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Archive for the ‘Christian Culture’ Category

Chris wrote about the “Christian” market, what with Christian music, Christian video games, Christian movies, and so forth. In general, a lot of Christian artists have sequestered themselves into a separate community, which produces what typically ends up being inferior art. I believe he is right to ask “where have all the Christian artists gone?” One only has to look back in Christian history to see great works done by Christians for general cultural consumption. The great European church buildings are a prime example of this, as are the paintings by many medieval artists who were Christians. Bach produced very Christian art for the general public as well.

One of the reasons I think this happens is the secularization of our culture over the past 100 years or so. The culture was nominally Christian in the West from the medieval days until around the turn of this century (this is a VERY rough retelling of history). Because of this, there was no felt need by Christians to create this seperate art culture. Now that the common culture is more non-Christian than it has been for a long time in the West, Christians struggle with how to engage it in an artistic fashion. It is very tempting to join the Christian enclave and simply produce art there, where they are essentially in a less crowded market. It is HARD to compete for recognition among the larger culture, and most good Christian artists decide to fall back on the thought of “well, at least I can get noticed in the Christian art community”.

An example of Christian culture just aping secular culture is the plethora of Christian brand t-shirts. The Coca-Cola shirts that actually say that Christ is Lord, or the Lord of All Things in the Lord of the Rings font shirt. Why not create a unique design that says something Christian. This was cute ten years ago (well, longer ago than that, because I remember having issues with it then), but now it is just old and not creative.

Thus, we get Christian movies that vastly inferior to anything put out by the secular community. We have Christian artists who ape the musical style of everyone else. I would love to see Christian art come to the forefront of the culture as art, not just as “Christian art”. Christians seem to be getting better with movies: Amazing Grace was a great effort by someone I think was a Christian director. The fact that it was better than some secular movies was saying something.

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