This ties in with an earlier post on excellence, but goes into new territory. One of the worst sins Christian artists commit in making their work is that of copy-catting. Christian record companies and film studios seem to take some sort of glee in making their products as close to secular influences as possible without the secular content. The end result is heartless art, art that is not its own but it is a poor knockoff of some truly innovative endeavor.
We have this backward. As those who believe in the Creator God, the one who created creativity, and embodied it in His work to create the heavens and the earth, we should approach our work with joyful expectancy, excited to see what artistic fiat we may bring to bear on our canvas, whatever it may be. There seems to be a notion in conservative Christianity that it is a bad thing to be creative, that all Christians do is memorize things and recite them back, preferably in a monotone. Where on earth have we gotten this idea? We need to respect the commands of God in reference to worship, and worship Him according to the clear decrees of His Word, but there is precious little in the Bible that would restrict us in the artistic realm. We know that we need to steer clear of sin and sinful creation, so we have that in mind, but there is obviously a great deal of freedom involved in making art. So far from being bound, we are loosed, loosed to fashion praise to the Creator and truth to the world.
I love hearing Christians who are artistically innovative, who are freed from the strictures of corporate policy and copy-catting, and who make original, interesting, sometimes bold music. Those who do so are modeling responsible art-making for the rest of us. Art should be a joyful enterprise. It is not grim; it is not pain-by-the-numbers; it is not off-limits. It is entirely our forum for expression, and God has graciously, kindly given us all kinds of freedom in which to fashion works that speak of truth and beauty. We are those who believe in an origin for our creativity, the Creator of all we see. I cannot help but believe that when we keep this in mind, we will indeed form works of joy, works of truth, that point to the author of these and all good things in the world.