Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Christian Marketplace - Day 5

For the prior discussion, see Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, and Day 4.

Ahem. I guess it is time to put up or shut up. I promised yesterday that I had my major point to make today. We have this Christian Marketplace. This is where I spend a lot of my time. Yesterday I gave some suggestions to help people maneuver and work in our little ghetto, but today my main point would be...


Allow me to make a declaration. This is for all Christian artists, or artists who are Christians. This is for all those who partake of the fruits of this marketplace.

Let the artist, whether author or musician, follow the Lord as they understand best, creating the best art they can. Let those who read or listen to music use their own taste and discernment to find what they enjoy, and leave what they don't like.

Becky had this comment yesterday:

I think, in each case, what Christian art should do is point to Christ--in some way. Might be in creating a curiosity or a thirst or stimulating thought or bringing confirmation or opening up a dialogue or, yes, showing an example (a la much traditional CBA fiction).

Of course, that comes back to, who are we writing for?

See, my thinking is, I write for Christians who then can influence those in their circle who are not Christians. Maybe they can even influence them by giving them a piece of well-written fiction.

(Thanks for the great set-up!) Who exactly are we writing or playing for? That is up for the artist to decide. Once they do, give them the freedom to walk in that.

We need to realize that Ted Dekker needs to be allowed to write what he feels led to write. That will be different from Lori Wick to Karen Hancock to Chris Well. We need to allow Switchfoot to play songs that sound and speak differently than Chris Tomlin.

I love worship music, and enjoy a lot of the music that is produced in CCM right now. But I enjoy listening to the clever lyrics of Relient K, the searching words of Switchfoot, or even the rock of King's X.

Becky mentioned Christian art pointing to Christ. I would agree to this statement. I would just say that it does not have to be blatant. I love the King's X album Faith, Hope, Love. There are 3 songs there that are so amazing. "Everywhere I Go" is one of the best rock songs that deals with Jesus that I have ever heard. Yet His name is not mentioned. "Mr. Wilson" and "Legal Kill" are two songs that relate the horror of abortion. The songs are not preachy, but very beautiful artistically. The rest of the album is great, but not everything has to follow a formula.

Remember this whole (long) rant came from an Amazon review that criticized a book, not for its artistic merits, but its perceived spiritual shortcomings and ended with a personal admonition for the author to reexamine her Christian walk!

Some authors will feel like their audience is to Christians, to encourage them, like Becky said. Others may want to write the best crime novel they can, not targeting a particular audience. A song or album for a band may be produced to reach a wider audience, because that is what they were LED to do.

I remember that the band Third Day was criticized for their album Wire, since it wasn't explicitly Jesus oriented. People said they were selling out for cross-over success. Recall that their previous albums were the ver popular Offerings I and II, very God-oriented praise and worship products. Only in Christian music would the fans complain like this. Give Third Day the freedom to make the album they want, whether their main motivation is creative or spiritual.

Ah, I see that I have come to another fork in the road - another point to make tomorrow. Not quite done yet folks (when will he ever give it a rest?)

1 comment:

  1. Jason, I'm totally loving this discussion (and happy to oblige with today's set-up. ;-)

    I just heard a sermon today that addressed this issue. The pastor (Allistair Begg) described two errors--one being Christians who isolate from the culture to cling to the truth and the other those who participate in the culture at the price of truth. In the first instance, he said, the Christians have the truth but no one to share it with. In the second, they have lots of people, but have lost the truth to give them.

    There in is the danger for writers (and musicians), I think--either extreme.

    And now, where does false teaching fall into your believe about freedom. (The subject is on my mind of late.)