Why Does So Much Christian Art Look Like Wallpaper?
My band No Longer Music recently played at a Christian festival. After we had finished our show, we decided to check out the festival headliner. The arena was full when they played and their charismatic singer connected well with the audience.
After one of their songs, he explained that while they had been in the middle of shooting a documentary about a tour they were on, he’d begun to think more deeply about the purpose of life. His thoughts troubled him so much that he’d decided to postpone the project entirely.
As he was explaining this, I kept waiting for the resolution. I thought for sure he was setting the stage to give a clear explanation about the seriousness of knowing Jesus and how we need to follow Him above all else. Instead, he said, “I realized that life is all about love and we need to love everybody." This is a nice message, but it is not the Gospel.
I believe that we need more confrontational Christian artists today! It’s tough to find ANY who dare to say ANYTHING boldly or to make clear statements, unless they’re trivial or politically correct.
I’m not trying to exaggerate or be overly critical. I do know there are some exceptions, but I honestly find the Christian art scene so sweet, safe and non-confrontational, that it drives me crazy.
When I talk about being confrontational, I’m not referring to the compromising Christian artists who think they’re radical because they swear, or get drunk on a Friday night. They’re just more zombies in the PC herd! I mean truly creative artists who are courageous enough to boldly proclaim the message of the Cross, even if it costs something.
Jesus said to be careful when everyone speaks well of you, for that's how they talked about the false prophets. (Luke 6:26)
If I am an authentic follower of Jesus - whether an artist, businessman, teacher, or whatever role God has asked me to play - I need to confront the lies in today’s world. And this means I won’t be loved by everybody.
When I see the world burning all around me, I have to challenge the status quo, and I must confront. I think the world needs more artists today with a prophetic, “John the Baptist” edge.
Where are the voices crying out in the wilderness?
On our first tour in Beirut, Lebanon, my wife Jodi and I were riding around this desperate city with a young Lebanese girl, and she pointed to buildings with bullet holes left from past conflicts. As she was doing this, she began to weep, and she shouted in Arabic, “KHALAS!!” (Enough!!) Then she implored us, “Please tell the people in Beirut that Jesus is about love and NOT hate!” This moved Jodi and me to our core, and we promised her that we would.
For several years, we toured Lebanon, sharing the Gospel on big outdoor stages, in clubs, and in cafes throughout Beirut.
For some, our message seemed very provocative and confrontational, but when you're at war, the rules are different. It's not the time to do nothing when so many lives are on the line!
I do not set out to be offensive, but our world today is hostile to the Gospel, and if we are willing to preach, we will offend. If Jesus offended people, we will too. Jesus said, “In this world, you will have trouble. But be courageous; I have overcome the world!!” (John 16:33)
Commercial success is fleeting, and popularity a false prize. Life is short, so why not make your art count for something?!
Don’t be silent while the world burns and the eternal destiny of countless millions is at stake. I believe there has never been a time in history when we have needed more prophetic, confrontational artists. My prayer is that some of those reading this will fall on their knees and receive that call. KHALAS!!!