There is a wrong mentality in the Body of Christ, that, like a defective J. A. R. V. I. S in Iron Man’s suit, ministry and artistry are one and the same. You hear things like ‘I’m here to minister not entertain’ and so if the congregation isn’t moved, it’s simply because they aren’t worshipping God in Spirit and truth, not because dear Choir Mistress and her backup singers sound like the frogs God plagued Egypt with.
This behavior is somewhat acceptable for a Church choir, because yes, worship and praise are spiritual acts. But if you’re going to step into a studio and record some music that’s supposed to touch believer and unbeliever alike, you better entertain! Spiderman may be able to take down Vulture in his home made costume. But if he’s going up against Thanos, you best believe he’d be wearing that Tony Stark-made, million dollar, technologically-advanced costume.
I’ve had a very religious friend say that it doesn’t matter that XYZ Christian movie is wack. “It is not the movie, but God, that will touch people’s lives, and people will be blessed by it.” Today, XYZ movie part 3 is out, and not only has it gone from bad to terrible, but it’s also a financial failure, and it has God’s name on it. Spin it anyway you want but that’s bad PR. Meanwhile, Marvel just released what will be one of the highest grossing films of all time. To her and you I say, God’s excellence doesn’t shoot a 100 times and pray one stray bullet grazes the skin of an unbeliever. God’s kind of excellence is like Hawkeye, it never misses the mark.
‘Oh, but God isn’t commercial ‘, you say. Tell that to the fishermen who hauled a net full of fishes back into a boat. God is a God of extravagance. I mean the ‘pearly gates’, the ‘streets of gold’…
We’re supposed to make it on earth like it is in heaven, but believers seem intent on their dirt roads, and rusted iron gates that say ‘No Unbelievers Allowed’.
Paul made tents to fund his ministry, and that dude traveled further than Loki’s intergalactic army could ever dream. Meanwhile, (insert your favorite pastor here) requires your seed money to fund the purchase of his new jet. These things aren’t bad in themselves, but this idea that ‘if God doesn’t do it, it won’t get done’ is unscriptural, God already did it all in the person of Jesus Christ. So if it isn’t done, you’re the problem.
There’s a saying amongst African Americans that to make it as a person of color in the USA, you have to work twice as hard as the White man. Now that Christians have become a cultural minority, we must work thrice as hard as the unbeliever to create content, ideas, businesses, songs and products that will impact the world. Paul canonized this perfectly stating ‘I worked harder than all of them—yet not I but the grace of God that was with me.’ The “them” here were the apostles, but it illustrates that with great grace comes the empowerment to do exploits.
We are in an Infinity War, young believer. Our generation is increasingly becoming wary of ‘Spiritual Leaders’ behind a pulpit.
As an artist, you can hide in plain sight with your art. Receive the awards for excellence and then reveal your identity in Christ like Denzel Washington. Lightning didn’t strike thrice for Thor at the box office, because he was the Son of Odin. Lightening struck thrice because he’s pretty, funny, captivating and very well crafted. What is your craft, son of God? Is it well done?
Our Infinity War against the forces of Thanos won’t be won with carnal weapons, they will be won by great and profitable ideas. “I’m doing it for God” is not an excuse for mediocrity. God’s anointing doesn’t replace skill, it enhances it. The oil flows as long as there’s a container for it.
Solomon praised God with super-expensive projects. David praised God with excellent marksmanship, Joshua praised God with superb leadership skills, Abraham praised God by being visionary. There is a narrative of God’s strength being made perfect in our weakness. But look how that plays out in the Bible, imperfect people getting excellent results. Not imperfect people with average results. Shouting ‘God be praised’ is a lot more impactful from the Grammys stage than your room, at 4am, when people are sleeping.
In the words of Thanos I say to you ‘In time, you will know what it’s like to lose. To feel so desperately that you’re right, yet to fail all the same.’ In other words, just because you have the truth, doesn’t mean people will hear it without packaging. The LGBTQ community may be wrong, but when they drop their beliefs in the midst of well made content, you are still subconsciously warming up to their ideas. ‘Dread it! Run from it! Destiny still arrives.’ and when it does you better be ready, to Avenge the name of the Lord.