Have you ever wondered why most evangelicals cannot write good fiction or compose good music? I have. I’ve read some abysmal Christian fiction (Left Behind, anything by Randy Alcorn, and others) and I wonder, why are all the good books written by people who don’t claim an evangelical stance or who are atheists or agnostics? C.S. Lewis could write. So could J.R.R. Tolkien. My favorite Christian writer wrote almost 100 years ago: George MacDonald. But most evangelicals would be hard put to name any truly great Christian fiction author. I believe there is something stunted in the evangelical imagination that prevents them from truly “feeling” real emotions or identifying with the thoughts and struggles of real people. I believe that they are so focused on the single purpose of evangelism that they are blinded to art for art’s sake. Everything for the evangelical has to have a purpose or it’s futile. This is why Christian music is also mostly bad. It’s pretty much sentimental tripe in the worst pop tradition style. Don’t get me wrong, there are some good songs out there in Christianland, but the Jesus love songs can’t compare to the worst of Styx or Supertramp or Fleetwood Mac. What can I say, I grew up in the 70s!?
I know that when I am in a full blown Christian mode of thinking, my imagination goes down the toilet. After all the Christian is supposed to cast down imaginations and bring everything under the reign of Christ, right? (2 Cor. 10:5) But by doing so, my creativity flies right out the window and I feel dead, deprived of all the creative juices that informed my college years and won me awards at university. Freedom is curtailed and my love of life, thought, and imagination is so severely stunted that I feel that I’m a worthless talent. All that is beautiful is stripped away, nature is muted, music carries no weight….it’s as if life itself is tamped down.
I’m not sure why this is, but I don’t like it. This morning I plugged in one of many iTunes Cd’s that I’ve made for myself. Cd’s of good, rousing music, from all decades of my life and all moods. What gets me going? Here’s what’s playing right now:
iTunes CD number 1
- Love is a Beautiful Thing by Al Green (click link to listen at Seth Swirsky’s site, scroll down the page to get it)
- Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty
- Mad World by Gary Jules
- Fall At Your Feet by Crowded House
- Renegade by Styx
- Lullaby by Shawn Mullins
- Into the Ocean by Blue October
- Counting Blue Cars by Dishwalla
- November Rain by Guns N Roses
- Black Horse and a Cherry Tree by K.T. Tunstall
- Seminole Wind by John Anderson
Now this list is one of many Cd’s that gets me going in the morning, transports me to another time and place and allows me to think creatively. You could say it’s my altar ego’s morning devotion time. Oh, my goddess, there’s nothing like Al Green’s rendition of Love is a Beautiful Thing to put me in a good mood!! Since I commute 40 minutes one way every morning, I have to do something or succumb to road rage (people are such dumb drivers).
But while I listen, I remember that before I was a Christian I had a distinct personality with strong moods, distinct tastes in art and music, a pretty good writing ability, humor, and yes, even sex appeal. Now I just feel like a 47 year old, creatively challenged, gravity-victimized mother of 3 adults, who couldn’t appreciate beauty if it knocked me in the head. I don’t like it. The only thing that makes me forget my age (besides my husband)? Jensen Ackles.
UPDATE: Jensen Ackles removed due to bad link. Google image him and you’ll find him. 🙂