ElizabethAnne and others,
Some art is nothing but mud and filth.
But in much art, there are gems buried in the mud.
The question is, are you willing to dig through the mud to find the gems?
Many Christians aren’t. They stay away from any hint of sin. And that’s valid. We are told in the Bible to avoid even the appearance of sin.
But I think that Christians need to re-examine this approach to art.
We live in a sinful world. If we avoid “the appearance of sin,” we will avoid all other people. In fact, we will avoid ourselves.
I don’t think most Christians advocate avoiding others. We have Jesus as our Example. He ate and drank with sinners.
However, many of us are afraid, and rightfully so, to get involved with murderers, practicing homosexuals, fornicators, thieves, gangsters, rapists, etc.
ART gives us the opportunity to get involved, for a short time, with these people without endangering ourselves too much.
True, we are not facing a “real” sinner. The sinner exists only in the imagination: on the stage, in a book, in a movie or tv show, in a song, or in a painting.
But I believe that this “imaginary” involvment with the sinner can help us in many ways to serve our Lord and others better.
Art shows us how such a person thinks. Often we are given an explanation how a person ends up committing this sin. This can be alarming to us, as we may recognize the same thought and behavior patterns in ourselves. This will cause us to run to our Lord and ask Him again to “deliver us from evil.”
Also as we participate, through art, in the “involvement” with the sinner, we may develop empathy and compassion for his/her situation. We do not condone the sin, but we realize that these people are also loved by Christ and can be redeemed by Him. We may even ask ourselves, “Is God calling ME to get involved in real life with such a person as this?”
The imaginary involvement helps us to “practice” being involved with real-life sinners. After experiencing the “art,” we are better prepared to face such a person. We have more knowledge of him and his sin, and we can develop a real relationship with them.
The trick is to enter into the “imaginary relationship” with sinners through art without damaging your own soul.
It must be possible. Jesus commanded us to “go into the world and preach the Gospel.” If being around sinners endangered our soul to a point where the Holy Spirit can’t rescue us, then Jesus would never have commanded us to expose ourselves to the world.
I believe that a good way to approach art is to dig for the jewels. Find the redemption story in the art. If it’s not there, then I would question whether the art was anything more than just mud. (continued in next post)