In an earlier post I wrote about the false dichotomy that is entrenched in our culture, separating “secular” and “sacred.” (The post is below).
Another manifestation is the existence of the Christian sub-culture. The Christian sub-culture is on display at almost any Christian bookstore. (Notice we have a “Christian” bookstore instead of the secular alternatives…. I’m not bashing Christian bookstores – we need good ones). The sub-culture in many ways mimics popular culture, only with “family-friendly” content. So we have Christian boy bands, Christian rappers, Christian romance novels, or that most disturbing and hilarious manifestation of cheesy Christianity: the Christian T-shirt (that’s a whole other post we could have fun with…)
Sadly, often the Christian versions of these popular products are of inferior quality. Most of what passes for Christian art isn’t really that great. The same could be said for novels and music. That, of course, is a real shame, for Christians should be in the vanguard of cultivating creativity and beauty. Instead we parrot what seems to be popular (re: making a buck or two) in the culture-at-large. Rather than moving into that culture to produce inspiring and noteworthy works of art that are seasoned with truth and grace, Christians retreat from the secular world into the marginalized world of the Christian ghetto.
There are, of course, those who buck the trend and seek to be “mainstream.” There are those who try to write good fiction imbued with a biblical worldview. But there seems to be, generally speaking, too much contentment in the Christian ghetto. I think it relates back to the sacred/secular dichotomy. What is secular – meaning what is not under a Christian label – must be inherently bad and dangerous, while what is labeled Christian is inherently good and pure. By the way, that’s a dangerous assumption on both ends. I don’t think the Christian sub-culture that exists in this country is what the Lord had in mind when he urged us to be in the world but not of it.