I hesitate to write blogs when I know that this blog will specifically offend people that I actually like and I don’t want to make them angry, upset, etc. But usually when I write something like this it is because it is lodged in my brain and it will not leave me be. So having said that, what I want to talk about the box that very sincere Christians have put themselves into and how it hurts the Christian culture as a whole.
I hate the word “secular”. If you look up the definition of secular it means having no religious or spiritual basis. Christians use this word as a way to denote the difference between their activities and the activities of those who are not involved in their Christian world. I used to keep a sign taped to the wall above my computer and taped to my front door that said “It’s all spiritual”. I did this because the truth of the matter is that whether something is done for God or not doesn’t make it less spiritual. I’m not saying that it can’t be evil, but you can’t call something secular and act like someone farted in the room and then bolted. But generally it is a word that people use to create a walls. And while you’re free to create the walls if you like, you are doing yourself and those you want to help an incredible disservice.
What I am talking about in particular is in the arts of film and music. I can’t bring myself to listen to Christian music because it sounds so neutered and bland like a bowl of orphanage gruel. Christian movies to me are so boring and so poorly made that I can’t bare to watch them. Now don’t get me wrong there are exceptions but the exceptions are just that…..exceptions. Keep in mind that I love God, but if we’re talking about making a movie that is about God could we at least capture the essence of God that has a hint of the weight of his glory? We fail to do that over and over. Why?
The reason why we fail over and over again is because art imitates reality, and when we get in a Christian bubble we can often become removed from what it’s like to be real. Our buzz words and lingo alienate people and so we end up clumped together with people that are like us, which is not necessarily bad because the bible says we’re supposed to fellowship and that lightness and darkness are not supposed to be yoked. But you have to stop looking at people that don’t know God as the darkness. They are lost but they are not this dirty disease that needs to be avoided so that they don’t contaminate your purity. Be in the world but not of the world. That tells me that we can spend time with unbelievers and collaborate with them on projects. We can actually enjoy spending time with them. When you restrict yourself to just working with, and spending time with, Christians you limit your ability to grow. Don’t get me wrong there are tons of talented Christians but it’s like painting a picture and limiting yourself to a couple of colors.
I know that cinematic and musical tastes are subjective, but I want to watch something about God that does Him some kind of justice.
Can I be candid for just a moment without being excommunicated? I get tired of saying the same thing over and over again. You know…..”You’ve made me so happy”…or…”Thanks for saving me”…or the handful of themes that are in Christian music and film. I am grateful for all of those things as well but as a human being I am subject to the same laws of the universe that everyone else is and I have diminishing marginal utility for saying and doing the same things over and over. When I am in a worship service after a while I start getting a pounding migraine no matter how much I have felt God. The point is that there is a multitude of different ingredients of being a human being other than what we have concocted as Christians.
Let me just give you an example of some of the stuff that is being put out by Christians right now. This supposedly is supposed to be a ground breaking Christian movie.
It is loaded with inside jokes and Christian lingo/culture that makes it completely irrelevant. It has a sickening amount of poor green screen usage. The dialogue is clunky cheesy and at times unbelievably unbelievable. This to me is a complete failure. This isn’t a Christian movie to me. This is a movie based on a religion I like to call churchianity or bibleanity. I know that this all sounds harsh but I am just sick of seeing Christians produce garbage. This is unacceptable to me. Make a movie that really dives into the human condition and explores it. How about a movie where a person doesn’t get saved? Why is it that in every Christian movie that I’ve ever seen someone comes to renounce the error of their ways and gets saved. Why can’t a Christian make a movie that involves the tragedy of never knowing God. I want to see realistic movies.
I want music that sounds diverse. When’s the last time you heard a Christian band that sounded like the eagles, Neil Young or blondie? When’s the last time you heard a Christian group that sounded like Three Dog Night, CCR or Bob Dylan? What about Heart, Eric Clapton, Michael Jackson, etc.? To me it’s a result of an lack of diversification that is a result of intentionally cocooning ourselves so that we don’t get contaminated by those evil unsaved.
I have an incredibly talented friend who is an artist and was a talented writer. He hasn’t written a book in a decade because he felt like anything he wrote had to be Christian based or he would anger God and felt condemned if he didn’t throw in Christian elements of dogma and talk about salvation. He absolutely won’t write anymore. This is an incredible shame to me because if you knew what I know, the world is missing out on some hard hitting insights into the very nature of existence. But because of pressures from Churchianity we won’t get to see that.