In our upcoming Faith & Art Conversation (Sunday, November 11, at 7 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, St. Pete…yes, you are invited) we will be discussing the definition of “Christian art.” In anticipation of that, I thought I’d post a couple of quotes for your consideration and then let you tell me what you think about the subject. Please post your comments, and then I’ll give you a brief overview of the discussion after our Conversation.
This first quote is from Hilary Brand and Adrienne Chaplin in their book, Art and Soul: Signposts for Christians in the Arts:
“Many of us would hate to be called a ‘Christian artist’ or be accused of making ‘Christian art.’ Apart from sounding pretentious, it is hardly a major selling point for galleries or commissioning editors.”
The next quote comes from writer and blogger Mike Duran (mikeduran.com), in a post entitled, “What is Christian Art?”:
“In the last few decades the existence of a Christian subculture, particularly in North America, has given rise to a specific genre of Christian novel, written by and for Christians and generally with explicit Christian themes. Such novels are often marketed exclusively to Christians and sold in Christian bookshops. The Christy Awards honour exccellence in this genre.
Here, Christian fiction is defined as something “written by and for Christians” and characterized by its “explicit Christian themes.” Those three earmarks –author, audience, message–serve as a barometer of contemporary Christian art. Furthermore (and maybe even more integral to the examination), is the recognition of “a Christian subculture” that “has given rise to a specific genre of Christian novel.”
So tell me what you think. I have to admit that when I think of “Christian art,” I expect to use descriptors such as tacky and cheesy. That’s the same reason I sometimes cringe to be described as a Christian (it carries a lot of baggage) and I’d much rather be known as a simple follower of Christ.
But I want to hear from you. What is “Christian art?”