- Precious moments Jesus stuff
- Jesus airbrushed
- The blood donor T-Shirt
- Poorly written end times novels
- Chick Tracks
I got a Chick track in my mailbox the other day. Have you seen these things? Friends, this is Christian kitsch at its worst. In fact, I added it to my collection of really ugly Christian artifacts. I probably have about twenty or so of these Chick Tracks in my collection. I mean these things are in such bad taste that they would even frighten a WWF wrestler.
The problem with this way of making art is similar to the problem with a forty-ish white guy from the suburbs using ghetto slang during his favorite non-profit inner-city board meeting. No matter how hard he tries, it just doesn’t work when he says, “Yo, Bill, I’m chillin in your crib! Pass me a cinnamon roll, or I’m not gonna be down wit dat proposal.” It does NOT work, and everyone knows it. In fact, they cringe when this kind of attempt at cross cultural expression is made by a guy who just does not get it.
The same kind of thing is happening when a couple of half-developed musicians who call themselves Christians attempt raggae or ska or just plain rock in the name of Jesus. We can’t just take Rhastafarian music and put Christian words to it. We must do something deeper. We need to get to the worldview that informs the music and the creative impulse that formed it if we want to adapt it, or use it, or make it our own. Just replacing words is not enough.
So, what are we Christians to do? Should there be no Christian rock musicians? Should Christians not write novels or produce clothing for kids? Of course we should! But, we should do it from a creative impulse that does not simply imitate a consumer culture which is predicated on mass consumption rather then reflecting Jesus’ mandate, “Be ye perfect as I am perfect." That is just laziness and confusion.
If we Christians, whether we are artists or not, really want to impact this culture we must make our everyday life imaginative, creative, unique and excellent. When we begin to produce cultural artifacts and expressions they need to be made in a way that makes Jesus proud. If this were to be done, Christianity would be a force to be reckoned with.
Presently, we live in a culture that is obsessed with the here and now. We shop in strip malls designed to last less then a human lifetime. We are constantly overwhelmed with ads that tell us that we are consumers, not beings made in God’s image who will live an eternity either with him or without him. And, what we need is not more of the here and now message of secularization with a Christian label on it. What we need is cultural expression that produces things that reflect a God who wants us to think on and practice that which is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. I know this will transform our culture. It worked for our for fathers, it will work for us. Additionally, it will make Christianity a presence that encompasses the whole of a person’s life rather then one-tenth of a person’s life. Dorothy Sayers expresses this in her fine book, Creed or Chaos:
How can anyone remain interested in a religion which seems to have no concern with nine-tenths of life? The Church’s approach to an intelligent carpenter is usually confined to exhorting him not to be drunk and disorderly in his leisure hours, and to come to church on Sundays. What the Church should be telling him is this: that the very first demand that his religion makes upon him is that he should make good tables. Church by all means, and decent forms of amusement, certainly-but what use is all that if in the very center of his life and occupation he is insulting God with bad carpentry? No crooked legs or ill-fitting drawers ever, I dare swear, came out of the carpenters shop at
Let’s make all our beams, straight beams from