Does “good” art have to be beautiful? Here is an interesting video about the need for real life to be reflected in the realm of Christian arts in terms of music and visual art.
The video below accompanied an article on the Gospel Coalition Website and brings up some interesting issues regarding how Christian arts are and should be changing. Some feel the tone is pompous, and I feel that their complaint is a bit unfounded. Judge for yourself.
I do have a few thoughts after watching:
I do have to disagree with their opinion that too much Christian music is happily fake and too much like the unrealistically beautiful Thomas Kinkade paintings. Maybe I listen to a different grouping of music than they do but I tell you, a lot of what I hear is brokenness in music right now. The CCM artists are getting very real. Just listen to Blessings by Laura Story. There are hundreds of songs (maybe thousands) that also give the impression that the writer has come through a difficult time of life, and they’re not afraid to sing about it. Take “Down Here’s” newest album, or half of the songs from Jeremy Camp’s Unplugged album that share brokenness and pain are where we learn about God more, become stronger and more solid in belief in Him.
This song has been so powerful in my life. Jeremy Camp’s wife died of cancer after 4 months of marriage. He can still write a song about being in the greatest pain of life yet still believing in what God has promised.
I also say we need balance. They are saying there’s not enough real life. Well, for those who are going through the trenches, yes we need to hear the songs like Blessings, but we also desperately need the songs that give real hope. The songs that take our focus off our situation and bring us to the bigger picture of Who we serve, what He is like, and what our long term future holds. It’s necessary for daily survival. We need the songs that Chris Tomlin and Matt Redman are writing because we need relief from our situation. Not just fluffy happiness, but real relief that points us to our Creator and is a genuine comfort.
Yes, there needs to be a recognition that we are destitute and life isn’t perfect. Right now life is so painful I can’t take in all the facets in one glance and the days that I try to, my tears fall all day long and my body hurts. . .BUT I have a Savior and He is walking with me, helping me through, and I have His promises to lean on when I’m so distraught that my hands shake. There’s a difference between celebrating the truth of God in my life and putting on a fake front that everything is okay.
I’m saying that we need both, and in the music industry of CCM, we certainly have both.
As for Thomas Kinkade? As an artist, I agree with their perception of the artist’s opinion of him. But as a Christian? Maybe people’s lives are so difficult they need the warm glow for some relief. Again, balance.
Yes, the Psalms are full of David simply crying out to God in distress, but you can pretty much count on David in the last few verses to remind himself Who God is, and why he can be joyful even though the tears are flowing.