Why Christianity Needs Real (Not Safe) Art, Music and Story
This Post quoting Tim Keller nails the need for inspiring artists within the realm of Christianity:
“The Church needs artists because without art we cannot reach the world. The simple fact is that the imagination ‘gets you,’ even when your reason is completely against the idea of God. ‘Imagination communicates,’ as Arthur Danto says, ‘indefinable but inescapable truth.’ Those who read a book or listen to music expose themselves to that inescapable truth. There is a sort of schizophrenia that occurs if you are listening to Bach and you hear the glory of God and yet your mind says there is no God and there is no meaning. You are committed to believing nothing means anything and yet the music comes in and takes you over with your imagination. When you listen to great music, you can’t believe life is meaningless. Your heart knows what your mind is denying. We need Christian artists because we are never going to reach the world without great Christian art to go with great Christian talk.”
I’ll take it a step further: For me, musicians like Derek Webb and writers like John Eldredge have been a huge influence. I like them because they’re not a “safe”, watered-down, G-rated version of Mister Rogers’ Christianity. I see too much of that in well-meaning but rather hollow Christian music, movies and books that give up the actual art part of the venture in order to be “safe” and not offend anyone.
Derek and John tell the truth. Their work is transparent, unapologetic and inspiring because it is so REAL. It resonates with the life I live and the world I know. They don’t pretend and they don’t mince words. Many people – including those calling themselves Christians – consider them offensive and dangerous.
Folks, Jesus was (and still is) offensive and dangerous to many people. The Gospel is offensive and dangerous. Claiming to be the one true God, above all others, claiming to be the only way to heaven and everlasting life – that’s offensive and dangerous.
Jesus was wild, dangerous, controversial, beautiful, intimate, loving, kind, compassionate, empathetic, righteous and magnetic – the most talked about person in all of human history. He wasn’t always safe for the whole family. Let’s not water down our worship of him through art, music and story in order to be “safe” and non-offensive.
So keep it coming! I like my Christian art, music and books to reflect real life – dangerous, beautiful, inspiring and above all else REAL.
How about you? Who are your favorite Christian artists and why?