What’s the deal with Christian art? Why is some of it – most of it – so boring, so two-dimensional? Who delights in two dimensions? Who delights in muted shades when we could see with brilliant color?
Are we afraid we’ll misrepresent God with an angry poem? A story without a happy ending? A dark painting? A song that doesn’t clearly evoke the message of The Gospel?
Whatever. That’s boring to me. Life is too short to be anything but real.
Grace is real and messy and dark and light. And it makes great art.
Christian art is by no means always religious art, or art which deals with religious themes.
Francis Schaeffer, in A Christian Philosophy of Literature, wrote this goodness:
God’s creation — the mountains, the trees, the birds, and the birds’ songs — are non-religious art. Think about that. If God made the flowers, they are worth painting and writing about. If God made the birds, they are worth painting. If God made the sky, the sky is worth painting. If God made the ocean, indeed, it’s worth writing poetry about. It is worth man’s while to create works upon the basis of the great works God has already created.
If you are a Christian artist, therefore, you must not freeze up just because you can’t do everything at once. Don’t be afraid to write a love poem simply because you cannot put into it everything of the Christian message.
Everything that is true about you, your worldview, and your belief system cannot be conveyed on one piece of work. It can be conveyed over a lifetime, a series of pieces, a collection of works.
So, fellow artists, settle in. Create. Create anything you want.
And don’t worry if it doesn’t covey the message of the Gospel explicitly. Not everything does. And it’s still good art.
Convey the truth, and do it in any way you choose.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll write a love poem.
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There are no prescriptions for subject matter. There is no need for a Christian to illustrate biblical stories or biblical truth, though he may of course choose to do so. An artist has the right to choose a subject that he thinks worthwhile.
~ H. R. Roomaaker, “Letter to a Christian Artist”