Should A Christian Artist Stick With “Christian” Art?

mangobobatea asked a question:

Hey. Hope all is well. I wanna ask your opinion. So I’m very imaginative when it comes to story telling so I like fiction/sci-fi./adventure. I want to write a fictional book/web-series just for fun. I had someone at church that I esteem highly tell me that fiction is useless, no one can learn anything from it and a waste of time. I didnt mention me wanting to write. As a believer, is fiction useless? (IDK how to even ask the question) But what are your thoughts. BTW I ❤ you!

Hey dear friend, I’m really sorry you heard this in your church.  Please first allow me the grace to point you here:

– Does Everything Have To Glorify God? — A Mega-Post On When Idolatry Is Not Idolatry

Though I try to understand every angle of a situation, I get pretty angry when the modern church dismisses art and creativity.  For any member of the church to actively hold down our impulse to create also neglects the thousands of years when the church was the very forefront of amazing creativity.  I can’t imagine a world without Bach, Dostoyevsky, Michaelangelo, Isaac Newton, Victor Hugo, or Maya Angelou.  Perhaps the greatest fiction ever written was by Tolkien and Lewis, who were both devout Christians.

In between reading books to prepare my sermons, I would regularly read Stephen King or an old classic like Watership Down.  I learned at seminary that a Christian’s reading ought to be the most diverse, well-rounded kind of intake compared to anyone else, because 1) we can discern what’s wise and unwise, and 2) we can enjoy any kind of art under the divine umbrella of God’s creation.  Imagine the deep fountain of joy we have to know that this art from another human being is a potential glimpse of the beauty and glory of God.  There are times I literally worshiped God while reading Hemingway or Michael Crichton.

Your creativity doesn’t even need to be “Christian-based.”  I don’t believe we should be making the “Christian version” of anything.  Like DC Talk once said, If it’s Christian, it oughta be better. Our books and music and dance and art shouldn’t be in some isolated category apart from regular culture.  While I’m not against primarily Christian-based art, I think we too often settle for mediocrity and then hope that Christians will show “grace” for us and settle for less.

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