Art as Suffering

“What has made ‘christian art’ often seem a dubious label is not so much the bad name that ‘christian’ has got through religious wars or through christian mission getting mixed up with economic exploitation, bad though these things were. What really has given ‘christian art’ its bad name has been the cheap way that stock motifs such as conversions, happy endings of Bible phrases are popped in like vitamin pills to pep up one-dimensional, outdated material which is then sold as ‘christian  novels’, ‘christian plays’ or ‘christian songs’. Using Christ in that way is, in my judgment, taking his Name in vain. You do not get the rare pearl of christian art by dubbing in a few crosses or chalices, or by draping a good-old-days kind of atmosphere around a trite plot. Christian art in our day, I believe, will take suffering to produce.”

Calvin Seerveld, Bearing Fresh Olive Leaves, p. 17

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