If you've read The Chronicles of Narnia, you know they are loaded with Christian themes and symbols. That's why many assume that C. S. Lewis wrote them in order to send some kind of Christian message.
But Lewis himself insisted otherwise. The tales, he said, started as a series of pictures that came into his mind and set his imagination working. The result was not sermons, but stories-beautiful stories loved by believers and non-believers alike for decades.
There's a lesson in here for all of us. Conservative Christians today often feel alienated from the larger society, and for good reason. The vast majority of the stories that permeate our culture are told by people whose worldview is diametrically opposed to ours. We can hardly watch a TV show or read a magazine without seeing ourselves portrayed as villains, and our cultural opponents held up as the epitome of righteousness.
And it's not hard to see the political impact stories have on our fellow Americans. As National Review Online recently put it: "The fact is, it's easier to sell a political narrative to America when it comports with the cultural narrative we see and hear every day."...
This is why conservative Christians need to be wary of engaging in cultural efforts just to push a message. As Wainer reminds us, "Jon Stewart knows comedy in his bones; he happens to be liberal . . . but he mainly wants to make people laugh. When conservatives start telling stories to express their ideology, they have missed the motive that will sustain them through the years of … setbacks common to anyone in the entertainment industry." And audiences will know the difference-and stay away.
Christians produced great art and culture for centuries, and we can do it again. But there are no shortcuts. The church needs to teach its members a strong and consistent Christian worldview, and then support and encourage those with artistic gifts to pursue their calling.
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