The more I explore the world of Christianity and the Arts, the more I find that I am in disagreement with other believers in the Arts, and about fundamentally important issues. Those who are the most vocal about Christian aesthetics, tend to have a theology which abuses the Arts for an unbiblical motive.
I'm not a Christian reconstructionalist, Dominionist, Liberal, or Emergent.
These differences are important because they all have a tremendous effect on the actual creation and use of art.
For many who are concerned with Christian aesthetics, Art is a vehicle for social and political change. In this crowd, the Great Commission is secondary to the physical needs of people, and Art is the method by which we can draw the Church's attention to those physical needs. Many who follow this view will scream to catch the ears of those ignoring social injustice, but shun the thought of speaking of Christ's work on the cross publicly.
For others, Art is a means of conquering the culture in order to help establish a Christian kingdom. If we retreat from the Arts, the secular world will have total control over it! Christ's kingdom is no longer spiritual in this ideology, it can be measured in album sales and popularity.
Then there are those who would have us make Christian Art so that we can retreat from the world. If we have our own songs, we will not have to be exposed to theirs. Art in this view is a aspartame solution, a poor and cancerous substitute which at best will make us gaseous and at worst will kill us. And the Art of the unsaved is seen as unredeemable waste, utterly devoid of the glory of God and incapable of communicating anything worthy of praise.
Or perhaps Art is used to communicate spiritual truth, since propositional truth is completely elusive. Here Art replaces the exposition of Scripture and is imbued with mystical meaning to fill some imagined spiritual void which the Word of God cannot speak to.
Or Art is a tool for reaching the lost. A disingenuous and insincere platform for evangelism that is too close to propaganda for my comfort. Much like setting traps for the lost, they make art that closely resembles that of the world to lure unbelievers into their midst and convince them that they need not sacrifice any of the amusements of the world. And by repetition of Christian-esse over the familiar sounds of the world, they can subtly persuade unsuspecting heathens to convert. How similar to radio jingles this approach is.
This is not meant to be yet another Internet jeremiad over the "problems" of the Church. My hope is to find more believers that seek to make art to glorify God and edify man. I openly acknowledge that some of these views of art have resulted in great contributions to Christianity and the Arts. And nearly all of these views have kernels of truth to them. But I am disappointed to find so few believers interested in the arts in a way that is Biblically sound and aesthetically excellent. Perhaps I'm just looking in the wrong places.