In this blog I’ve been an advocate for Christian artists to have the freedom to make art for beauty’s sake, that our creativity can give glory to God even if it is not specifically relating Jesus or other aspects of Christianity. I made the argument of Francis Schaeffer, that if you look over a Christian artist’s work over time, you would see their worldview coming out, even if a specific work did not seem to have a Biblical worldview. This post has the links to my longest run of posts concerning Christianity and art, and it goes into greater detail and nuance.
|Made to worship?
Having said this, lately I have concerns. I love to see thoughtful creativity, and I think it is an act of worship to emulate our Creator. However, I think like everything else, it can become an idol.
We can’t sacrifice truth or faith for creativity.
There are different types of creative people. I believe I’m creative, but I like a certain amount of structure and I do well in a circumstance where I know the expectations and can shoot for a level of achievement. Some creatives are *very much* creative. Their whole personality is geared toward experimenting, pushing, exploring, and having a sense of freedom. They can be great people to be around.
The problem can be they put too much on the freedom. They start to clash with standards, guidelines, boundaries. This can become a problem area for Christians. If too much emphasis is put on creativity and the freedom to explore it, they can lose sight of what we are called to in the Bible. They end up worshipping the creative process over the Creator of it all.
I’m not necessarily talking about their art. I can see a musician writing an angry song that doesn’t seem to be Biblical, or an author writing a character or story that don’t have any apparent redeeming value – as long as what they do isn’t directly advocating sin. In a grander scope of their body of work, there may be a point being made by such work that continues to show a Biblical worldview, but it isn’t as apparent taken out of context.
I see more of a problem with their lives getting caught in the “creative life”, and the artist leaving behind the Kingdom life. Instead of following Christ and doing art in the wide beauty of His creation and Kingdom, they follow “the muse” wherever it takes them.
|This may be an idol…
I think an example of this would be Katy Perry. It is well-known that she started in Christian music, but has evolved into a secular artist that likes to sing and dress provocatively. In reading articles about her, I think she also has let ambition and a desire for fame to drive her life as much as her “art”, but I’m sure her creative side contributes as well.
What is an artist to do? As Christians, we need to offer fellowship and prayer for those who explore the creative life. The beauty that can revealed about God through wonderful art is a true gift we all can and should enjoy. The temptation is letting ourselves go into the creative act so much that we lose our moorings. I’ve had very creative friends that have been misunderstood. Evangelicalism in America especially can have trouble with the questions raised by these type of people. The artist must choose to stay within the boundaries of Kingdom life, but we can do our best to love and encourage them so they can use their curiosity and imagination without losing themselves to the process.