Art History

Christian artists must push their creativity to attract attention | Pro Club Bd

The following column appeared in this newspaper on June 26, 1997 – 25 years plus one month ago. It was the first Faith column I wrote, and it centered on a speech by Philip Yancey. A quarter of a century later, Yancey has written many outstanding Christian books, and other creative people have taken his message to heart. I was hoping to hear him speak again in person at a CS Lewis conference in Oxford, England this week, but I’m content to see him live online at home. Since 1997 I have written 474 more of these columns. Here is the first:

Somewhere in a storage shed in the backyard of the Texas Panhandle are the notes I made one morning in June 1979 in St. Paul, Minn.

I was so impressed by the young speaker that day that I need not search my notes to recall the admonition he gave to a group of young Christian writers.

“Christians usually settle for less than the best,” was the crux of Philip Yancey’s remarks.

Yancey, who has already written a few bestsellers, must have taken pains not to offend some of the genuine people in his audience without glossing over his criticism.

Mike Haynes

He left the whitewash in the bucket.

Writers, musicians, painters—anyone trying to do something creative to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ—too often produce mediocre work and knowingly or unknowingly pass it off as excellent work.

Christian artists, Yancey claimed, do not attract the attention of people in mainstream culture because the quality of their work does not compare to the efforts made by talented people whose motivation is far less divine.

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