The journey of a nerd who loves the Lord

Posts tagged ‘Art’

April 2014 Update

Salutations!  Here’s another update on my goals and where I’m at.  I apologize for my tardiness here.  I should have had this up at the beginning of the month, and instead I’m a couple of weeks in.  With that said, I have taken a few steps forward in a number of areas, but not all.

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March Update

Salutations!  Here’s another update on my goals and where I’m at.  I apologize for my tardiness here.  I should have had this up at the beginning of the month, and instead I’m a couple of weeks in.  With that said, I have taken a few steps forward in a number of areas, but not all.

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“Christian” Art Pt 2

This is part 2 of a series of articles about “Christian” entertainment.

In my earlier article, I argued that I felt the popular label “Christian Entertainment” was something of misnomer.  Many may feel that I argue simple semantics and, in effect, waste our time.  However, I believe that when one truly ponders the implications that one’s entertainment is not a ‘holy calling’ or somehow on a religious pedestal, it actually answers a few questions that many Christians involved in entertainment struggle with.

When it comes to Christian music, art, comics, etc., I often hear concerns about whether or not we should charge for our creations.  The Bible says “Freely you have received, freely you should give.”  This verse addresses the truth of the Good News.  Since most Christian entertainers see their work as a medium for truth, they feel they should not charge.  For example, many Christian artists will not charge a door fee for this reason.

Yet, oddly enough, many of us buy Christian CDs and books without hesitation.  Consider, on the other hand, if a Christian speaker (or pastor) charges for his oration (especially if it’s more than to cover basic expenses) that’s seen as a sin.

As a young Christian artist who studied these models, it left me a somewhat confused.  Studying scripture left me a bit wanting, as one scripture says “Freely you have received, freely you should give” and another says “Do not muzzle the ox.”

Yet, the answer becomes clear to me once we think about our ‘Christian entertainment products’ the way we think about other goods and services.  If a Christian is a carpenter, you never hear him worry that he has to ‘give away’ his ‘Christian doors.’  He makes doors with a heart for God, working with honesty and integrity.  He sells his doors at whatever the going rate is, and pockets the profit as increase, giving thanks to God, without a second thought.  Occasionally, as an act of worship, he may give away a door to a needy family without payment.  For Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Mat 25.40).

And in living his professional life this way, the carpenter does ‘all things onto God,’ with very little confusion as to when he should charge and when he should not charge.

From a consumer standpoint, it works similarly.  Consumers do not worry about whether or not a door was made by a Christian, or whether what they are buying is a “Christian door.”  (Of course, if the door is designed to cause them to sin…such as having naked people carved into it, they would not buy that).  They buy what they need and give God the thanks that he provided a door for them.

I do not imply that for the Christian artist, there is no value in actually implementing the word of God into their work.  Far from it!  Art of all sorts can be a form of worship while creating it, especially when you bring God’s truth to bear through it.  And, as a consumer, buying something that you know is designed to lead you closer to God has benefit when it does just that.  However, by removing some of the connotations that the term “Christian Entertainment” brings to the table in our minds, we free ourselves of unnecessary chains as buyers, sellers and creators.

“Christian” Art Pt 1

This is the first of a series of articles I plan to write about this topic.

Salutations!

I listen to a local TV program that generally speaks about the differences between fundamental Christianity and Mormonism.  I already know most of what the speaker teaches, but I listen because I occasionally I hear something outside the box that makes me think.  A few days ago, he raised a question that caught my ear.  What makes something, such as music, “Christian?”  Is it simply music that Christians make?  Or, perhaps, it is music that has a Christian message!  Alternatively, the term could simply represent music that most Christians find acceptable and/or enjoyable.

noteAnd if music can be divided into “Christian,” and by logical extension, “Non-Christian,” then what about other things we make?  Could we start dividing cars into the classification?  House floor plans?  Food?

The more I thought about it, the more I started to realize that I needed to learn something out of this.

Music makes the best example here, because most of us either listen to or know about “Christian Music.”  I have friends who will only listen to “Christian Music,” and even a couple who only listen to hymnals.

Yet, why is that?  Do we presume that all “Christian” entertainment leads all people closer to God, and never away?  Are we so prideful as to think that God can only speak to us through “Christian” entertainment, and not though the works of others?  And if you make “Christian Entertainment” (maybe for a living), is that a higher calling than a carpenter who works as onto the LORD?  (Col 3:23-24). How is it that a Christian artists calls his work a ministry and yet a Christian that works as theme park attendant “just has a job,” even as he does so onto God.

And whether or not we like it, this approach creates prideful elitism.  I have had Christian siblings judge me and my heart because of some of the  music I listen to, and even the “Christian” comics I draw.  Some congratulate me in my ‘ministry’, while others say I fall short of the mark they have set.  I could not find this line of thinking or division anywhere in the New Testament.

Could these scene lead someone closer to God?  It was painted by the atheist, Vincent Van Gogh.

Could these scene lead someone closer to God? It was painted by the atheist, Vincent Van Gogh.

This does not mean, by extension, that we should just treat all forms of entertainment equal in our personal lives.  The Bible says, Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. {Phil 4.8).  You will notice that this does not say anything about only consuming “Christian” works or to stay away from “Secular” hobbies.  It does give us a  goal of thinking upon those things that are pure, lovely and noble.  Conversely, that means partaking of forms of entertainment (or any activity) that leads us to sin would also be a bad idea.  Again, we should do everything as onto the LORD (Col 3:23).

Ultimately, however, I now believe categorizing our entertainment as “Christian” or “secular” is a fruitless endeavor that encourages elitism.  Only God’s Word is truly perfect and inspired.

Part 2 – We dig deeper, discussing “Christian” activities and/or how this relates to “ministry”.