Tuesday, January 21, 2014

“Let there be no mistake: it is the actuality of love, contemplation in charity, which is here required. A Christian work would have the artist, as a man, a saint” (55).

 Maritain says that Christian art is “difficulty squared” because it is a “question of reconciling two absolutes” (53). Often we assume that in order for art to “Christian” it has to be cute and nice and inoffensive so as to avoid heresy (think Hallmark Channel). Or we limit the forms of art to which the word “Christian” can apply. Of course music can blend the two harmoniously without raising any objections (unless its rap), but we limit what can and cannot be considered “Christian”.  Even when someone does venture out into various art forms, like film or fiction, it’s rarely considered art by secular critics because it’s often too safe. We have access to and communicate with the most creative Being in existence, yet we suppress our imagination and curiosity. We should cultivate our creativity, rather than worrying about receiving condemnation for stepping over boundaries. Christian art is “the art of humanity redeemed”, and redemption is inspiring, provocative, and enlightening. Our art should always reflect that.

"But all such forms of art will bear a family likeness and all differ substantially from non-Christian forms of art, as the flora of the mountains differs from the flora of the plains" (55).

Maritain also argues that secular art can contain Christian elements such as hope and harmony. There’s a secular song by Andrew Duhon called “Just Another Beautiful Girl” that condemns a small town church for “[wearing] their Bible belt[s] a little too tight” and out casting a girl for her rebellious actions. Some would hear the song and assume that Duhon is too critical of Christians. But when I listen to it I hear the voice of someone who has found hurt instead of love from people who claim to possess the love of Christ. The only difference between Duhon’s song and Bebo Norman’s song “Britney”, which apologizes to Britney Spears for what  is that Norman writes “we stood aside and watched you fall apart” instead of “they”. Both songs inspire sympathy for the girl gone astray, yet Norman's accepts blame rather than placing blame.  

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