Art, the Kingdom and a Culture of Honor

When I was in college I was involved with a small group of guys who started a group based around Francis Schaeffers Basic Bible Study, we later brought the film series “How Should We then Live?” to the campus (Oklahoma State University)and watched the entire series…it was probably the best and only worthwhile thing I took out of college.

One of the most fascinating aspects of Francis Schaeffers study was the way he tracked the culture thru the art it created…the fact that the “David” (a famous statue by Michelangelo) was uncircumcised revealed to me that the art of a culture truly does represent the philosophy of the culture.

Here’s where I start having problems…as a believer I want to reflect the culture of another kingdom, but much of what passes as “Christian” art seems to be deficient in creativity or at best is sub-par with a lot of the contemporary art I see in the culture around me.

My creative side prefers Peter Gabriel and Pixar to Hosanna and “Facing the Giants”…yeah I know so burn me at the stake, I’m a heretic what can I say?

Whats worse is when my artistic side seems to come to a complete stand-still because most of the music I create is so “churchy” it makes me tired…I have nothing against worship, I live to worship and some of my most popular songs are really good at getting people into worship/worshiping, they are geared to create a corporate sense of worship, but my heart…oh man my heart wants to create something entirely new, and fresh and outside the box…and this thirst for something “otherly” drives me crazy.

Part of the crisis is the new Kingdom that Jesus revealed is a culture of honor…it is inappropriate in the new Kings Domain to create things that fail to honor others, especially those who have gone before and made the current path possible…I sometimes wonder what would happen to the Church Culture if we repented for the way we treated those early pioneers like Larry Norman and then went out of our way to honor those “borderline” kind of artist like Daniel Lanois and Bruce Cockburn…if you’ve never heard “the Maker” or “All the Diamonds” you are missing some artistic treats.

So whadda we do?

I dunno…

But maybe if we took the Holy Spirits words in more of a business model than a church model we might get somewhere…remember Paul said:

“All things are LAWFUL for me, but not all things are PROFITABLE. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.” (1 Cor. 6:12)

Ultimately ALL true kingdom art must reflect freedom…freedom to create, and freedom from anything that would enslave…so if you approach it as a business model and look to what would make a profit for the kingdom, well it would be art that made people sense freedom was calling them home…for where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty…