We Need Higher-Quality Christian Art.

quality art

Today’s Christian media needs some help. Granted, there are some good Christian artists out there. But for the most part, Christian music is shallow and repetitive. Christian books are cliched, and Christian movies are cheesy.

Christian art should not have this reputation. We have so much to share, so much truth and beauty to express in the things we create – so why do Christians continue to recycle cliches and chords and characters to give people a fuzzy feel-good moment rather than a teary-eyed sense of God’s majesty?

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” -Colossians 3:23-24

God demands our best, our diligence, in whatever we have been called to. And this extends to the arts, certainly. If we feel called to a life of creativity, we must then seek to do our best, to learn our craft, to produce things that honor God by showing His excellence. In order to do that, our art has to be objectively good.

A Christian message is not enough. If something is badly written or badly made, it doesn’t matter how many Christian messages it has crammed into it; those messages will not make it automatically good. And the art will not have the impact that it could have.

Our art could be an incredible witness to the world. But if we want it to show the excellencies of God, it has to first be excellent. So, Christian, learn how to do your craft well. Practice often. Don’t be a perfectionist; that’s not what this is about. But put effort into your creativity, knowing that we will never make an impact with books and movies and music that are forgettable and poorly-made.

 

If you are an artist, how do you seek to improve your craft in order to better serve God? Who are some of your favorite artists who create both high-quality and Christian media? Share in the comments! 

love, grace

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Why the Arts Are a Valid Career Path for Christians

arts career

“It’s impossible to make money doing that.” 

“How on earth are you going to support yourself?”

“Maybe you should find a real job.”

Those are all reactions that many young people get when they express their dreams to be a writer, or an actor, or a dancer, or any other kind of artist And sadly, this happens in both secular and Christian circles.

But this is such a problematic way of thinking. If God gives us talents, He wants us to use them for His glory. Shouldn’t the church be encouraging that? God gave that girl a passion for singing, and He doesn’t want to see it wasted. He gave that guy the ability to paint beautifully, and there are so many ways that talent can be used. Telling someone to let go of their God-given passion and ability (whether that’s the arts or something else) in order to get a job that will earn them more money is not Biblical or healthy.

Because the Christian life is not about money. The Christian life is about bringing glory to God with whatever we choose to do. For the Christian, choosing a job should be about several things: What am I good at? What do I enjoy doing? What will make the most impact for the kingdom? What will allow me to continue pursuing God first and foremost in my life?

It should not, ever, be solely based on how much money we will make.

Here’s the thing, too: the arts are not nearly as unrealistic a career path as everyone makes it sound. With the Internet, it’s easier than ever to create a platform, gain a following, and reach people with the things you create. You might not ever be a celebrity, but so many people are finding small success through YouTube or blogging or self-publishing. You don’t have to reach millions of people; you just have to faithfully use your gift and trust that God will cause it to have an impact somewhere.

This is not to say that everyone should go quit their jobs. This is not a call to be irresponsible. We should make wise life choices that allow us to live responsibly and support ourselves, but we can trust God to take care of us, and we can trust that He has a plan for our lives. By having that trust, we can step out in faith and use our gifts if that is what we feel He is calling us to.

For the artist, that could look like getting a part-time job to ensure a little bit of income, and then devoting the rest of your time to creating. It could mean intensively saving money for a year or two, making a solid budget, and only then quitting your job and dedicating yourself to the arts full-time. Whatever you choose to do, do it prayerfully, seeking God’s will. It might be hard. It will take perserverance and faith. But why do we always look for the job that will make us the most money with the least work? If something is hard, that means it will be worthwhile in the end. If something is disappointing for a while, the success will be all the sweeter.

And ultimately, the world’s vision of success is fundamentally flawed. We can’t let it blind us to what God cares about. If your writing causes one person to come to faith, that is success. If your song heals one person’s heart after a terrible tragedy, that is success. Those are the successes that bring glory to God. And those are the successes that the world needs more of.

Seeking to spend your life using your gifts for God’s glory is not stupid. It’s not reckless. It is, in fact, what we are designed to do.

Even if your gifts aren’t considered a “real job”.

 

Have you ever had people say things like this to you about your passions? How do you plan to use your gifts to glorify God, both now and in the future? Share in the comments! 

love, grace

Read more:

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Why Christians Should Care About the Arts

 

arts

Photo by David Hofmann on Unsplash

I love the arts.

I write fiction, and I am a voracious reader. I’ve been dancing since I was six. I sing in choir and play the piano.

And recently, as I’ve started to make plans for my future, I’ve been thinking a lot about my purpose. Since the arts are such a big part of my life, I’ve been thinking a lot about their purpose, too, and about how I might be called to use them.

And I’ve come to the conclusion that the arts are a vital, important part of the Christian life, and of our witness to the world.

Made in God’s image, we create because He is creative. Without Him, art would not exist. Beauty would not exist. From the Fall, He left us remnants of beauty, slivers of what heaven will be like, reminders that He is good, and beautiful, and lovely, even when it feels like the world is a mess. And so for the Christian, everything we create is a little reflection of the beauty of the God we worship.

This is why I believe the arts are so important. I think that in artistic expression, we see God’s glory in a different way. There are parts of God’s nature that can’t be put into words – and the arts help us to portray that feeling of awe and love that can’t be expressed any other way. Well-made art is glorifying to God because it shows His beauty, helping us to connect with Him more deeply and fully.

Thanks to God’s common grace, this even extends to art made by unbelievers. Since there would be no beauty without God, anything that is beautiful points back to Him, intentionally or not. And if even secular art brings this kind of glory to God, what happens when Christians purposefully harness the power of creativity as a witness to the world? What happens when we cultivate our talents and then channel them into making real, high-quality art that honors our God?

Amazing things happen.

So I think it’s a mistake for Christians to be afraid of the arts, to refuse to let their kids read fiction, to think all dancing is sinful…or even to think that artistic pursuits are less important, less valid, not a real career or a meaningful contribution to the world.

We believe in a beautiful God. And our art, whether music or writing or dance or anything else, brings Him glory in a special way, and broadcasts His beauty to the world.

 

This post probably doesn’t even do justice to the amount of thoughts I’ve been having on this subject lately – expect to see more exploration of it in coming months. So let’s start a conversation in the comments! I could talk about this all day. How do you glorify God through art? What do you think about secular vs. Christian art and media? Where do you see God’s beauty in your daily life? 

love, grace

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