I host a Christian radio show, but I don’t talk about Jesus every time I turn on the mic. I mean, I say his name a lot, but that’s just because the name of the show is Jesus Freaks. In fact, a lot of the time, we talk about pretty mundane things on the air. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve turned on the mic, said “you’re listening to Jesus freaks,” and then gone on to chuckle at the latest piece of odd news I’ve managed to dig up.
I haven’t gotten any complaints about this from listeners yet, but sometimes there’s a voice in the back of my head that tells me I’m not making the show Christian enough. It tells me I need to talk more about my devotions, about beautiful times of worship, and about my excitement for Heaven. A lot of the time, I’m tempted to listen to that voice.
And so I ask the question: At what point is my content Christian enough?
There’s a debate going on between a bunch of folks about this concept. Ever since Christianity became an entertainment genre as well as a religion, there’s been pressure on content creators who work within that genre to produce content with a very specific message.
I remember reading an article that criticized Michael W. Smith for using the name of Jesus fewer times in one of his albums than U2 did on one of theirs. Frankly, the whole thing struck me as ridiculous. It’s no secret that Bono is a Christian musician, but since U2 is “technically” a secular band, Michael W. Smith should apparently be ashamed that he got “out-Jesused” by a bunch of heathens.
Granted, this is an extreme example, but I think a lot of Christian entertainment gets made with this sort of mentality: in order to be Christian, I have to deal as heavily as I can with the most distinctly Christian things I can think of. When you think of Christian music, do you think about songs that deal with social issues, relationships, or politics? Or do you think about songs that deal with sanctuaries, with the resurrection, and with the Second Coming?
If we’re worried about why our religion isn’t always seen as something relevant to society, I think one of the places we need to look is at the art we’re pumping out. I’m not saying there’s something wrong with the ultra-spiritual side of Christianity. That stuff is vital to our faith, but there is so much more to what we’re about. This religion touches every corner of our lives, and we need art and entertainment that reflects this truth.
So maybe the question of whether or not something is Christian enough really is a valid question. But maybe when we ask the question we should be less concerned with what we’re talking about and more concerned with how we’re talking about it.
Question of the Week
What do you think of Christian art? Should the word “Christian” even be used as an entertainment genre?