I really enjoy creative people and I particularly enjoy artists. Music, film, theater, painting…my best day would be spent in a local art museum leading into a performance of a play at a community theater followed by a stop at a local venue to hear a few local bands and capped off by a midnight showing of a film. Yep. The arts have me and won’t let me go.
For a number of reasons I want to support creativity executed at a high level whenever I can. Call me crazy, but there’s so much ugliness and pain and fighting in the world that I want to applaud those who pour themselves into making the world a little more beautiful.
Over the last few weeks Michael Gungor, one of my favorite musical artists, has been stirring up a lot of emotions among conservative evangelical Christians with his views opposing a literal interpretation of the Bible. While I’m not surprised, I’m a bit confused by the response. I wonder how many of those who are reacting against him will stop reading C.S. Lewis or Tim Keller or some of the leaders of the early church because they don’t hold to a fully literal interpretation of the Bible.
To be clear, I’m not saying I agree with Gungor’s comments. I’m saying that his comments aren’t going to keep me from enjoying his music. There’s a lot of what some might consider very “biblically sound” music that I don’t listen to because, frankly, it’s just not very good.
I watch Wes Anderson films because they are beautifully executed with intricate dialogue and a distinctive visual sense.
I enjoy Chris Taylor’s music and paintings because he weaves ideas and words and images into a tapestry of beauty that gives you a clear look into who he is.
I don’t take in the work of an artist because he or she agrees with me on every point of theology or morality. When that happens I’m glad for it, but it isn’t a prerequisite to my enjoyment of their craft.
I’m not going to stop listening to Gungor because I think he may have misled me in some manner and has somehow betrayed me. I don’t depend on him or any other artist for my spiritual growth. I depend on artists to make the world a little more enjoyable by making great art. I listen to Gungor’s music because it is intricate and complex and unique…and beautiful.
We need more beautiful in the world, no?