As mentioned in the previous post, we live in a church culture that doesn’t like to talk about or identify with brokenness. If the way into the Kingdom is through brokenness, and it is, then our reluctance to embrace brokenness has two results, as it pertains to creatives.
One, we have nothing to write about. Our art is not a representation of truth, but rather a representation of pieces of truth. It is a partial picture of the good news of the Kingdom.
Two, we have not demonstrated to a dying world how to enter the Kingdom of life.
Many of us have grown up in a culture where brokenness is pushed aside, and never examined. The result is that we live in a world that is Plasticine, it’s not real. It lacks truth.
We discussed a bit about the quality or lack thereof of many Christian products. But another major reason is market economics. The main outlet for Christian products of any kind is the Christian bookstore. A nd these are commercial enterprises. They are consumer supported, fed by distributors who are distributing content for the publishers/labels/studios. Most Christian “art” will be supplied through this commercial enterprise.
I am sure that the owners of these knowledge boutiques feel that they are providing a great service to the body of Christ. Where else can you go to get the “oil of gladness” that anointed Jesus but HolyMart Booksellers (I kid you not, I dont need the Holy Spirit to give me gladness, I can buy it in a store). We live in a post information age. Information is everywhere and the downfall is that we know more about things than ever before but act on less knowledge than ever. I suppose this means we never really know what we know. When asked, Jesus said that the sum of all the law, all the books in the world is this “Love God, love your neighbor.” I imagine that if we just did this, we wouldnt need Christian books at all.
Dont get me wrong, I love books. Love them. Can’t get enough of them. But if they do not produce fruit, or just serve to puff me up (as knowledge can do) then they are worthless.
Many of us Postmodern Christians love to use the quote attributed to St. Francis of Assisi “Preach the gospel, if necessary, use words.” I get why we love it. It gives us freedom. It means that we can fully embrace lifestyle evangelism on the authority of one of the heroes of the faith. It gives us ammo to our oft held belief that we should be examples of Christ and not ram the gospel down anyones throat.
But its wrong. Its not true. Its not from Assisi. Its not Biblical.
In the interest of not dragging this out and getting on to the creative stuff, I’ve decided to just go ahead and lay out what I am thinking worship is. I’ve come down to 5 things that I think make up the essence of worship. I’m just gonna lay them out here and then double back and explain them a bit.
1) Fear of the Lord 2) Obedience 3) Availability 4) Purity 5) Excellence So what does that mean and why these 5? I am sure there are more, but these 5, at least to me, biblically represent worship–the core, or essence of worship. These things, when put together, add up to a wonderful whole that leaves very little out.