Hostile to Art?

Hostile to Art? July 11, 2016

Billy Smiley Religion Art Quote

I thought there were some interesting thoughts in a recent article interviewing Billy Smiley, formerly of the band White Heart and now of The Union of Sinners and Saints:

Faith and spirituality can barely survive religion. Imagine how tough it is for art…

I listen to Christian music now and ask, “Where are the poets? Where are the questions? Where are the champions or thought? Where are the dreamers? Where have they gone? What are the mysteries around us that we still don’t understand and are willing to write about and question?” As Christians shouldn’t we be obsessed with humbly challenging the culture of today with the best music, art, and performance the world has ever seen? Why don’t we do that?

Making great music, being determined about creating something new, something different with an ever-changing culture is what art is all about.

Click through to read more.

Of course, a friend of mine pointed out the irony that the above words come from the person who penned a song about how “God made convertibles.” And in the video for that song below, we see a misguided anti-science quip made at one of their concerts. Plus we know that religion has inspired and funded a great deal of art down the ages. And so perhaps it is the conservative Evangelicalism that is Smiley’s primary context that is particularly hostile to the arts?

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  • Phil Ledgerwood

    Ok, “God Made Convertibles” was terrible, but White Heart also did some things musically that were not very common during the CCM heyday. They had a certain subset of songs that had this ethereal, we-know-minor-chords feel to them that I always really liked, and “The River Will Flow” is still a favorite of mind.

    The convertibles song was written forever ago. I don’t know the year, but I remember hearing it for the first time in the late 80s, and it was old, then. I’m sure he’s evolved theologically and artistically since then. One would hope.

  • John MacDonald

    Maybe the average person isn’t as passionate about Jesus as an artistic subject matter as they are about sex, love, drugs/alcohol, etc. Handel’s “Messiah” spoke to a very different world back in the mid 1700’s.