Sunday, August 24, 2008

Art and the Church Part II

I've dealt with Christians who believe if you're a Christian and you're involved in the arts in some way, the only subject you should be covering in your art is Christianity. This is especially true if you're a musician or singer, but I've heard it applied to the other arts as well. In fact, I know of one woman whose daughter was majoring in film production in college. The mom requested prayer for the daughter, that she would make only "Christian" films.

For some reason, this line of thinking doesn't apply to other occupations. Christian auto mechanics are not expected to engrave John 3:16 on the sides of engine blocks. Christian bakers don't apply the ichthus/fish design onto every muffin or loaf of bread they make. Double standard? Or do we have different standards for those who communicate via the arts and those who work in other fields, communication-driven or not? Are these standards biblical?

This entire notion is actually a relatively new idea in the Church. It used to be there was no distinction between Christian and secular creations. In essence, anything that fulfilled Philippians 4:8 was acceptable. Even today, one can hear organ preludes using works by J.S. Bach that are not overtly Christian or even "Christian" at all: "Sheep May Safely Graze" pays homage to the crown, not to God. Yet, because Bach is recognized as a composer who was Christian, anything he wrote is eligible for playing in a church service. Not the case with today's artists.

The sad part is: God has given creative skills and abilities to many who honor Him, and they have no opportunities to use those talents to God's glory.

"Art and Church Part III" will probably be my last post on this topic for awhile. It should appear tomorrow (Monday, 25 August 2008) or soon thereafter.

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