Woody posted a comment over at The Inner Dad, reflecting back on the post I’d done on Dutcher’s movies back in November, I guess.
His last paragraph really summed it all up for me:
“We should not turn the arts into substitutes for a true testimony of the gospel. It just isn't done that way. The testimony should come first, and the arts should then reflect that. Not the other way around.”
Amen, bro! The arts should be the expression of our souls, not the definition of them.
It works the same way with the listener. I’ll talk about it from a musician’s perspective, because I am one, but it’s really applicable to all arts.
No song ever made anyone sin, nor exalted anyone. A movie will never bring someone back to the gospel, and it will never ruin a life. ON ITS OWN. Violent games don’t, by themselves, make children violent.
Any kind of artistic expression resonates. It touches our life and it resonates within us. How it effects us can often depend on our mood, and our place in our life cycle. If we are in a very spiritual place, we will resonate most with spiritual music. If we are in a dark place, we will resonate with dark music.
Here’s the interesting part: Suppose I’m in a dark place in my life, and I want more light. Uplifting music will resonate with that part of me that wants more light and grow. Dark music will resonate with the dark parts of me, and that will grow instead.
So, someone that looks to a song for a testimony is looking in the wrong place. Someone, however, that allows art to strengthen a testimony will grow with it. Ultimately, though, a testimony comes from the Spirit, not from art.