A few years ago I produced a CEO keynote film series for a convention being held by a long-time client of mine. The series was in three parts and addressed the theme of the convention that year: Dream, Create and Inspire. It became the inspiration for a fascinating new documentary.
In that keynote film series we produced a singular through-line of a teen girl who sets out to write a song she’s given in a dream. Her story was actually the visual metaphor and narrative b-roll for the meat of the films: documentary interviews with four creative professionals sharing their thoughts on “what it means to dream” as well as their creative process.
What wasn’t mentioned in the films was that all of the artists interviewed were Christians and do a lot of work for high-profile Christian churches in the Atlanta area. It was the creative process film in particular that got me thinking:
What obligation, if any, do artists who profess faith in Christ, have to use their art to promote and further the gospel?
I remember the fascinating discussions/debates that took place in the Christian artistic community during the early 2000’s about whether or not Switchfoot and Creed where “Christian” bands. It was rather comical to see how passionate people would get. Come to think of it. I can remember similar discussions in the 80’s about a “little” rock band from Dublin, Ireland.
Groups like Jars of Clay and Mumford and Sons have garnered huge notoriety in the secular market. Should all “Christian” bands follow suit? Should Christ-follwing filmmakers follow in the footsteps of the Kendrick Brothers (makers of “Facing the Giants” and “Fire Proof”) or should they be more like X-Men producer Ralph Winter, being an ambassador of the faith in the secular world while making secular films.
These debates generated others questions I found interesting:
- What obligation, if any, do high-profile Christian artists have to publicly proclaim their faith and use their celebrity as part of their ambassadorship?
- Should Christian artists volunteer all their time to their church? Is it okay for them to ask to be paid?
- In creating Christian sub-cultures of music, film and books, have we actually violated the Great Commission in some way by separating ourselves from our communities?
- Why does there often seem to be an apparent quality difference between Christian art and secular art?
- Can/should a Christian artist do work for secular brands that may be promoting or producing content antithetical to the biblical message?
In pursuit of these answers, Culture Crash TV is starting pre-production on what we hope will be an inspiring and encouraging documentary series:
Creativity and the Creator:
Art, Obligation & Pursuit of the Great Commission
Here’s the short film that started it all.