Monday, April 13, 2015

Christians and Creativity


Christians and Creativity: A Series Introduction

Maybe you've been in the same situation before. You tell a Christian friend about your creative passion for writing, singing, or drawing. Maybe you tell them excitedly. Maybe, like me, they've finally dragged it out of you. So you finally reveal how creativity fuels you in a specific direction and how you want to make it a huge part of your life. Once the words have left your lips, you wait for your friend's reaction. After a few seconds they nod a few times and smile politely. "That's great! How are you going to use that?"

This has happened to me before, so maybe it's happened to you. It just knocks all the wind out of your sails. The other person probably means well. They're your friend after all. But unsaid in the question, are the other questions; how are you going to pair a mere hobby with the calling of a Christian life? Where does being creative fit in with reaching the world for Christ? Doesn't wanting to be an artist of any kind mean you're entering a, you know, a secular field? Talk about putting the breaks on your passion.

There is friction between christians and creativty in the church. In broader terms, there is friction between Christianity and the Arts. We see it all the time. If a christian wants to be a writer it's expected they are going to write devotionals and such. While there is nothing wrong with writing these things, what if the writer loved creating poetry or magazine articles instead? Isn't that a secular thing? If a christian wants to be a singer it's automatically expected that all their lyrics will be about Jesus, right? If their song is about anything else it's not christian anymore. And painters too, if they're a christian we expect them to paint religious themes. What do we call it if it's otherwise? Secular art. There's a big black line seperating the christian and secular art worlds.

If you're like me you grew up somewhat aware of this friction. You understood there's nothing inherently un-christian about being creative. But we're so bombarded with why secular art is dangerous that art itself becomes suspect. We're confused about it. We don't know exactly where to put it in our Christian lives. Do we throw out everything that isn't christian art? Can we appreciate secular art at all? Can a christian bring glory to God through their creativity?

The reason I bring all this up is because I've felt the friction myself and wondered about it. I'm a Christian, but I'm also a writer. I'm a creative person and I don't think God would have made me that way without a purpose. Now recently I've been exposed to several articles on this topic of Christianity and the Arts. Apparently there are other people out there, way smarter than me, who've noticed the friction between christians and creativity. What I've learned has completely changed how I view my "hobby" of creativity. But what I've learned would take too much space too tell you all in one article. So I've decided to create a small series on the topic.This introductory article hopefully will prepare your mind for what I'll be talking about later.

Over the next few weeks I'll be going over topics associated with what I've mentioned above. I want to talk about where creativity came from in the first place. Can being creative be a god-honoring activity? From a writer's perspective, how is a christian supposed to handle secular literature? Is there anything to gain from it? I'll also have some challenges for christian readers and writers alike.

My ultimate goal here is to encourage christians with creative passions. I'm a writer so I hope I'll encourage some writers out there too. I'm very excited about this upcoming series and I hope you all will add your thoughts to the discussion as well. Please come back again soon to see the next installment of this series.



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