Wednesday, May 23, 2007

On the shelves

Something can be labeled 'Christian' and not be true or good. I was speaking at a pastors' conference several years ago, and a well-known pastor was going to be speaking after me. I thought I'd stick around when I was done because I wanted to hear what he had to say. It was shocking. He essentially told the roomful of pastors that if their churches weren't growing and they weren't happy all the time and they weren't healthy and successful, then they probably weren't 'called and chosen by God' to be pastors. I can't imagine the messages his talk put in the hearts and minds of those pastors who were listening. I couldn't begin to understand how he made those verses mean that. And it was a Christian pastor talking in a Christian church to other Christian pastors. But it wasn't true.

This happens in all sorts of areas. It is possible for music to labeled Christian and be terrible music. It could lack creativity and inspiration. The lyrics could be recyled cliches. That 'Christian' band could actually be giving Jesus a bad name because they aren't a great band. It is possible for a movie to be a 'Christian' movie and to be a terrible movie. It may actually desecrate the art form in its quality and storytelling and craft. Just because it is in a Christian book by a Christian author and it was purchased in a Christian bookstore doesn't mean it is all true or good or beautiful. A Christian political group puts me in an awkward position: What if I disagree with them? Am I less of a Christian? What if I'm convinced the 'Christian' thing to do is to vote the exact opposite?

Christian is a great noun and a poor adjective.
- 'Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith' by Rob Bell

3 Comments:

Blogger Billy Merck said...

Amen, Mr. Bell.

"It is possible for a movie to be a 'Christian' movie and to be a terrible movie. It may actually desecrate the art form in its quality and storytelling and craft."

Exhibit A: Facing the Giants. It's triply bad because it makes three things that I identify with look stupid: 1) Christianity; 2) Georgia; and 3) football.

If you want to spread an evangelical message, just do it. If you want to make a good movie, then try to do that. But don't pretend to do one while doing the other, and end up doing neither effectively.

5:39 PM  
Blogger Michael Krahn said...

Hey,

I just finished a series on Rob's book "Velvet Elvis" that I think you'd enjoy at:

http://michaelkrahn.wordpress.com/rob-bell/

10:25 PM  
Blogger Jmac said...

Thanks Michael. I'll check it out.

I really enjoyed Velvet Elvis, and I think I'm going to check out his other books. I've got a buddy who is recommending his free podcasts on iTunes.

10:54 AM  

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