glory.

My 3 cents, now.
Pilgrim

 2012/2/27 12:38Profile









 Re:

Quote:
A life long struggle I have had with my own tribe, conservative Christianity, is that we harbor anti-humanity feelings.



I see truth in everyones comments. The one I quoted above I think nailed it well too... we forget that we live in humanity.

I'm in the process of writing a novel right now. I dont care for Christian novels... I find them either trite or bizarre, and mostly hard to relate to real life. I do not like Frank Peretti's books, so please dont recommend them.

The book deals with a lot of different aspects of humanity. I decided one day to give it a try and so I started writing an outline and then developing the story... and as it flowed it poured out on paper. My intention is not to make any kind of statement about anything, or anything like that. I just wanted to try something new and creative.

The first question I got when I mentioned it to a Christian friend was "This is going to be a Christian novel, right?"

"ummm... no."

"You need to try use this as a way to reach people for the Lord. Otherwise why do it?"

ugh...

If I HAVE to do anything with this novel I'll lose interest and stop writing it all together. Thats just the way I am when it comes to stuff like that. Why cant we just do what the Lord gifts us to do and in a way in which we are inspired to do it... and enjoy it for the gift that it is?

Christians can be very small minded, Pilgrim... you're right.


Krispy

 2012/2/27 13:00
Lysa
Member



Joined: 2008/10/25
Posts: 3396
This world is not my home anymore.

 Re: Christians and the Arts

Quote:
Krispy wrote:
The first question I got when I mentioned it to a Christian friend was "This is going to be a Christian novel, right?"


I applaud you!! If we, Christians, only write for Christendom then what good are we?

God bless you and your project,
Lisa


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Lisa

 2012/2/27 13:09Profile
philomastix
Member



Joined: 2012/2/17
Posts: 8


 Re:

Good on you Krispy. Though I've not posted before, I've lurke for years and feel familiar with your forum presence. It makes me so happy to hear this.

I appreciate Compton's comment that so many Christian's have anti-humanity thoughts. Literature falls into the acaademic discipline of tge humanities, being the study of the product of humanity. Though this gets unfortunately mixed with opposition to the philosophical idea of humanism, it shouldn't.

I remember reading this last year and think it's relevant:

http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?forum=35&topic_id=39289&post_id=286801&viewmode=thread&order=0

Thanks for sharing, krispy. all the best.

cyril

 2012/2/27 15:15Profile
Compton
Member



Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2732


 Re:

That was a good link, philomastix.

In every generation we have the benefit of 20-20 hindsight to see how the church spiritualized viewpoints it really had just inherited from the world. One of the most subtle and pernicious was the 20th century notion that a dutiful productive individual person must play their isolated role without question or concern for the big picture. Thankfully such a view has been recognized as untenable for the 21st century, as it limits crucial problem solving, network relationship building, and collaboration which is crucial to innovation. It is also demeaning to the psychological and spiritual parts of humanity.

The conservative Christian suspicion towards creativity and self-expression, does not come from the bible, but from the scientific management theories of the early 20th century industrial economy. Google Frederick W Taylor and see if you recognize the modern conservative Christian ethos towards human activity within the church organization.

MC



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Mike Compton

 2012/2/27 18:26Profile
ginnyrose
Member



Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7471
Mississippi

 Re: Christians and the Arts

Well....Steve, in your book you going to dismiss common sense as irrelevant? Will evil triumph over God? Is goodness old-fashioned, no trait to be desired, yearned for, or pursued? Is God a mere observer of the cosmos not taking any interest in human affairs?

Or, are you writing something like "Rascal" or "Summer of the Monkeys"? (Yes, I prefer children's fiction - adult fiction has too much stress - I live with enough on a daily basis to allow it to entertain me.)

Have you ever read "The Robe" by Lloyd C. Douglass? I am rereading it again for the first time in many years - it having been a favorite when I was a teen. I am discovering the writer sharing a lot of Christian philosophies through his characters.

Steve, you questioning the will of God in your pursuit? Sounds to me like you are working to justify it, or defend it. Read your post as though someone else wrote it and what would you say?


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Sandra Miller

 2012/2/27 23:17Profile





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