Monday, August 3, 2009

1 down...

I just finished "reading" the first Harry Potter book (Sorcerer's Stone; it was an audio book on youtube) I now almost regret boycotting the whole Harry Potter scene all these years...but the fun that came from aggravating my obsessed friends was worth it. As much as I agree with the Christian world's censure of the series because of the blatant witchcraft, Rowling is a very good storyteller. Though it's not commonly thought of as such in our culture, I believe writing is an art form. After all, what separates classic literature from harlequin novels? What makes a book stand the test of time? Can the incorrect worldview or bad subject matter of an otherwise good author be overlooked for the sake of enjoying the work itself?

"In the presentation of an artwork, there are two people involved-the creator, and the beholder. It is possible for a creator to craft a painting of great beauty, recognized as pleasing by all eyes, and for the creator to claim, in his own heart, all the glory...However, a beholder of the same work, who recognizes God as the source and means of all the pleasing creativity fleshed out through the hand of a man, could respond with praise to God. Praise to God for God's work in creating the artist with such skill. Praise to God for a veil lifted and a truth now seen through a work of art. Praise to God for the grace given to that artist as he was disciplined in the work of his hands. Praise to God that there are people who can express truths in ways that are different from how he is able to express them. Praise to God for his diversification of talent and function within mankind. Praise to God for all the enjoyment He gives us to experience in artistic expression...Both Godly-worship and idolatry can result from beholding the same work."
(The Affections of the Heart in Art-Jason Harms)

That is how I can redeem my reading, or enjoyment of any art form. This is how I'm called to live out all aspects of my life, doing all to the the glory of God. Discernment is indeed important, and sin must be called sin. But choosing to banish all things someone finds questionable stinks of legalism. I praise God for art, and pray that it be used to spread His fame. Can I read books full of witchcraft to the glory of God? Lord, give me grace. I've still got 6 left.

4 comments:

Michael N. said...

I'm glad to hear you're enjoying the Harry Potter experience! However, I'm feeling guilty for not applying such pious reasoning to my own enjoyment of the books.
Would/could giving glory to God for art and artist be extended to such "questionable" media as horror films? What about violent video games, or music with objectionable lyrics?

Kelsey Sturm said...

Interesting question/s. Opens up a whole can of worms, doesn't it? ;)

Here's my short answer: First, one needs to recognize that their purpose in life is to bring glory to God and be satisfied in Him. You need Him; He created the universe and chose to redeem you. This should lead us to worship, not just in the traditional way we think of at church, but with our whole being. It becomes something that's inherently part of our new, God-given nature.
Then (finally getting to your question) when you're faced with "questionable" media, you have to honestly ask yourself some things. Go through the list in Philippians 4:8, " Is this true? Honorable? Just? Pure? Lovely?"(etc.) Can I participate in this with a clear conscience? Ultimately, it's between you and God. (Romans 14:22: That whole chapter is actually quite helpful on this issue) So, as much as it may sound like avoiding the issue, I believe that giving glory to God through "questionable" media is possible, but a very subjective thing. In all honesty, if you have to try hard to justify a thing to yourself as good, there's probably a problem with it. We do know there's a time and a place for everything; all things are permitted, but not all things are profitable.
My 2 cents, for what it's worth.

Stephen said...

I think I need to read Mr. Harms' book.

Kelsey Sturm said...

I've already told you that, Stephen! ;)