Cutting Edge Creativity

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”

1 Peter 4:10

It is said that Charles Wesley, a big hymn-writer from back in the day, used to take pub songs that people used to sing, and would make his own worshipful lyrics to the tunes of these songs. Genius.

I’m no historian, I dropped history when I chose my high school subjects at the age of 14, so i’m no expert, but, I had to have a little look back, because, from discussions with various people recently I feel like there has been a change. I mean, don’t get me wrong, times do change, cultures have been changing and evolving for thousands of years, but why do I feel as if Christian creativity just hasn’t got the same place in general society as it used to?

I hope that i’m not wrong in saying that the likes of Caravaggio, Da Vinci and Michelangelo were mainstream artists who were pushing the boundaries of art in their time, with their most famous works being centred around the Christian faith. These guys were out there, and the people were, and still are, LOVING IT!

As a side, something that really got me thinking this weekend was the fact that my sister, a nominal Christian, on Saturday night went to a huge event in Croydon called Witchfest, a witch convention. Now, she only went in the evening for the music event, and putting all the other issues aside, what I am trying to pull out of that situation is this: If NON witches are being attracted to events such a witchfest purely for the music, then why is this not happening in the Christian community? Now, please don’t think that I am naive because I know that plenty of non-Christians go along to events such as Soul Survivor each year and end up commiting their lives to God, but i’m talking about the mainstream here.

Please bare with me here, because, I am not writing this article to tell you all the answers, I REALLY have not got them! But what I am aiming to do is to ask some questions which, as Christian creatives, both individually and as a community, we really do need to think about.

I know that there are a lot of Christians who are using their skills and really getting out there, whether in the Music, Art, Entertainment, or Sport industries, but why does it seem that to find this stuff we need to search so hard, shouldn’t the Gospel message be there, easily accessible, slapping us in the face! I feel like in the times we are in, there is always a struggle for the church to keep up with the latest things, and more often than not just creating a cheesier version than the mainstream version, and far too late anyway!

This is not me “having a go” at the church, or you! This is an encouragement, this is me saying that we are the sons and daughters of a creative God, who, I believe wants us to be SETTING the trends, paving the creative way, rather than constantly playing catch-up. Tom and Cindy Bauer, founders of Surfing the Nations whom I spent 3 months with at the beginning of the year love this quote: “The gospel message never changes, but the ways to present it do.” I love that quote, and it is so true!

In the last few years, I have been a lonely artist, I’ve not felt as if I have been able to connect with anyone who is on the same wavelength as me, both artistically and spiritually, and that is a tough place to be, it has meant that a lot of the time I have compromised, especially in my art, because I haven’t really had accountability in my art. But, this is what Artists for Christ is about (no, not me making some arty friends), it’s about God raising up a new generation of creatives who are not willing to compromise, who are willing to get right into the thick of the mainstream, but to stand strong in their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, to radiate Jesus, to be radical, to truly be Salt and Light.

– James