I try not to be too critical on this site, but today I am going to be critical… of critics. It seems almost daily there is someone on one of the numerous Christian arts sites and pages I follow that has something critical and negative to say about Christian arts and especially Christian movies. I find this laughable and aggravating.
I remember once a long time ago I was with a group of ministry types watching an advance copy of Facing the Giants to see if it could be included in a project we were working on. The general consensus was that it wasn’t good enough. I disagreed. Then not long after as I recall some of us laughed our way through one of the Evil Dead movies. I didn’t really get it. On one hand we (well not me, I can’t stand the horror genre) were giving tremendous grace to something that was quite frankly awful, but an actual film that touched on actual grace (among many other admirable things) received no grace at all. I just didn’t get it. I still don’t.
Here’s the thing, when I watch a lot of these Christian films, I see productions that started with churches investing huge portions of their own money, time and resources in Spirit led projects designed to move the Gospel forward. This is real body of Christ stuff that includes much of the congregation. Many of the actors in these films are volunteer, giving it their all and coming up with something that may not be Oscar worthy but admirable nonetheless and you want to know something? I’m with them. These are people who are using their gifts to serve the Lord. Maybe the critics need to get out of the way, or better yet stop perpetuating the stereotype that those who can’t do become critics and do something better. These churches and companies are putting their money and their resources where their mouths are and it would be really nice if critics did the same thing or silenced themselves.
Sure I have seen a couple disappointing Christian films. I have also seen some that had tears running down my face and I’ve noticed something else…They’re getting better. It was bound to happen. Like any other indy film company, it sometimes takes a few projects to come into their own. So to the film companies and churches, keep making movies, keep telling good stories and as soon as you wrap one, start figuring out how to make the next one better. That’s called growth and it is a huge, essential part of the creative process. Like I said before I am with you.
All creatives have essentially two options. They can either make the best product they can with what they have or they can sit around and wait until someone drops everything they desire into their laps and, while they wait, trash those who decided to start, actually make something and grow.
You know where I stand, make the best art you can with what you have today. Release it to the world and start again. Life’s too short to be a critic. Better to create, find the people you can inspire and go for it. Ignore the critics and please the Lord. He’s rarely pleased with complacency and critical spirits, but to those who take what He has given and invest it for His Kingdom, He says “well done good and faithful servant, you have been faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things.”
Create faithfully and don’t be a critic!