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September 13, 2005


Mainline Protestant

Well of course.

First issue: I work for the church in media. And it would always frustrate me that my creative, professionally done piece would fail to garner any more praise from church people than the cobbled together tray of slides that someone else wobbled through.

I used to call it the "home movie" attitude of church people.

They seemed to be so impressed that one of their number had actually done something that there was no consideration of the technical or creative merits of the presentation. They viewed the piece in the same way we watch our home movies - no one would think of complaining about the camera work - we want to look at our kids.

So it's been my experience that church folk often don't have (or care to utilize) a discerning eye toward things creative and technical...

Mainline Protestant

Second issue: The "E" word.

Within the Mainline Protestant tradition, there is an inherent mistrust of ANYTHING that may be construed as ENTERTAINMENT. Indeed, among Presbyterians - entertainment may be the biggest sin of all.

I no longer participate in lunch-time discussion groups concerning something of note in the pop culture arena because undoubtedly, no one will have seen it.

When Last Temptation of Christ was causing controversy, a group here at work got together to discuss it - and no one had seen it. Same thing happened with Passion of the Christ.

So - as far as popular culture is concerned, you have the evangelicals who suspect it as morally corrupt - and the mainliners who suspect it as intellectually corrupt...

Mainline Protestant

Third issue: Symbol.

I have come to believe more and more that there are people in the world who are not equipped mentally to grapple with symbol and metaphor. They just aren't wired for it.

The parts of the brain that process symbol, metaphor, satire, whatever, just don't seem to activate in many people.

This is not to say that they are less developed or damaged or whatever. Perhaps it's an issue of education - they weren't taught how to interpret symbols in art. Maybe it's the way their brains are wired. I dunno.

But there are many, many people who just read everything completely literally and if it doesn't say the right words: Jesus, God, saved, evil, etc. etc. then it isn't "Christian" and they have no time to waste on it.

These are the folks who fail to understand how Lord of the Rings can be Christian literature because it never mentions God. I just don't see that sort of person ever being able to discern good art from bad...


My friends really used to harra me quite regularly for my comment that "I hate Christian music." Now, hate is a srong word and i was not able to fully artiulate my iews briefly so usually I left it at that. But it is an excellent point, that we can slap the title Christian on a piece of music, art, media of any kind and it is to be embraced by the Christian community because monniker. Good music is good music. bad lyrics are bad lyrics. I can throw some names out here and potentially oend so i won't, but we maybe have all heard the Christian artist who couldn't have gotten time in a secular studio. Relevant to me? Yes. Good article. Thanks


keyboard problems,please forgive, i can spell.

alex  mcmanus


so sorry we didn't get to see you before you left los angeles.
i'll be in kansas in february. let's connect.

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