When we hear the term “Christian Media,” I think a lot of us instantly begin to cringe a little bit. Just by doing a quick Google search of the subject, you can see that many people do not look fondly on this subject. It has been the butt of a lot of jokes, such as the phrase “Is it Biblical?” Christian Media has become its own monopoly, where everything from movies, songs, and books all tend to fit into the same, sugar coated mold. However, is this a bad thing? Is there some redeeming quality to this non-creative, sugar coated reality that Christian’s mass produce?
I believe that the answer to this is yes.
I think that there can be something positive about media that so blatantly tries to tell us that Christianity is all about just trusting Jesus and that life is perfect. This kind of media does not always give us an opportunity to grow (and may easily turn people off from wanting to be a Christian) but it can potentially have some positive effect. I find this especially true with music. I don’t always listen to Christian radio when I’m driving, but there are a few times that the instantly recognizable genre puts me in a much better mood. Yes, it comes off as extremely un-inspired most of the time, but that also makes it much easier to remember. This simplicity allows us to focus on more important things, such as God and what the lyrics mean.
That is good and all, but does that give Christian artists who don’t identify as praise bands a reason to also be uninspired? There is a time and place for worship music, but God gave us talents for a reason. Matthew 25: 14-30 lays this out pretty clearly. If we have the ability to create music, we shouldn’t waste it by cranking out songs that all fit the same mold. This isn’t exclusive to only the music scene, it is also relevant to everything we do.
Well, then why do we rarely see anything that breaks the mold? Unfortunately, many Christians are afraid of what happens when we leave our “perfect bubbles.” We want a clean and perfect utopia where everything is peachy, but it is far from what real life is. This is why Christian media sucks…well, mostly. In order to engage with the culture we live in, we cannot shut it out. Most of the Christian movies that get put out are not relatable because no one’s life is like that. Life is about taking the good and the bad in stride – it’s not a fairytale, there is pain and terror in everyday life.
I think a lot of us can make the mistake of thinking that the only way to glorify God is by making “Christian media.” We are called to glorify God in everything we do – eating, sleeping, creating, everything. According to Thomas Watson, glorification consists of four things: appreciation, adoration, affection, and subjection. There is no set formula for how we can do this – the only factor that matters is whether we are doing things for our own glory or for God’s. A song does not need to repeat cliche Psalms or a movie portray the “perfect Christian lifestyle” to be Christian. We should be Christians making media, not Christians making media for Christians. To do this, we need to quit avoiding all of the real issues that plague our world and start addressing them. Nobody will take anything we put out seriously if we are trying to push an agenda that doesn’t exist.
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