Friday, September 14, 2012

Salt and Light?

I wanted to add an addendum to my previous post on Mary Mary's horrendously shallow video for their most excellent song "God in Me." As is almost always the case, what I wanted to say was already articulated by someone else in a superior way. In this situation, I turn to noted British cultural critic (and as far as I know non-Christian) Stuart Hall who said this about the political implications of cultural studies:
I do believe that politics is impossible without what I have called 'the arbitrary closure';without whatHomi Bhabha called social agency as an arbitrary closure. That is to say, I don't understand a practise which aims to make a difference in the world, which doesn't have some points of difference or distinction which it has to stake out, which really matter (emphasis mine)
Hall's statement is relevant not only to a discussion on Mary Mary's video, but it speaks to that larger question I posed on why so much Christian artistic expression is, to put in bluntly, absolutely terrible. What we have are two extremes, both of which illustrate a complete disregard for our calling (Matthew 5:13-16)to be salt and light. On the one hand, we have people like Mary Mary who are doing truly innovative music, yet the Christcentric points of "difference and distinction" have been completely neutered when the music was married to the completely depraved images of the video. 

On the other side we have Christian artists who are so cloistered in their self-imposed God bubble that they don't realize that their lameness is a hindrance to evangelization. At this point, I should name names and put these people on blast, but you know who they are. You would never admit to liking their music. The production quality is antiquated, the lyrics hokey and simplistic. The talent is abysmal. This stuff is just as bad, in my opinion, as the "Inspirational" music that is devoid of Christ because it is homogeneous and lacks the distinction and goodness that any art that is supposed to represent the Lord should have. And the really disturbing thing about this is that most of the money and resources that are in the the body of Christ are put into this second-rate "art." I repeat: most of the money and resources that are in the the body of Christ are put into the promotion and proliferation of this second-rate "art." The truly cutting age, progressive, and scripturalmusic, literature, and art is going unnoticed while the superficial and the stupid takes center stage. So I ask YOU, where is the salt and light? Where is the distinction? Where is the difference?

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