Matthew J. Franck
Robert P. George
William J. Haun
David T. Koyzis
Robert T. Miller
James R. Rogers
Russell E. Saltzman
Evangelicals envision Christian worship as an escape from reality, where life is hard, filled with sickness, death, and lament. Yet good art, especially the Bible, knows better.
Bad Art and the Tortured Beauty of the Cross from The Gospel Coalition on Vimeo.
Which evangelicals are you talking about? Is this the impression you get from listening to Rich Mullins, or to David Crowder’s cd “Remedy”?
Apparently I’m not acquainted with the same class of “Evangelicals” as Carter. None I know consider worship an “escape from reality”.
as someone who is catholic and whose favorite films include p. t. anderson’s “boogie nights,” “magnolia,” and “there will be blood,” i would heartily agree…. there are standards of truth, standards of goodness, and standards of beauty, and we do well to submit ourselves to these in all their reality and rawness.
on the other hand, however, i am extremely wary of slight moves — real or perceived — toward pharisaic cultural snobbery. my wife once gave me a thomas kinkade “print” and i have learned to appreciate it because she genuinely loves it and sees it as a symbol/reminder of hope in a dark world.
there is also st. paul’s reminder that not everyone has the constitution to eat “meat sacrificed to idols.” reality is raw, but some of us — e.g. my wife — are only able to tolerate bits and pieces at a time.
so the real problem is not the mere existence of what some have called “sanitized estrogenic poisoning,” but the tendency of evangelicals — western christians in general? — to feast exclusively on such things. given my predilection for art that is honest and dark, i for one have recently come to love and admire films such as michael landon’s “love comes softly” and “love’s enduring promise.”
the upshot is that christianity is not warm and fuzzy. it’s warm and bloody. evens so, i’d really like to see the film “courageous,” not out of a snarky desire to ridicule it, but hopefully out of a humility that seeks truth, beauty, and goodness in unlikely places. in view of the “not yet,” we all see through glass darkly.