Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Return to the Marketplace

I posted a seven day discussion on the Christian Marketplace (convenient links: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7) and thought I was done with it for a while. Well, not quite.

Basically, I wanted to add a little balance to what I said. Last week I was reading in my devotional time when I came across this passage, 1 Corinthians 10:23-33.

"Everything is permissible"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"—but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.

Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, for, "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it."

If some unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. But if anyone says to you, "This has been offered in sacrifice," then do not eat it, both for the sake of the man who told you and for conscience' sake—the other man's conscience, I mean, not yours. For why should my freedom be judged by another's conscience? If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

I made the plea for freedom for the Christian artist to produce the kind of art that they feel led to produce, whether it was overtly religious or not. I still believe and stand by that, but this passage both supports what I was saying yet provides a little balance to my screed.

Everything is permissible, but should we ask what is the value of it. Obviously Christians shouldn't make godly erotica, but I do believe that what we create should be "constructive". What does that entail? Well, I think each sincere Christian artist needs to come to their own conclusion about that. One suggestion I would have is: there should be an overall building up in what we do. There's a whole lot I could say on this, but that may be for another post.

Art has value in and of itself, and I want to see Christians produce the best music, the best fiction, the best of everything--because we have the great Creator as our inspiration, muse, and guide. However, we need to see if what we are doing is complying with this admonition from Paul: All should be done for the glory of God...For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they might be saved.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you wrote this, Jason. So often in the eating-meat discussion, the conversation bogs down with the weaker brother/stronger brother issue. Then there usually follows some mention of Pharasiees and straining at gnats. ;-)

    This passage gives a different slant, a greater purpose for our writing. The other can sound so selfish—I'll write what I want because I have the freedom to write what I want.

    This is a great reminder that our first responsibility is to glorify God's name. And the second to serve others.

    Thanks, Jason.