Glorifying God in art

I think Christians have largely failed in recent years at excellence in art. This has been at the back of my mind ever since I decided I wanted to be a writer and a videographer, but it’s come to the forefront since I’ve been listening to Propaganda.

I’m speaking generally, because there are some very notable exceptions to this, but as a whole, popular Christian art is just…well…a bit sub-par in quality and in content.

Most Christian music waters down the gospel and the quality of the musicians and production isn’t that great compared to secular music.

Christian movies are even worse. If I aspired to be a real filmmaker, I would want to go to Hollywood or be independent because even if I made a really good Christian movie, nobody would take it seriously because of what’s been made in recent past.

I don’t know much about fine arts, so I can’t say much about that, but all that comes to mind when I think of fine Christian art is Thomas Kinkade. His pictures are pretty, but they’re not exactly the best or most creative new art that’s out there.

Modern Christian fiction is the worst of all. Most “Christian” books mention Christ, but when you pare them down, they’re lame romance or suspense novels no different than a secular novel. They’re not well-written or creative.

Maybe part of the reason Christians don’t make good art is because of the world’s distortion of art. Everything God made is good, and he made us to be creative, but art (like everything else that he gives us) has been distorted until it glorifies the artist rather than the Creator. So maybe we’ve just sort of given up. Why write good fiction that shares the gospel when most fiction is existential trash? Or why make a good movie when so many movies just glorify sin?

But I don’t want to be too negative about this. I want to encourage Christians to be the standard for art, not the group that everyone laughs at. If God has given you creativity, then use it for his glory! Don’t just use it to make money or make yourself look good, but make sure everything you make is excellent for him.

That doesn’t mean every story we write should be the Chronicles of Narnia. In fact, I was just thinking last night while I read Tolkien that his language and imagery is some of the most beautiful I’ve read in literature. His books don’t explicitly mention the gospel, but they’re excellent because he strove to be the best at his art and wove godly themes into it for the glory of God.

Every picture we paint doesn’t need to be of the cross, but God has revealed “his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made,” (Romans 1:20). So let’s represent what he’s made well so that it points to him.

I’m often tempted to be happy with what I make being just okay. But I think we as Christians need to step up to the plate and honor our Creator by creating the absolute best art that’s out there. Obviously it won’t be perfect, but for crying out loud – let’s raise the bar!

Let’s be like the Renaissance painters and make good art while magnifying the name of Christ so that Christians set the standard for art, not the world.