Friday, April 4, 2014

Art and the Artist

A friend was talking about Christians and "Art" on Facebook the other day and having quite the discussion with several of his friends.  I even chimed in a couple of times, even though I'm a simple Midwest girl who tends to  be a little pollyannaish (look I made up a word) about things sometimes.

The main point of the conversation was the 'commerciality' of so called Christian art, and how basically Christians will buy or consume just about anything if it has a 'message' or produced by a fellow Christian.  The topic ranged from music to movies to paintings and everything in between.
He tends to see the capitalism  for the masses for the  products that are consumed and can be a bit cynical about their actual good when it comes to reaching people for Jesus-which in the end is often why these things are being produced.
Lamenting the production value of popular works in most genres or the lack of popularity of what would be considered more higher forms of art.

I really mulled that conversation over and over in my mind.
Because, listen I get the serious CHEESE factor that "Christian Art" can have.  I have cringed my way through some movies that others around me raved about and churches bought out theaters of seats for.
I have painfully finished books I was sure weren't worth the paper they were written on.

I have listened to some Christian music and wondered how in the world they got a recording contract, wondered if all the deep thinkers were gone and is THIS really what we're calling music.

But, I've also heard others speak in awe of how God used that very same music, book or movie to inspire them, make them want to follow Jesus more closely and even bring to the point where they want to follow Him for the first time.

I will never forget being a Freshman in an Uber conservative Christian collage where only certain types of music were allowed (classical and high church music-artsy if you will) and putting my clock radio (yes I am that old) under my pillow to listen to the local Christian radio station or a tape I had smuggled in. . .that music gave me a life line and a hope. . .that I did fit in somewhere even when I didn't fit the mold there. That Christians weren't all the same and that was ok, that grace would win over man made rules.
That same music is mocked and made fun of by those with a higher brow view of art. But, I can speak first hand of how it really did bring me closer to Jesus.

So, even though it's difficult (sometimes, more than others) I'm making a challenge to myself, not to knock other's art. While I may wish production value was better, lyrics more thought out, style somehow different, I have seen first hand how God can use anything He wants to bring people to Him or to help them grow.  And who in the world am I to argue with that?

Perhaps, all "Christian art" will always have harsher critics (because let's face it there's a lot of garbage produced and consumed every day by the masses in every genre) because we will always be compared to the great Divine Artist himself.
After all we live in a world created out of his Holy Imagination-who else but an amazing artist could paint the sky, prairie grasses, mountain tops and oceans with colors so vibrant and deep?
Who else but the Divine Artist could chisel a man out of dust?

The debate will go on, and I'm ok with that-people smarter than me have devoted their lives to such things, just for me this is what I am deciding to do.

And listen--

Whether you ever pick up a paint brush, write a word, sing one note of  a song, we are all part of the greatest masterpiece of all time.

We are the art.

Our value doesn't come from those who think our art worthy or not.  Our value comes from the Artist himself.

Live out your masterpiece,


Angie said...

special thanks to 'my friend' who when I asked if I could write about the art conversation quickly and willingly agreed.
He may be cynical but he's pretty swell too.

Tonya Owens said...

Giggling about the above comment.
I am so glad you post these to fb because I never read blogs anymore. Sometiimes I miss the post but I do love reading your blog and click over anytime I see you have written again.
Being an 'artist' in my own little world, it makes me wonder how that convo went that I missed. But one thing I am always telling myself...God gave the ability and He will use it as He sees fit. But, its very easy to start doing "look what I made" "look what I did". One reason I really backed out of blogging in my world is that I have found people post their projects to get pats on the back. Which, in time leads to More of self and less of God. I really feel like its a fine line between advertisement and 'look at me'. Something I continually work on.
Not necessarily what your were talking about at all, but I do see this problem arises quite often in the 'art' world.

Post a Comment