Christian Media…the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

I grew up in a very conservative Christian church, and was surrounded by Christian media from a young age. Veggie Tales were as much a part of everyday life as Disney movies were. Likewise, I dove into Christian books and was dually fascinated by anything from C.S. Lewis to Max Lucado. These influences came to shape the way I thought, spoke, and acted on a day to day basis.

As I grew older, I continued to acknowledge the wide range of Christian media that surrounded me. I connected with writers such as Alicia Britt Chole and Sarah Young, the respective authors of Anonymous and Jesus Calling. Each of these books challenged my view of the world, and helped me examine scripture in a different light. Once I branched out and searched for more authors of the like, I came to realize that books written from a Christian perspective were not always as challenging or awe-inspiring. I discovered that many, if not most, books in this genre were written as more of a self-help guide than anything for one’s life. These novels treated Godly living as some kind of checklist waiting to be tackled, therefore completely undermining the message of the gospel and the concept that true faith is accomplished through grace and not works.

Despite the good, the bad, and the ugly, there are still many more things that Christian media has to offer. This includes but is not limited to Christian Arts Conferences and online Christian communities, both of which have impacted me in their own special way. When I was about fifteen or sixteen years old, I attended a Christian Arts Conference in Chicago by the name of Karitos. Karitos is a community for thriving believers, specifically for individuals wishing to pursue God through expressive forms of media. The conference had sessions on anything from painting, to dance, to film. Overall, it was a neat way to get to know other believers, grow as a group, and set individual goals.

Photo of my friend Amy at Karitos, a Christian Arts Conference

The online world has also played a big part in my interaction with Christian media. I stumbled upon a Christian blog or two a few years back, and since then have grown many personal relationships with like-minded individuals. One group in particular which sparked this growth was a site by the name of Beneath The Tangles. It is a web page which examines both anime and manga in a Christian light, while making sure to stay respectful towards Asian culture and views. This site really helped me in my exploration of animation, because before I often had a hard time finding a Christian platform which did not shun other world views.

It is such a cool thing when Christian media vouches for an all-inclusive audience. That being said, there is a time and place for things that are labeled strictly as “Christian”. Such an atmosphere can be more intimate and the outward focus can promote worship, fellowship, and spiritual growth in ways that are not otherwise possible. From rappers to comic books, Christian media has a neat way of diversifying itself for a unique set of audiences. Although certain movies, books, and blogs often sugarcoat life and refuse to tell things as they are, there are also a great deal which do not. In my personal opinion, this is the best kind of Christian media — one that does not put groups of people into boxes, but rather advocates individual thought. God is using each side of the Christian media spectrum for his own special purposes, and for that I am truly thankful.

Interested in more reasons why Christian media can sometimes be offputting? Check out the video below.