When people would come to C.S. Lewis and say “oh you wrote the Chronicles of Narnia, you’re a ‘Christian artist’ how wonderful, how did you do it?” He would say that some people thought that he began by asking himself “How could I say something about Christianity to children”, and then he fixed on fairy tails as an instrument to do it. Then he collected info about child psychology and which age group he’d write for. They thought that he then drew up a list of basic Christian truths and hammered out symbols to embody them. “What moonshine, I couldn’t write like that.” And then he says do not ask what do children or readers want or even what do they need. It’s better not to ask those questions at all. He says NEVER start with a moral and then try to come up with a story. Rather, let the images and stories that come into your mind and move you, tell you their own moral. “For the moral inherent in them will rise from whatever spiritual roots you have succeeded in striking during the whole course of your life”
What pearls. He’s saying, "don’t you dare gather up some Christian truths, and then come up with stories or art to get them across” That would be bad art. It would be sanctimonious and pedantic, as TK would say. He is wanting us to ask ourselves “Have I worked every single aspect of the gospel down into the roots of my life, has every feature of the gospel story sunk so deep into the roots of my life that the images that come to me, that move me, simply bubble up out of that?”
Thursday, September 04, 2008
My friend Whitney posted some very profound thoughts on a post of hers recently. It's all about not how there really is no such thing as "Christian" and "secular" art. Check it out.