Standards, People, Standards

I don’t talk about faith too often. I’m not ashamed of who I am or what I believe, I just try really hard to live a quote I’ve heard attributed to St. Francis of Assisi:

Preach the gospel always. Use words when necessary.

Am I good at that? Probably not, but I hear effort counts for something.

Why do we hold Christian media producers to a different set of standards than secular?

Could we please start at least judging Christian art, in whatever form takes, on its actual merit and not its intentions. This is something I see a lot with my more evangelical friends. If a movie is labelled Christian, then no matter how bad the acting is, you’d think it was the best thing since sliced bread.

It’s not.

No matter what the intentions, bad movies are still lame.

Bad acting is bad acting.

Every time someone creates a bad movie and promotes it on the Christian platform, they really aren’t doing the rest of us any favors.

Plenty of people I know immediately knock IQ points off of anyone who claims to be Christian. It’s an obnoxious and cruel assumption, but it’s out there. In that light, I believe excusing bad media for its intentions or message does Christianity and faith a huge disservice. It’s one thing to be mocked for your beliefs and it’s another to embarrass yourself.

Knock it off.

It is a beautiful thing to create to glorify Him, it’s another to expect others to glorify you for the effort.

Having faith in God does not make a person an artist.

Michaelangelo was not commissioned to paint the Sistine Chapel because of his faith, I’m not even sure he was Christian, I think I remember hearing he was Humanist or Platonist, but I could be wrong. He was chosen because his art would best glorify God.


#1 Milehimama on 10.07.10 at 8:08 am

The old VeggieTales were great, before Phil sold out the company. But most other “bible” cartoons make me cringe, they are so bad. And I rarely read “Christian” fiction. I just can’t take it. (C.S. Lewis excepted, of course!)

#2 Amy @ A Million Boxes on 10.07.10 at 9:41 am

Preach it!
ahem, I mean, I completely agree. We all have to remind ourselves to live for the glory of God and not for our own glory. We also shouldn’t have to beat people over the head with our faith for them to see it.

#3 Kimba on 10.07.10 at 3:33 pm

{Standing on my chair, cheering wildly!}

Couldn’t agree more. Bad Christian books/movies/music/whatever make me me CRAZY! Mostly because they reinforce the “low-IQ” stereotype.

#4 Kenneth Andrews on 10.09.10 at 11:39 am

I don’t think we live in an era any longer where the good artists are willing often to be commissioned by religious groups though. They no longer have the power and/or money to convince people to “sell out.”

For the most part I think the time of having impressive christian art is over.

#5 Heather Solos on 10.09.10 at 1:21 pm

Kenneth, I think you misunderstood my point entirely.
In no way did I mean to imply that a person is incapable of creating art because they are a Christian. I just am tired of the merit of works being artificially inflated based on the creator’s intention.

I don’t think a person’s faith or lack thereof has much to do with their artistic ability.

#6 Kenneth Andrews on 10.10.10 at 11:31 pm

I know that is not what you were saying per se, just trying to bring in another thought about what might be happening. My roomie grew up in the church with a preacher’s dad, and we were discussing this recently. There are definitely folks with religious leanings that do some great music, but those people don’t seem to make music about christianity/religion. And the people that do tend to not have seem to be at the same level of craft as people making secular music.

#7 Stacy on 10.15.10 at 1:04 am

Hi Heather! I almost never wander around looking at blogs, but did so today and saw this post. Anyway, as a Christian and an artistic “type,” I really do agree with what you wrote. It also makes me cringe to see schmaltzy mediocre art labeled as fabulous for the sake of its foundation in faith.

On the other hand, I also feel that there are people out there who genuinely like that stuff, so then I think it’s just a matter of taste.

I used to think there wasn’t any, or much, “good” art out there that came from a Christian viewpoint, but for the past several years I’ve been exposed to more genuinely talented artists in various media–music, painting, literature, etc. It has really changed my understanding of the topic. What I know now is that just like a lot of the “pop” culture that’s not faith-based, “pop” Christian culture is well, lame TO ME and seems very mediocre. However, there are quite a few talented artists out there who aren’t hyped, or wealthy, who keep working at making meaningful art that comes from a true place for them. Some of them eventually get wider recognition, which I think benefits more people.

#8 James Moffitt on 11.27.10 at 4:11 pm

I have to be honest and say that my initial reaction to what you said was to disagree. Now that I have gone back and read what you said several times now I understand and agree with you. You are correct in that someone’s faith in God is separate from their “talent” and that their talent should stand upon its own merits. I hope I understood this correctly. Sadly enough you are correct in that most films that are “faith based” have actors that are not viewed as “first rate” actors and/or are not “recognizable” as the actors that are in better known high end secular films. I wonder if it is fair for us to compare the actors in “faith based” films with the better known actors in “secular films”? Something tells me I am running out of characters in this response so I will be quiet for now. LOL

#9 Heather on 11.27.10 at 4:19 pm

Stacy, that makes sense and I appreciate your taking the time to write such a thoughtful comment.
James, that’s it exactly. I’m not sure what the answer would be to your question. I’m pretty sure the directors and actors of these films want to be compared to their secular counterparts on equal ground. I could be wrong.

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