Yesterday, I posted about how we don’t need anymore “Christian” whatevers. In a similar vein, today I would like to talk specifically about art. If you read yesterday’s post, you would know that I’m off the mindset that what we need isn’t more Christian art, but rather more Christians who are artists. And of those, we need Christian artists who are committed to excellence in their art.
Gone are the days (if indeed they were ever here) where we can slap on a coat of Jesus varnish and expect the world to go “Ooh! Ah! Jesus!” No, mediocre art really only accomplishes two things:
1) It makes us look bad.
2) It makes Jesus look bad.
Excellence, however, opens doors. Excellence speaks for itself, and indeed invites conversation. It gets people talking, and provides organic opportunities for the artist to share his story. And make no mistake: that is what people today are looking for: to connect with someone’s story.
Yes, we’re supposed to share the Gospel. But more importantly, we’re supposed to live it. One of the ways to do so is to be excellent in all that we do. Because that is another thing excellence does: it elevates. It draws people into a shared transcendence.
But mediocrity does not. Mediocrity is boring, banal, and really not worthy of attention. And the thing is that, for those of us who would call ourselves Christian artists, our art isn’t ultimately for our fellow man–it is for us, and for God. And why would we, after he gave us Jesus, ever think that giving him less than our best is somehow okay?
PRO TIP: it’s not.
But excellence has a cost: it’s hard. Insanely so at times. Often we’re tempted to give in, throw in the towel, settle.
The world is full of frustrated artists who’ve settled.
But is that who you and I want to be? If so, let’s prepare to be ignored. If, however, you do not wish to be ignored, throw yourself into your art with abandon. Put your heart, soul, mind, guts into it.
Put your life on the line. Every time.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is what the watching world is waiting for.
So make excellence your everyday goal. If you’re a writer, beat your head against your desk until your forehead takes on an oaken sheen. If a painter, paint until your fingers bleed a rainbow of colors. If an actor, lose yourself in your roles.
If a plumber, plumb the depths until you reach China. You get what I mean.
Remember: the goal here is not to save oneself, but rather to lose oneself. And in the losing to find.
The great paradox of art, and life, is indeed that: in losing, we win. In giving up, we find. To borrow a phrase, excellence is one door away from heaven.
And by excellence we earn the right to be heard. We earn the platform.
Don’t settle for less.
“In all that you do, do it as unto the Lord.”