The Emperor’s Transparent Clothes

Mark Joseph is a smart fellow, and while the lawsuit he writes about may not be common knowledge, it raises (or re-raises) important questions about how to live Christianly, how to “impact” or “engage” the culture with art. In other words, I think Joseph’s ideas apply equally to fiction and movies and fine art, as well as music.

His ideas correspond to N.T. Wright’s ideas on how to live the gospel, to talk about new creation to the broken world. You can hear them via mp3, or read them in this transcription of a similar talk, or read them in the book, The Challenge of Jesus, especially the chapter entitled “Walking to Emmaus in a Postmodern World.” It’s powerful and tremendously important.

In short, if you want to change the world, to be a conduit for this resurrection life (what C.S. Lewis called ‘zoe’ as opposed to regular life, ‘bios’), then you need to (a) produce something excellent, whether it’s novels, or music, or films, or pipe cleaners, (b) let people know that you’re making something excellent, and (c) make sure they understand, when you’re given the inevitable opportunity, why what you do is excellent. You must never say, as the Christian music-and-publishing complex seems to, “Sure, you might like it, and it might even change your life, but don’t expect too much since we don’t have the big bucks that the devil’s pals do.” That’s as outlandish as it sounds.

Anyway, I commend to you Joseph’s article, and the kind of life that Wright and Lewis describe. I’m not there yet, but I think I’m on the path.


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