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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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How Can Christian Creatives Avoid Feeling Devalued by Their Work?”

How Can Christian Creatives Avoid Feeling Devalued by Their Work?”

Christian Creatives, let’s talk. No answers today just a chat and a question or two.

It can be hard making something and finding that it is unwanted. One of the hardest things in the creative process can be when you are creating something with specific people in mind, only to find that they were ungrateful or you actually hadn’t understood what they really wanted from the beginning. Nevertheless, putting effort into something, only to feel like the effort is wasted, can be frustrating.

Tonight, we celebrated my son’s Matteo’s birthday in a really low-key fashion. I was just doing some simple grilling. Just he and I, and a neighbor boy came through to hang out and asked what we were grilling. I told him, “Burgers for me, hot dogs for Matteo.” He was excited and asked if he could have a hot dog. So, of course, I made the kid a hot dog.

christian creative 1However, the ice cream truck came, the little boy ran off, and his hot dog sat unattended and unwanted on the paper towel, which was all I had to offer the kid because I didn’t have a plate. In one sense, I fully understood that ice cream is a priority number one for a kid his age. And let’s be honest, Matteo got excited when he heard the sound of that fateful tune. And for those of you who think me neglectful, don’t worry. I made sure that my son got some delicious treats from the truck as well.

But upon our return, there still sat that lonely hot dog. And what was interesting, I went to a place where I was like, “That is the last time I ever make a hot dog for this kid.” The truth is, it didn’t cost me much to create. And matter of fact, hot dogs aren’t the healthiest things anyway. So maybe this kid ended up getting the best thing for him. But I couldn’t help but feel like something was wasted in this moment. So I began to think about the repurposing of the hot dog. Maybe we could feed it to someone else, or maybe I could save it for the next time Matteo wanted a hot dog.

And before you think this entire conversation is about a hot dog, let me bring it back to where we began. In a very similar way, all of our works of creation can sometimes feel like that lonely hot dog sitting on the paper towel. Cooked with intention, but left unwanted or unused, which when referencing art, simply means unvalued. And one of the challenges with that is, for the creative, art can feel like an extension of ourselves. In previous blog posts, I talked about creating from the soul and not losing our soul as we looked for tools to help the process.

But the truth is, as we create from the soul, we can feel like we give away a piece of ourselves with every creation. So I think the real question is, and I don’t have the answer, how do we give a piece of ourselves without losing a piece of ourselves? And for those of you reading along, is that even the right question? Inquiring minds want to know.

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