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Compton
Member



Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2732


 Re:

Ginny,

Speaking for myself, and not for Steve...

First of all, let me say Ginny, there are few freinds here at SI, that I respect more then yourself.

However, all my life I've had to quietly endure condescending smiles, polite cycnicism, or mistrustful inquiries like the ones you've raised here, from people who needed to know the practical benifit of a thing before they trusted it. Now I understand such well intentioned people...but they do not seem to reciprocate!

As this thread is focused on Steve, now I have an opportunity to learn as an observer. As an observer in this case, help me understand...what in Steve's post causes you to think his book project indicates he is sneaking away from God? What phrase or clue did he give to make you worried he is abandoning integrity towards the scriptures or redefining God in some unbiblical way?

It's funny, but I read his post completely different. I saw a man entering into his middle years with a sense of wanting to reflect on his life thus far. Someone who is done with youthful posturing, and is now interested in growing inwardly, not just in reputation. I might even venture that I see someone who is at so much at peace with his position in Jesus Christ, that he is more willing to risk honesty and misunderstanding with people.

Perhaps I am off.

Blessings,

Mike


_________________
Mike Compton

 2012/2/27 23:41Profile









 Re:

lol... wow.... Mike, did you hack my computer and read what I've written so far in my book??

There is a lot of me in the main character, and thats exactly what one of the themes of the book is... reflecting on my life thus far. Where I've been, where I am going. There is a lot of uncertainty going on with the main character, which is where I am at in life in a practical sense.

Not uncertainty with God, I am very certain and secure in His hands. But with all thats gone on since my heart attack 18 months ago, and then a job loss 9 months ago (even tho He blessed me with a job 3 weeks later and has supplied all our needs beyond comprehension!), I'm just uncertain about where God is taking me and my family. Ya know? I certainly have faith that He is in control... but there is a human aspect to all of this too.

I dont want to give away what the book is about because someday down the road I want people to read it.

Ginny, I'm not trying to justify anything. I am very comfortable with the direction I'm going with this.

To be honest with you, I think one of the reasons I started writing the novel and taking it in the direction I'm going is because over the last 10 years I have read and written so much about God, doctrine, the Bible, my faith, my personal struggles... I needed a break. I wanted to do something completely different and off the wall. Something I've never done before.

And basically because of the response of a couple friends concerning "why isnt this going to be evangelistic" it got me wondering why many Christians view "art" as something to be avoided if it isnt overtly evangelistic. As if art galleries might be something to avoid because there isnt an alter call before you enter the gift shop.

Why cant some Christians just enjoy photography, or art, or a good book, or... dare I say... music, without it being about the "Romans Road"?

I think we may be surprised at what we can find God in if we would just take a moment and look.

Krispy

 2012/2/28 5:57
jochbaptist
Member



Joined: 2010/11/24
Posts: 309


 Re:

When I discovered surfing(a looong time ago), I became so enraptured by it, that it infiltrated every sphere of my life. Was I to write an essay for school, no matter what the subject was, I would bend/force/adapt it to feature my obsession. When scribbling in my homework book it would be a picture of me doing an “off the lip” from an insanely huge wave, or strolling down a beach with an idyllic sunset and girl, with my surfboard under my arm.

After my salvation, my Father sent me to go and complete a Diploma Course in Graphic Design. My poor lecturers had a hard time to keep me focused on any project without Jesus featuring in it somewhere.

The point is that whatever the heart is filled with, will overflow into whatever you do. I once heard Bruce Springsteen quote someone else who described an artist as “someone who makes people care about his obsession”. Being married to an artist, I have noticed that art that “speaks” the loudest is the art that comes straight from the heart. No matter how refined your skill, or artistic language and style may be, without passion it is empty. And our Passion should be Jesus and His Kingdom.

Blessings

Joch


_________________
J Kruger

 2012/2/28 6:06Profile









 Re:

Thats a good word, Joch.

I have attempted to read Christian fiction, and I think in this arena particularly, having to make certain points has stifled the creativity.

Say I was an artist... if I could paint... painting a beautiful picture of the North Shore of Oahu would bring glory to God without having the text from a Chic Tract tacked onto the bottom of it. Not trying to hide God... but to bring Him out in creative ways. See what I mean?

In my mind art should make people think. Paint a landscape picture that makes it very clear to the viewer that there is no way the North Shore happened by accident.

I guess what I am saying is that not every song or piece of artistic expression has to say Jesus 6 times, or have scripture quotes stenciled on it. Sometimes that can be VERY beautiful, but if we make that a rule or a law then there is no creativity in it anymore.

Who is more creative than God?

We need to find subtle yet real ways of making God known, whether it be through nature or art or our work... and all pointing back to scripture!

By the way, I'm certainly NOT endorsing foolishness like what I have termed "stealth evangelism". Believe me, I have not lost my edge, and I will speak boldly and plainly about the Lord and the Word... and I will continue to offend people (not intentionally).

I'm trying to find my voice in other ways, and expressing creativity in other ways. Not everything has to be a freight train.

GOD is the greatest artist of all. Look around you. The scenary, the faces of your children... God's artwork. It screams His glory in a subtle way.

Krispy

 2012/2/28 7:00
MaryJane
Member



Joined: 2006/7/31
Posts: 3057


 Re:

Krispy you wrote:There is a lot of me in the main character, and thats exactly what one of the themes of the book is... reflecting on my life thus far. Where I've been, where I am going. There is a lot of uncertainty going on with the main character, which is where I am at in life in a practical sense.

_______

since you have said there is a lot of the main character that is like "you", then I am sure that the Lord would be central in your book. I say that Steve because I have read so many of your posts here on SI that Jesus is Lord of your life and I know you believe as we all do that JESUS is in every single aspect of our life, there is no area that we separate or keep away from HIM so I am sure that your book will reflect that. I wish you good luck with your project and that you find joy in HIM as you continue this process of working on this story. GOD takes us on so many journeys in our life and sometimes it is really amazing what we have learned once we get to the end...keep your eyes fixed on JESUS as you weave the lives of your characters together and I am sure it will be a blessing to read for many.

God Bless
mj

 2012/2/28 8:30Profile
ginnyrose
Member



Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7494
Mississippi

 Re:

Mike, I think your question deserves an answer.

First off, I read only Steve's lead post, did not read the response of others - I do that sometimes for a couple reasons, one being that it will divert me away from my gut reaction.

Steve said he did not want to write Christian fiction. So does this mean that attributes of truth, honesty, justice, purity lovely are to be sacrificed in the name of art? (Phil. 4:8) Most art defies these principles. This is what raised the question in my mind. When the Holy Spirit dwells within, he will help us to create works of beauty because God is a God of beauty. This indwelling will be reflected in our music, writings, farming, marketing because it is an extension of who and what we are and what empowers us.

A person can take beautiful lessons from nature that teach us much about God's artistry. God is the master artist, no one can be his equal, but we do work to reflect it in all of life, including art.

I saw Steve respond to my question and he cleared up my questions. Thanks, Steve.

A rabbit trail:
I agree that a lot of Christian fiction written today is at best cheesy, but it sells. One writer said that if you want to write a book that will sell, write about the Amish, never mind whether it reflects Amish culture. Or, take one popular painter whose works are everywhere. I used to love it until I learned that his personal lifestyle leaves much to be desired. I just learned recently that one of my favorite singers from childhood was an alcoholic. Oh, he had a wonderful voice - my husband suggested he may have been a smoker because he had a deep bass voice. Why am I saying this? I find it tragic when one uses Jesus to market their work but that there is a serious disconnect between their work and lifestyle. I find this sad. And then you have those who say they have FAITH in Jesus but produce works that do not reflect God's beauty. I do not know which artist is the most tragic...

I do wish Steve well in his pursuit...


_________________
Sandra Miller

 2012/2/28 9:54Profile









 Re:

Quote:
One writer said that if you want to write a book that will sell, write about the Amish, never mind whether it reflects Amish culture.



Thats good to know because Amish culture plays a VERY miniscule part in the novel... lol. They say "write what you know", and so this novel has elements of where I grew up and part of that is the Amish, altho this is not a book involving Amish. They are just part of the mosaic of the book because thats "what I know".

Kinda funny that you said that. I'm starting to think several of you have somehow read what I've written so far! lol...

MJ... you are absolutely correct that elements of faith are present in the book so far. I'm only on chapter nine and the plot is still developing. The more I write the more ideas explode in my mind. I'm not intentionally leaving an overt Christian message out, I'm just letting the story develop as it develops.

And it's kinda cool to see where it's gone so far. I am no where near where I set out to go. The thing has taken on a life of it's own. It's like a baby... you bring it home from the hospital and you have all these dreams of what kind of life it will live... and just like a child it doesnt do quite what you thought it would do... but you're just as pleased.

Anyway, I dont really want the conversation to be about me and what I am doing. I am addressing a broader issue here which is this:

Since one of God's attributes is His creativity and His artistry.... and since we are made in His image, which means that we can be creative and artistic (or at least enjoy and appreciate the creative and artistic)... then why dont we?

Why are Christians afraid of self expression, art, music, writing, poetry, photography, etc? Why does most Christian art, music, writing, etc have to be so cheesy (as Ginny pointed out)?

Christians should be the most creative and artistic people in the world.

Krispy

 2012/2/28 10:25
ginnyrose
Member



Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7494
Mississippi

 Re:

Krispy,

So your work is autobiographical at heart but wrapped in fiction? Could be interesting. You going to use "Period" in your work! LOL Couldn't resist saying that! True or false? I had to say it! {{smile}}

Hmmm...so the Amish will factor in it? I know you used to make hay with them...You going to use any PA German in it? You better get it right if you do. Literal translation will not do...

As my relationship grows with the LORD I am finding myself being able to be more creative - using what I have and making objects of beauty. Would I win any prizes for any of my work? No. This is not my goal. My goal is to express delight with the works of my hands. As we see the world around us promoting ugliness it becomes paramount that Christians be creators of beauty in the midst of this ugliness.

Anyhow...got a target date set for publishing?


_________________
Sandra Miller

 2012/2/28 11:16Profile
Compton
Member



Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2732


 Re:

Thanks Ginny for your thoughtful answer. And I will offer here that I recognize that much of what represents "art" is shocking in both form and idealology. This association alone could very well lead to the conclusion that the arts are reprobate.

"Why are Christians afraid of self expression"

Steve, I agree with you that this is a broader issue. It really has little to do with the arts.

To avoid needing paragraphs of abstract philosophizing here let me connect Steve's question with some others::

Why do many Christians view their employment as a kind of necessary evil, and a distraction from their more important calling? Why do many Christians feel their spouses are holding them back from serving God? Why do many Christians feel the need to alter their behavior when at Church? Why do Christians withhold mercy from happy people, but are quick to lavish it upon miserable people? Why do people in general feel empty when things are going well, but find a sense of purpose when they or their friends are facing crisis? Why does a dog know how to be content in all circumstances more then a Christian? Why is my cat more honest with me about what she wants then most of my friends?

I think the answer to these questions can help explain why Christians, and people in general, are afraid of self expression.

MC


_________________
Mike Compton

 2012/2/28 11:32Profile









 Re:

Quote:
Hmmm...so the Amish will factor in it? I know you used to make hay with them...You going to use any PA German in it? You better get it right if you do. Literal translation will not do...



It's quasi-auto-biographical. Yes and no. As for the Amish, they are just part of the back drop of the setting of the story, but no more than that.

Like you said, it's a bit cliche to write about the Amish anyway.

Krispy

 2012/2/28 12:31





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