Christian popular culture is like a reflection of regular pop culture through a funhouse mirror. In Christian-World, Kirk Cameron is a huge star, Jars of Clay is a hot music group, and sending money to strangers who browbeat you on TV is a rational decision. From G4tv.com.
So starts the review of a new video game coming out this year – “Left Behind.” Generally, I’m a positive person and enjoy sarcasm and the well placed barb with the best of them. For some reason this morning, this all hit me wrong…on multiple levels.
I was offended by the writer. I wondered if he had ever read C.S. Lewis, Donald Miller, or a host of other writers who are creative, thoughtful, insightful, and funny. I wondered if he was just as guilty as the “Christian sub-culture” – staying inside his particular world, never straying outside it to give the other side a fighting chance. I wondered if he had ever even met a real, thoughtful, Christ-follower.
But more than those feelings, there was another set rising in me. Why release a cheap, less than excellent video game? Why make corny, cheeseball movies that make everyone feel awkward and think they are watching a middle school production? Why scream and holler and generally make stupid comments of how God hates people? Why do all of these things then blame Jesus for it? And we tolerate it – we meaning the Christ-following subculture.
The gentleman at G4tv.com closed his article with this:
I’m not mocking Christians, the Bible, or Jesus. I’m poking fun at the man made junk that surrounds Christianity. The terrible cartoons, bad movies, half-***ed video games and obvious hucksterism is funny, no matter who you worship. … I wish Christians were being served with Art that is as great and formidable as their religion. With the exception of Mel Gibson films, the Christian entertainment I’ve seen is simplistic drivel.
I agree with him. The man-made junk that surrounds Christianity – I think Jesus’ reaction in the Temple gives a clear picture as to his opinion on the matter. I too desire Art that is as great and formidable as our faith. I’m hopeful the tide is turning – The Blind Side, The Book of Eli, and How To Save A Life all are movies that I think are great and formidable.
For years this was true – the masterpieces of Art that hang in museums around the world were done by people who loved God or were commissioned by the Church to paint them. In a world that valued military conquest and intellectualism, the Church for centuries was the only place that protected and elevated the arts.
I hope we’ve done this at Western Hills through this series. That wasn’t the goal…the goal was to create an experience for people to connect with God. I think ‘great and formidable’ art does this. I think it stretches us, demands more from us. I think it can take us to these thin places where God is easier to connect with.
I think if we – Christ-followers – would continue to uphold and demand this kind of art, Jesus would be easier to find. And the man-made junk that surrounds him would be easier to dismiss.