Steve Turner originally wanted to title his book Imagine: A Vision for Christians in the Arts as Being There.
He states: “I was calling them [Christians] not to a particular strategy and definitely not to a special subculture, but to simply “be there” where it counts and create something different and challenging by staying faithful and allowing that faith to invade their vision.” (p.127)
The idea comes from Paul who challenges believers to stay in the position they were in, but now live as believers in Jesus. (I Corinthians 7:24)
This idea leads to three distinct ways to live your Christian life within the context of your art.
First, we must know what we believe and why.
A sloppy approach to understanding God’s word and the application of it to our daily lives will not arm us to live faithfully, lovingly, and obediently in our culture.
Here are just a handful of books that have helped me and many others explain basic questions of Christianity.
- Know What You Believe by Paul E. Little
- Know Why You Believe by Paul E. Little
- How to be Your Own Selfish Pig by Susan Schaeffer Macauley
- The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel
- Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
And, of course, there is no substitute for reading God’s word. Always, always go there first.
Bible reading plans offer a practical way to read the Bible in six months or a year or even faster. Of course, reading straight through from Genesis to Revelations is also not just appropriate, but contributes strongly to viewing God’s work in the world from the beginning.
If you have not read through the Bible, begin. If you’ve stopped, start again.
Second, stay in fellowship with other believers.
With the online buzz about ‘tribes’ and ‘my people’ or ‘peeps,’ it is so easy to dismiss your fellow Christians at church as not your group. But they are.
Once start to think that you are above common fellowship with others who worship God and you are in danger of believing you are above others, believers and non-believers.
Christianity is unique for many reasons, but one is that we all kneel before God on level ground.
And third, every area of our life – artistic or otherwise – must be lived in obedience.
“Christianity is not a mere philosophy, it is a spiritual relationship that results in changed thoughts and actions, and it will only rub off on our work if it has first of all permeated our lives.” (Turner, Imagine, p.128)
How do you learn to be obedient? Read the Bible, pray, listen for God’s voice. Repeat.
Being there – or living as Christians in our circumstances and in our art – requires a grounding of your faith found in Bible study and prayer, fellowship with other believers, and obedience in every area of life, including art.
P.S. How do you incorporate these three practices into your art and writing projects?