Christians and the Visual Arts...
Is there anything not absolutely normal about the Hollywood lifestyle of this young woman?
Is there any way parents can train up a son or daughter for this kind of career without anticipating this kind of outcome? Are there Christians in this realm of the arts? Sure. Is the existence of Christians in this realm of the arts justification for churches and Christian schools uncritically propelling their children in this direction? Certainly not.
Coming a bit closer to home... Is there anything all that different about the moral course of a typical career in professional dance versus a career in Hollywood? Of a painter or sculptor?
In what conceivable universe should Christians be encouraging their children in these sorts of directions without anticipating potentially tragic outcomes? Does this mean every Christian actor or dancer has prostituted his or her faith? Certainly not. But the track record of those who have versus those who have not certainly shouldn't encourage us to propel our children down these career paths--or to look uncritically at the various visual art forms which so tend toward immorality. (And of course, if you've read this blog over any length of time you know that we are not merely practicing guilt-by-association in making this connection. We tend to believe Christians have failed to apply the second commandment to modern visual arts, a foundational neglect of God's Law which inevitably tends to various other forms of neglect.)
Finally, for all the talk in certain quarters about redeeming culture, all the WORLD Magazine Daniel awards for visual artists, all the lionization of Christian artists taking place in various sectors of (especially) the Reformed world, where's the beef? Where's the salt producing saltiness? Where's the light banishing the darkness? Why can't we see that only the Gospel illuminates, only the Gospel preserves? Why do we think artists and the arts are capable of redeeming culture in a way that plumbers and ditch-diggers do not?
As a matter of fact, I suspect were we to weigh the contributions to culture of Christian plumbers against Christian visual artists, the scales would come heavily down on the side of training our children to be plumbers and ditch-diggers.
One last note--please read the full story first if you're tempted toward a knee-jerk defense of Christian involvement in the representational visual arts.