Essay title: Religion
In this essay I will be addressing the question of whether Christian artists and professionals should operate in the mainstream of life and culture or in a religious subculture and should they be active in the popular arts.
Text written by Steve Turner and also the Bible will be used to support the essay. I will begin by exploring different art forms and a few hang-ups some Christian cultures have with them, then I will share some reasons why I believe we, as Christian artists, should be active in the ‘popular arts’. I will also be looking at why God has charged us with such an important job, as artists and professionals, to be in the mainstream of culture and not just sit back in the comfort of a religious subculture.
Whether it be in dance, singing, acting, painting, writing or some other medium, the ‘arts’ are becoming more popular then ever. With governments pushing the arts more and more in to the public domain, festivals and art weeks celebrating the uniqueness of each individual artist are becoming more of a regular occurrence. Adelaide boasts a great many of these festivals and art weeks, an example of these being the Fringe Festival which is a celebration of all forms of art.
Many Christians will almost shun going to these kinds of festivals because they think that they are vulgar and unsuitable for Christians to view.
In some cases they would be very correct. In Steve Turner’s Book titled ‘Imagine: A vision for Christians and the Arts,’ however he states that,
“Rather than asking, is this artist saved? Ask, is this piece of work technically excellent? Is it a valid expression of the artist’s world view? Are forms and content well integrated? Is truth communicated?”
(pg 11 Steve Turner, Imagine: A vision for Christians and the arts)
Some Christians believe that Dance is not appropriate because it reveals too much of the female, or male, body. Others hold to the belief that all music with beats on the second and fourth beat is of the devil. Some churches will not let drama be performed as they do not think it glorifies God. All three of the afore mentioned art forms are great tools we can use to give God glory and to praise him. If we as Christians could adopt Turner’s view of forgetting about the person and focus more on the beauty of the art piece, it would open up a whole new dimension of tools we can use to Worship God and celebrate the skills He gave us.
There are too few Christian artists, either in groups or individually, who showcase in the secular world and more specifically in secular festivals. In the book of Psalms It says,
“Praise the Lord with the Harp, Make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings. Sing to Him a new song. Play skilfully with a shout of joy.”
(Psalms 33v 2-4, New King James Version, Giant Press reference edition, Thomas Nelson Publishers 1994)
This to me says that we should use our God given skills to bless others, not just Christians and those who believe. God gave us stewardship of these skills, not to hide them away but to use them to display His awesome love to those who don’t know Him. The song “This little light of mine” talks about not hiding your skills under a bushel but letting it shine for the whole world to see.
If more Christian artists became involved in the secular festivals it would give people an opportunity to see art that is of a high standard as well as having God’s truth behind it. How can we bless others and shine God’s light in the darkness if we as artists do not become active in the popular arts. It is encouraging to see that more and more Christian singing artists are becoming more ‘mainstream’ and not just focusing on the Christian market. Being involved in the ‘popular arts’ is not a bad thing. As long as, we as Christian artists keep out sights on God and do not fall into the darkness that many Christians know surround the arts, God will keep us safe and use us to bless others.
God has charged us with such an important task of becoming involved in mainstream art and not just sitting back in a religious nichй.
It would be so easy for us as Christians to relax into a religious groove and to use our gifts