Saturday, December 26, 2009

CCSG Chapter 9: Christian Entertainment and Bookstores [Part 1]

Read about this series of posts here, The Christian Culture Survival Guide.

Christianity is an industry, as well as a religion.  I'd like to say it began a while ago, when people first started to sing in churches; the music that was played was considered Christian, and fit enough to grace the ears of the Almighty one.  Or, perhaps it started in art (but then again, many will be quick to note that the reason for this was that those with the money to fund artistic endeavors were also those preaching and serving in the pews).  Or maybe the Christian industry is really a relatively recent thing, something that was brought about by the rise of television and radio.  Christians now have their own brand of everything, really, and no doubt this helps Christians to stay in their own bubbles and never come out.

When you go to watch the television, there are channels such as the Trinity Broadcast Network that plays exclusively Christian programming all day, every day.  Their is even a version of this channel aimed at the more youthful Christians, JC-TV, that is pretty much a Christian MTV.  Speaking of music, there are Christian music record labels aimed at providing Christian only content, and rightfully so.  With the hash of Christian fundamentalists claiming that the world belongs to the devil, no wonder Christians want to reside within their on circles.  The world is a scary place, and these good Christian labels are here to help discriminate between what belongs to Satan, and what praises God.

Hell, there are even Christian movies too (ones you don't really hear about), and don't get me started on the horde of Christian books as well.

But I do agree that these Christian directors, producers, publishers. are allowed to create films, music, and books for whatever public they want; it is their right to do so, and I do not want to take that away from them.  I really don't mind much, actually.  I'm sure if I were a Christian trying to abstain from the evil of the world, I'd be particularly set on only watching, reading, listening to Christian media.

Mr. Turner, the author of the book, discusses how Christianity seems to be a few years behind its contemporary secular partner in the entertainment industry.  He also makes the point of saying that Christian products are not usually creative, harping on other avenues for inspiration.  The end result is usually corny.

A big message in the book to Christian entertainers (the musicians) is that just because you're Christians does not mean you can't go out and have a blast... or something like that.  Really, saying "Praise the Lord" and the like every five minutes gets boring.  Christians are humans, and they want to enjoy those twenty-five dollars they spent to go to your concert.  (Of course, who can blame anybody for buyers remorse after listening to "Open the Eyes of My Heart", and "How Great is Our God").

According to Mr. Turner, here are five ways of making yourself a better Christian entertainer: 

1.  Remember your audience

2. Remember your budget

3.  Remember your story

4.  Remember your reason

5.  Remember your creator
    Really, it all sums down to "Put God first", which of course is what every good Christian should do.  And not just in music, but movies too!

    Here is Mr. Turner's five five must-dos when watching a Christian movie:

    1.  To make the time go by quicker, watch it with a Christian friend. 

    2.  Even though you know you could make a better script, refrain from stating the obvious.

    3.  Have a strong drink ready, and by strong drink the author means coffee.

    4.  Look past the shitty action scenes.

    5.  Make the last few minutes optional.

    I appreciate the fact that this Christian author decided to poke fun (albeit while being truthful) about the Christian movie industry.  How many of you have read "Left Behind"?  We all know Kirk Cameron as the washed out teen actor from Growing Pains, who now assists Ray Comfort in promoting his Way of the Master television program, and the crocoduck myth; however, Kirk Cameron was one of the stars of the movie rendition of the Left Behind series, which you can view a trailer of by clicking here.  He also starred in the movie "Fireproof", which has a cheesy website by the name "Fireproof my marriage" that has all sorts of articles that you can use to protect your nice Christian marriage... but that's besides the point.  These two movies by Kirk Cameron are obviously tailored for Christian audiences, and even within that circle only cater to the fundamentalists (or those who like watching crap films).  Sure, these movies may not have completely flopped, but that's only because there is a great many people who do not want to leave the bubble.


    1. I haven't read your other commentaries on this book, but this one was interesting. Just wondering, why are you reading this book? Are you an anthropologist or something? Just trying to understand a subculture? Not meaning to be antagonistic at all, just curious. If it were me, I think reading something like this would annoy or maybe even infuriate me.

      I like your comment about "saying praise the lord all the time gets boring."

      That's something I've always wondered about. Even when I was a kid...8 9 or 10 or so and I was still technically a "Christian", I'd have friends trying to get me to listen to DC Talk and Jars of Clay and I just did NOT enjoy it at all. It wasn't because it was Christian, it was because it did absolutely NOTHING to interest me. Even at that age I could tell how masturbatory and circular and stupid it was.

      I never got why so much Christian music seems to be that way. I would think there could probably be a lot of interesting themes you could explore from the Bible or something. Hell, a death metal song about Sodom and Gomorrah would be SOMETHING at least.

    2. Thanks for the question, Sparrowhawk, and don't worry about sounding antagonistic- The reason I'm reading this book is simple.

      Some time back, I came across this book, and thinking it sounded remotely amusing, I bought it. However, I thought it was some form of field guide to the Christian culture (like the Zombie Survival Guide); however, I found out the book was written by a Christian to other Christians. Specifically, it was written by a semi-moderate Christian to fundamentalist types.

      I thought it would be interesting to take what this guy was saying, and talk about it some. Simply put, it is a way of understanding a subculture.

      I never got why so much Christian music seems to be that way. I would think there could probably be a lot of interesting themes you could explore from the Bible or something. Hell, a death metal song about Sodom and Gomorrah would be SOMETHING at least.

      I think so too. There are so many stories and themes in the bible, you'd think there would be more than just crap songs repeating themselves over and over again.

      Nowadays, I've noticed Christian bands (generally the rock and pop groups) shy away from all the God talk, and try to appeal to a more secular audience. Common themes of Christianity always seem to underline the music, though, and it becomes very obvious after a while... talk about a hidden agenda.

    3. I love the Faithbook t-shirt. Its kinda cynical (satrical?).

    4. Wow, just had a look at that "fireproof . . ." website. There is a business section, where they positively encourage employers to interfere with employee's marriage's (mainly by promoting the film, but even so, its just a bit of cynical manipulation, madness).


    5. I just wanted to make mention that the image of the FaithBook T-Shirt is from We would appreciate a link back to our site and the T-Shirt.

      John Lange