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How to create something people care about

I have had several discussions lately with people talking about Christian artwork and books. Most people who don’t particularly follow the Christian faith avoid anything labeled Christian at all costs. We discussed why.

Our first reason was that most of Christian artwork tends to depict one of a very few things. On the art side of things it tends to be pictures of Jesus on a cross or fish. In writing it’s poorly disguided preaches on what is considered morally acceptable to God.

Even when this is not the case the art work tends to only speak of lightness and happy things. Most seem to avoid all of the darker subject matters. They focus on the light of God and the good things that result in being a follower of Jesus.

The problem with both of these is that they mean very little to a person who hasn’t experienced them. Telling someone that life for someone else is amazing doesn’t make them feel any better.

To show someone faith and the light of God it requires something more. People relate to pain and suffering much quicker and more easily than happy things.

If Christians truly want people to understand how God can make a difference in their life they have to show that they understand the persons life before God, that their pain is understood, and their grief. It’s no good showing them the bandage but not what it can do.

For the help God can give and the light of God’s world to show it needs to be contrasted with darkness. Pain is there before healing. Loss before regain. Real life isn’t just answers. There are questions too. If we are intent on showing people the things God can do surely it helps to show them the situation before God does his thing.

On top of that being a Chrisitian isn’t always light and fluffy. Crap things happen in life regardless of who has a God to help them or not. Too many Christians seem to think they need to show an outside look of perfection and a happy life because otherwise it will make their God look bad. It doesn’t. It just makes it difficult for anyone to relate to what their saying.

In short people need to be real with the things they create. To create it out of real emotions, passions and situations. Not out of some preach they have in their head. To not be afraid of taking their work to darker places simply because that’s how they felt the day they created that part.

When viewers and readers can relate they begin to care. Caring is only the first step in the process but it might just gain back some of the reputation Christian artists have lost.

The Art Of Writing

A guest blog by Chrysalis

Writing is an art. This is a fairly well accepted statement, but what does it mean for an activity to be an art? Some say art cannot be wrong, it is just good or bad. If a painting is called “dog” but looks like a cat, it is not wrong as this is viewed as the artist’s impression of the dog. This can only happen very rarely in literature, as grammar and general comprehension is necessary to ensure some enjoyment for the reader. The Jabberwocky poem, for example, comes close to this by inventing new words that have no meaning, but you can still understand the vague meaning behind it. So can writing be correct within the context on comprehension?

The interesting thing about comprehension in writing is that it’s not always intended. The writer can often leave ambiguities in their work to create some effect, either to allow the reader some freedom or to leave things undiscovered. It is part of the joy of the English language that there is so much room for ambiguity, poetry and multiple meanings. On the other hand, making everything so clear that there is no doubt as to what the writer sees is often very tedious to read. It is perhaps this that makes it an art form; finding the delicate balance between too much and too little.

Take for example the statement “there is a cat on the mat”. It is perfectly adequate to convey the idea, but it is not attractive to look at nor an enthralling idea. It gives you almost no pleasure in reading it, as the person who wrote clearly did not put much effort into writing it. You can take nothing from it, as there is so much that you have to do with it to make it exciting that it requires more input than you expect to get out.

Compare this to, “Magnum’s back was bent in what looked a most uncomfortable position, but her purring seemed to suggest the opposite was true.” Here you can imagine more clearly what is compelling about the subject and get an impression of the person saying it too. Altogether, it is much more provocative and involving.

It is this that makes it art. The fact you can take enjoyment from it, without any clear definition as to why. The ability to create something, however abstract and share it is something precious and fragile. The recipient will almost certainly see something different from what the author first thought of, but this should be seen of as a gift. Art is not meant to simply convey a message, it’s meant to provoke a response. That could be something as simple as imagining a cat or as far reaching as starting a revolution. Art is powerful and words even more so.