Written by Victor Stanley Jr.
What Responsibilities Do People Have When It Comes To The Art/Media They Consume???
Recently I participated in a live discussion that revolved around the topic of “Artistry Evangelism”. I”m not going to explain all of that here, but you can watch the discussion here TuesdayTopic Live 3.
One of the things I spoke on was whether or not Christian artists needed to explicitly present the Gospel or Christ in their music. I didn’t fully expand on those thoughts, and have received some questions from various people, so I want to clarify a few things.
1) In no way am I saying we should hide that we’re Christians, or in any way diminish the centrality of Christ in our lives.
2) I agree that we need to let know people know what we’re about from the get go, but after that point I feel that the responsibility shifts. After a certain point it is up to the listener to research and learn about the artists to whom they are listening. The artist cannot constantly be concerned with making sure every song gives a complete synopsis of who they are.
For instance, my favorite rapper is Jay Z. Now I promise you that you won’t understand half of what Jay raps about if you don’t know anything about who he is, his past, and his beliefs. The thing is, he doesn’t provide all this information in all his music, so I’ve watched his interviews, read his books, analyzed his lyrics, researched his background, listened to him speak, cross referenced his material from different albums to see where pieces of different stories and ideas fit together, and on, and on, and on. This is called “Critical Analysis”.
The problem with our instant gratification culture is that we never take the time to reflect on all the media and information we absorb. People don’t practice critical Analysis when it comes to the music they listen to, the books and magazines they read, the interviews of famous people they watch, the movies and TV shows they watch, and so on. This leads to an uproar, or a backlash when their favorite artist, or politician, or celebrity does something that doesn’t line up with the viewers own perception of that person. Many times the celebrity’s actions are very consistent with their worldview, their personality, and who they are as a person. The problem is that their fans never take the time to research and critically analyze their favorite celebrity’s worldview and background.
The artist is responsible for initially making known their worldview, but after they have done this it is the responsibility of the fan to further investigate the artist’s worldview, past, and whatever else they can find out about them.
People need to be responsible consumers in every area of their lives. This includes the food you buy, the clothes you purchase, the music you listen to, the movies you watch, the services you buy, and everything else. Research, investigate, practice critical thinking and analysis, and educate yourself.