Putting the Word “Christian” in Front of Something Doesn’t Make It Christian
The team over at Blimey Cow have released a new video that I want to add a hearty AMEN to. Take a look at the video and I’ll add some thoughts below.
Firstly, I really like the videos coming out of Blimey Cow. One of these days I’ll get around to link to a few other favourites.
Secondly, I want to say: A hundred times yes! For a long time now I’ve been disturbed by the trend to market products solely on the basis that it is “Christian”. For example, I often feel like I’m pressured to listen to “Christian” music, just because it has been produced by the “Christian Music Industry”. Never mind the fact that there appears to be anecdotal evidence that a lot of “Christian” bands don’t even follow Jesus (for example, As I Lay Dying’s frontman Tim Lambesis confessing that he is an atheist). We need to ask the question: are we listening to these musicians because they are “Christian” or because they are good? Can they hold their own against the music being released in the secular market? For the record: my favourite recording artist is Alice Cooper. He’s a Christian, yet to the best of my knowledge has never released an album as part of the “Christian Music Industry”.
A few months ago, I was asked to review a new film being released into the “Christian” market. The film was trying to do a “Christian” take on a genre that really doesn’t fit easily with the Christian message. While skeptical, I gave the movie a shot. I couldn’t complete it. I lasted 45 minutes. I tried. I tried really hard to give it a fair go. But I couldn’t do it. I came away from the experience convinced that this was a genre that Christian film makers should steer clear of. But what about the review? Should I write a positive review, because it’s a “Christian” movie and I should be supportive? Anyone who has read my reviews knows that I’m not afraid of saying a movie is bad (after publishing one particularly bad review, a close friend came knocking on my door to see if I was okay). In the end, I chose not the review the movie. But I wonder how many people went to go see it, even recommended it to their friends, just because it was “Christian”?
If there’s one thing I want to add to the Blimey Cow video, is that I think that there’s more going on than a desire for “safety”. Having “Christian” movies, “Christian” music, “Christian” novels, “Christian” theme parks, “Christian” whatevers, what we are doing is creating a bubble. A bubble where we don’t have to worry about the world. Where we don’t engage with the world. Where we have our own, separate culture that never intersects with that of our neighbour. And that’s dangerous. Because while we are not of this world, we are still in it. And there are still people on the other side of the bubble that need to hear about Jesus. We need to be aware of the culture we are in so that we can preach to that culture. I’m not saying that we should absorb the world’s media uncritically, but we should at least be aware that there is something else out there. And it needs Jesus too.