Our culture is “dumbing down.” The evidence is everywhere – from pop music (where melody is almost non-existent), to TV (which gets most of its laughs from sexual innuendo), to movies (preaching the Gospel according to Hollywood). And it’s nothing new, really. This dumbing down has been happening for quite some time. The question is: What should Christians do about this?
Personally, I think we should fight back.
The first folks who need to lace up their gloves are Christian artists. Whether they be songwriters, performers, film-makers, or glass-blowers, Christian artists should commit to creating the very best art they can – quality art that might stand the test of time. (So much for what passes for creativity these days only lasts for a few moments.) We should dedicate ourselves to a higher standard. We should strive to make our next song (or film, or performance, or piece of glassware) our very best ever. We should not hide behind the protective wall of “ministry.” (In other words saying, “My song may stink, but my heart was in the right place when I wrote it.”) We should no longer accept as an immutable truth that Christians must copy what the world is doing. We should try from time to time to be original. (And we don’t have to hit the listener/viewer over the head with a three pound Bible to make our point.) We should be good at what we do. Really good.
Churches also need to do their part to fight back against the downward spiral of culture. After all, we are the Body of Christ, and He is the Agent of all Creation. The Church should celebrate and encourage creativity among its people. The church should support Christian artists of all stripes, and demand the very best from them. The cultural “gatekeepers” of the church must dedicate themselves to seek out what is truly good art, and not settle for what is merely popular. (Quality and popularity are not mutually exclusive. But neither are they one and the same.)
Finally, individual Christians whom God has blessed with financial resources should consider using some of their resources in support of better art – art that can make a positive impact on our culture. These resources should be invested without the expectation of a fantastic monetary return (which can happen, but rarely does). Instead, the money should be applied because the art itself is worth the investment – because it’s the right thing to do. Sometimes a profit will follow. Sometimes it won’t. I’m a card-carrying capitalist, but the relentless pursuit of an ever-increasing profit margin has just about destroyed what was once a pretty healthy Christian music industry.
Jesus called us to be salt and light. But we can’t be salt and light if we settle for mediocrity. We need to be as good as the other guys Otherwise, we’re going to lose this fight.