Does Christian Art = Mediocre?

An open letter to Christian artists and creative minds.

The Christian subculture tends to celebrate mediocrity because we think it’s Christian to be “nice” even when something sucks.

I mean, like, hey, man, that’s my kid playing Noah up there in the annual performance of “The Loving Wrath of Jehovah.” Never mind the boat is a rusty shopping cart.

Suburban churches have an extremely high tolerance for bad sermons, bad Christmas plays, bad drama skits, bad music and all-around poor production values.

We lower our standards with an almost forceful resentment, as if having approval in God gives us permission to be cheap and shoddy.

Most Christianized media is a safe, sanitized, bubble-fringe ghetto that appeals to certain mindless demographics that will eat up anything labeled “for the Kingdom.”

But as the great DC Talk once said, “If it’s Christian, it ought to be better.”

I’m totally not against safe Christian media—some of it’s not bad. But I’m more Switchfoot than Jeremy Camp. I’m more Brooke Fraser than Hillsong. More Terry Crews than Kirk Cameron. More Les Miserables than Fireproof. I’m slightly more Lord of the Rings than Chronicles of Narnia. Heck, I’m more Tangled than Veggie Tales. 

When we so obviously pander to the weird, isolated, overly political, socially awkward, neo-conservative Bible belt, we really do a disservice to the beauty of the Gospel. We end up looking like a deleted scene from The Village.

We downplay the fact that the Bible outright celebrates artistic diversity and painstaking detail, from the microscopic measurements of the Temple to the huge praise band of King David to the striving of Daniel to the oft-neglected attention of Martha, who wasn’t doing a bad thing in the midst of doing the best thing.

We sort of mock the excellence that we could be striving for in light of a creative, creating God who meticulously handcrafted every nuance of the universe. A God so in love with His people that He became one of them: that He wrote Himself into His story.

I believe our Christian influence should be penetrating the very heart of modern culture instead of latching on like a cyst with its own rules. To really love our way in.

Sort of like the way Jesus became present and never withdrew from the worst of us.

He changed the world from the inside-out.

He loved with excellence. What he was called to do: He did well. 

You are a creative force for God who has gifted you in a particular way to unleash something awesome upon the world. Do that with love, with relevance, without compromising and do it with excellence. Do it well.

You might fail, but Jesus has that covered. Keep going.