Living at the convergence of faith and art.

Addicted to Mediocrity

Addicted to Mediocrity:20th Century Christians in the Arts

20th Century Christians in the Arts

As an “artist of faith”, an artist who creates from a Judeo-Christian worldview, I have run the gamut of antagonism from both non-Christians and Christians alike, namely that my art is either “too religious” or not “religious” enough.

I am not alone in the least, but I have found a good number of wonderful writers & writer/artists of faith who have contributed to an understanding of the source of this criticism.

I will be sharing a number of these works with you over time because there is; 1) a need for relief and release for so-called Christian artists, and 2) there is a wonderfully powerful movement in faith & art gaining daily momentum, and in future posts I will be sharing much with you about what is happening.  First  however, let’s have a look at the source of the problem.

Franky Schaeffer is the son of the late Dr. Francis Schaeffer (How Should We Then Live), and Edith Schaeffer (L’Abri Fellowship); two of the most important apologetists of the twentieth century.

Himself a painter and filmmaker, Franky has also run headlong into a dense criticism of the arts and creativity in the church and the resulting mediocrity.  He writes this book to identify the source of this on-going problem, and offers a good deal of sound encouragement to bring about positive change.  Published in 1981 – twenty-eight years ago, Addicted to Mediocrity remains a very important treatment of the subject.

Chapter 2: Bitter Fruit

“…one could sum it up by saying that the modern Christian world and what is known as evangelicalism in general is marked, in the area of the arts and cultural endeavor, by one outstanding feature, and that is its addiction to mediocrity.”   pg.23

Schaeffer delves into what he sees as the historic root causes of the church’s wholesale ostracism of the arts in general, and the spiritualization of what is deemed useful.  And why does Schaeffer care so much?

Introduction

“…in this small volume I have pinpointed one particular area which has had an outside influence on our ability as Christians to communicate to the world around us…

“This is the area of appreciation, activity, thought, and action, which I will loosely describe as ‘the arts'”   pg.11

Schaeffer has divided his brief book (122 pages) into two parts, Section One describes the problem and offers some solutions, and Section Two is a Q&A where the author responds to questions he has recieved on the matter.

Chapter 5: What Can We Do?

“Creativity… enjoyment of our own creativity, enjoyment of God’s creativity-all of these need no justification.  They are a good and gracious gift from the Heavenly Father above.”   pg.39

He goes on to articulate a number of powerful attitudes and ideas which empower those of us who create from our faith-filled worldview.

Wonderfully illustrated by Kurt Mitchell, this concise introduction to what often ails creatives of faith is a must-have and should be read and re-read, highlighted and dog-eared by all who create in their Father’s image.

Open.  Grow.  Become.

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