Where do you see Him?

Some people look at a sunset or the birth of a baby and say, “How can anyone think there isn’t a God!,” seeing His masterpiece of creation & beauty.

In the same fashion I look at a film like “There Will Be Blood” or listen to the music of Radiohead, echoing the same sentiments, embracing His creative work through vessels unaware of the “true” source for their masterpiece.  (like a little boy playing with a loaded gun ignorant of its power and capability)

To explain further, I have appreciated William Romanowski‘s thoughts on Christians & media over the years.  Two quotes that I love to chew on from Eyes Wide Open are:

“Limiting Christian Criticism of the popular arts to confessional and moral content has fostered an understanding of popular arts in terms of a good/bad, right/wrong dichotomy.  Consequently, many Christians have a difficult time evaluating popular arts beyond the most superficial level.  This is often because they don’t think of watching movies of TV or listening to music as an artistic experience that requires them to interpret and evaluate a popular artwork.”

“In varying ways, these approaches prohibit believers from distinguishing redemptive aspects of popular culture, determining popular Christian participation, and developing tools for constructive criticism.”

I tried to explain this to my 7-year-old son when he asked me, “Daddy, why do you have music on your ipod with bad words.”

When I was done with my lecture, for some reason he just didn’t get it…but then again, he goes to a public school, so what can you expect!


~ by Dave Smith on March 4, 2008.

5 Responses to “Where do you see Him?”

  1. You couldn’t sum up a Christian’s reponse to popular artwork in a sound-bite to your 7 year old!? Hmmmm….

    I find this topic…and it’s parent idea of Christianity & Culture – to be so basic and advanced at the same time.

    A part of me wants to say, “Dave, people can barely remember to bring the Bible to ABF and you want them to find redemptive elements in brilliant yet secular pieces of pop culture? Let’s start with some milk!”

    But then I ask myself, “What’s the alternative? If we don’t address it, what will happen?” I think we already know, people fall into assimilation or separatistic tendencies.

    I’m still looking for my own sound-bite to describe the mediating position. I will say this, I think people rise to the level of expectations that are placed upon them…if the church wanted to be more engaging with culture and art – it would be more intentional and vocal about it’s expecations. The final question is how does one implement this dialogue to the Body?

  2. Yea, I wonder if the approach with a diverse “Christ & Culture” setting like ours is to teach the basics regarding critically thinking and discernment through a biblical grid…and to stay away from extreme examples of their use.

    In teaching those skills it then transcends various contexts a person finds themself in…whether on “the edge” or not.

    I sometimes think where people get into trouble in a situation like ours is teaching the use of the these skills with very edgy examples, thereby offending and having the people miss the entire point, that it is a functioning perspective to have with every aspect of life.

    ….No Bibles to ABF! We must have weighed them down needing to bring the ESV along with them too!

  3. Dave, I think you’re right on concerning culture. My personal belief is that the Holy Spirit is bigger than the church, and the HS is perfectly free to commandeer (to use Barth’s language) any human speech the HS sees fit in order to witness to God’s redemption in Christ. I find your approach both refreshing and encouraging, especially with so many “fundamentalist” approaches dominating the evangelical scene, although perhaps more pervasively in the past than in the present. In any case, I wanted to express how valuable I think your perspective is on this issue.

    Here comes an off-topic hijack. I see you like Halo 3, and that is one more reason to like you.

  4. Ben, as long as you begin every one of your comments with “Dave, I think you’re right” then you are always welcome on this blog! :>)

    Okay, just kidding…yea, I hear what you are saying. At the same time we definitely have to give caution in thinking this gives right to engage ANTYHING…but I think we all realize that.

    Yes, love Halo 3. Let me know if you’d like to hook-up online sometime with my three boys and I. They are actually really good (when they want to be).

  5. […] Camping Comments People who know me understand my feelings towards camping.  I am not a “man’s man” a previously mentioned, and prefer “man art” over “nature’s art” mentioned in this post. […]

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