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.