CaPC Magazine, Issue #7: When Good Christians Make Bad Art

Illustration by Seth Hahne

In this issue of CaPCMag we tackle a sore spot for many evangelicals: how Christians participate in culture. Sure, to some extent that’s what CaPC is always about, but this issue focuses specifically on big picture views of culture by Christians. In two exclusive features available only in the iPad and iPhone app we examine how Christians have sought to use art as evangelism and what missions can teach us about the value of enjoying cultures. To read these fantastic articles, make sure you download and subscribe now! (there’s a free trial if you’re uncertain. You’ll love it though, so it’s kinda redundant.)

In his cover feature, Nicholas Tieman uses the popular Japanese cartoon character Anpanman to consider various ways Christian artists have incorporated their faith in their work and to evaluate the benefits and dangers of those methods:

It’s not immediately clear whether Anpanman counts as a win or a loss for Christian media, and it’s not the only Christian work to share this kind of ambiguity. If anything, it often seems as though victories of artistic merit and popularity are won at the expense of Gospel clarity and orthodoxy. Conversely, works with real didactic value often end up dry and uninspiring, suffered by the faithful but ignored by the masses they are intended to reach.

Approaching this same issue of the relationship between the church and culture from another angle, Ashley Tieman (Nicholas is her husband) considers how her experiences as a missionary have shaped the way she values art and culture:

What’s truly incredible then, is that Japanese art is providing a way to break through this cultural armor, providing a keen and straight look right to the heart of the difficult questions most people avoid. By embracing this country’s art, conversations that would normally flounder awkwardly are flourishing. In a way, Japanese art is a guide through the maze of culture most Japanese hide their true selves in. When taken up by the Christian, then, Japanese art allows access to the deepest, tenderest soil of the heart where seeds of Christianity can be planted–access that would be extremely difficult to gain without art’s help.

In addition to these exclusive features, this issue includes a letter from the editor wherein I share an embarrassing moment from adolescence which epitomizes the Church’s struggles to properly interact with culture, a classic feature article from me on how Christian culture can often become a stumbling block for other believers, a look at baptism and grace in Bioshock Infinite, a tragic story of the sexualization of our children, some thoughts on Wendy Davis’s pro-choice filibuster, and the regular “Common Graces” feature which offers up recommendations for your popular culture enjoyment–all in a pleasant-to-read package.

In case you missed the original post explaining the idea behind the magazine, you can read all about it here.

About Alan Noble

(Co-Founder/Editor/Columnist) is a part-time lecturer at Baylor University. He received his PhD in Contemporary American Literature from Baylor, writing on manifestations of transcendence in 20th Century American Lit. He and his family attend Redeemer Waco, a PCA church. Alan's passion is studying how believers can be a faithful presence in culture to the glory of God and the edification of others. In addition to editing, Alan writes his column, Citizenship Confusion for CaPC.

---Follow Alan on Twitter @TheAlanNoble and on Facebook.

---For questions, comments, or interest in speaking engagements please email me at noble.noneuclidean [at] gmail [dot] com.