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Is Christian Art Limited to Gospel Messaging?

Is Christian Art Limited to Gospel Messaging?

“The Christian is the really free man—he is free to have imagination. This too is our heritage. The Christian is the one whose imagination should fly beyond the stars.”- Francis Schaeffer

Today I was able to dive into Frank Schaeffers powerful book, “Art and the Bible.” I’m sharing it here primarily to recommend it for all Christian artists. And be sure that it will be oft quoted in my course Unleashing Christ-Centered Creativity (Course 2 in a 3 course education pathway coming soon).

Francis offers a fresh look at the role of art in the Christian life. One of the most striking lessons I took away is Schaeffer’s belief that Christian art doesn’t have to be limited to obvious gospel messages or evangelistic themes. Instead, he encourages a liberated view of artistic expression, where beauty and creativity can blossom as a reflection of our deep faith in Christ.

Schaeffer’s insights challenge the idea that Christian art must always be a tool for salvation or an overt gospel proclamation. Just as nature’s grandeur can inspire awe, or an abstract piece can spark joy, art can celebrate our creative minds – a reflection of the Divine Artist who crafted the cosmos. In simply pointing to beauty we offer people a front row seat to the work of God’s hands.

Yet, Schaeffer also acknowledges that art is inevitably shaped by the artist’s worldview, whether conscious or not. He identifies four types of artistic expressions:

1. Art created by Christians with a Christian worldview

2. Art created by non-Christians with a non-Christian worldview

3. Art created by non-Christians who share beliefs aligned with Christian values

4. Art created by Christians who, sadly, reflect a non-Christian worldview due to a lack of understanding of their faith’s implications.

It’s this last category that Schaeffer finds most disheartening as do I. The Christian artist who has yet to fully grasp the transformative power of their faith, resulting in art that fails to reflect the truth and beauty of the Christian worldview.

Ultimately, Schaeffer’s work is an invitation to embrace artistic expression as a core part of our identity as Christians. Whether through poetry, painting, music, or the very way we live our lives, we’re encouraged to create without fear, allowing our imaginations to soar while remaining rooted in the richness of our faith in Jesus.

“No artwork is more important than the Christian’s own life, and every Christian is called to be an artist in this sense.” – Francis Schaeffer

As I reflect on Schaeffer’s insights, I’m inspired to unleash the artist within, celebrating beauty and creativity as a testament to the Master Creator who fashioned us in His image.

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“Are You Creating Authentic Art or Just Feeding the Machine?”

“Are You Creating Authentic Art or Just Feeding the Machine?”

I just finished watching American Fiction.

What a great film.

Watching that, while working with AI to turn a thoughtful blog post into a YouTube-esque catchy and quickly edited video, all on top of the amazing blog post that Seth Godin wrote on the TL;DR dilemma, made me reflect deeply.

The way Seth ended that post was a challenge to creators, and I would say that includes writers, to not get lost in the culture-satisfying machine that takes things that matter and turns them into just a bite. The culture draws and encourages people toward taking their stakes, the life that they fought hard through, and grinding it up to make little burger bites to feed the masses—to make little meatballs that would deface some wonderfully handcrafted pasta.

I’m no different. As a matter of fact, I may even be worse in the midst of this journey towards building this media company. Telling myself that I want to spend more and more time doing what I love—creating authentic art and telling stories—I spend more time finding shortcuts to produce. If my journey becomes a collection of shortcuts, the product is going to be TV dinners and microwave meals instead of aged and cured beef served with joy and a smile.

authentic art 2So, the question of life, the question of culture, the question of what to do with the work of your hands doesn’t come down to what your career title is. It doesn’t even come down to what you feel called to produce. But it does come down to who you want to be and who you are becoming.

It’s days like these, films like these, weeks like I’ve had, where I believe God is speaking to me—and now to you, any Christ-centered creatives out there—to not just take care with the soul of what we create, and to not only prevent our creations to be ground up and processed until there’s nothing left that resembles humanity. As vitally important as those are, they are not even the most important thing.

But the creative is one who pours themselves out into what they create, and as such, it’s dreadfully important that we care for our soul and be careful with whom we are becoming.

I need to remember this moment because more than any dream, any organization that I want to create, more than any future that I’m trying to build, my mind must stay focused on who I am becoming right now.

I don’t want my life to be another American Fiction.

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