Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Gospel According to the Beatles

CT's LaTonya Taylor reviews The Gospel According to the Beatles (an excerpt from which can be read here) and Infuze Magazine's Matt Conner talks with its author, Steve Turner, about the book and Christian artists (HT: Rick Pearcey at his and wife Nancy's new blog).

Some noteworthy quotes from the interview:

Too often Christians know the Christian view on the Bible and prayer - in other words, on the overtly religious - but not on the things that take up our everyday lives. I think that has happened because Christians haven't been encouraged to think Christianly. They think Christianly about worship on Sundays but switch to a normal, secular frequency during the rest of the week.
American "Christian" TV is a huge enemy of this worldview thinking, and possibly a huge enemy of Christianity. The CCM industry also stifles it by creating a genre of music where it's possible for Christians to sing to Christians about Christian things in a Christian language. We have just developed a very narrow idea of what "Christian" is. I saw an entry in a directory for Christian artists where someone had advertised themselves as writing "poetry both Christian and non Christian." I think he meant poetry that was specifically religious and poetry that was about everday life but he had unconsciously betrayed the fact that, when he wrote asbout ordinary events in his life, he thought of these things as somehow outside his experience as a Christian. As though God is not interested in us walking, eating, fishing, playing ball, shopping, etc.

Hank Rookmaaker the Dutch art historian used to say, "Christ didn't die in order that we could go to more prayer meetings." People would gasp at this. Then he would add, "Christ died to make us fully human." That's right. He didn't die to make us religious, but to make us human. In our fallen state, we lack the completeness of our humanity. The monastic tradition makes the mistake of thinking that God is best pleased with us when we cut ourselves off from the world, deny ourselves pleasure, refrain from marriage and devote ourselves totally to religious activities. This almost assumes that God made a mistake in putting us in a world of pleasure, culture, art, nature, work, companionship, etc. Fundamentalists would hate to be compared with medieval monks but, in many ways, they suffer from the same split.
Turner is also the author of Imagine: A Vision for Christians in the Arts, which I've read and highly recommend ton anyone interested in exploring the relationship between Christianity and creativity.

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