I have had several discussions lately with people talking about Christian artwork and books. Most people who don’t particularly follow the Christian faith avoid anything labeled Christian at all costs. We discussed why.

Our first reason was that most of Christian artwork tends to depict one of a very few things. On the art side of things it tends to be pictures of Jesus on a cross or fish. In writing it’s poorly disguided preaches on what is considered morally acceptable to God.

Even when this is not the case the art work tends to only speak of lightness and happy things. Most seem to avoid all of the darker subject matters. They focus on the light of God and the good things that result in being a follower of Jesus.

The problem with both of these is that they mean very little to a person who hasn’t experienced them. Telling someone that life for someone else is amazing doesn’t make them feel any better.

To show someone faith and the light of God it requires something more. People relate to pain and suffering much quicker and more easily than happy things.

If Christians truly want people to understand how God can make a difference in their life they have to show that they understand the persons life before God, that their pain is understood, and their grief. It’s no good showing them the bandage but not what it can do.

For the help God can give and the light of God’s world to show it needs to be contrasted with darkness. Pain is there before healing. Loss before regain. Real life isn’t just answers. There are questions too. If we are intent on showing people the things God can do surely it helps to show them the situation before God does his thing.

On top of that being a Chrisitian isn’t always light and fluffy. Crap things happen in life regardless of who has a God to help them or not. Too many Christians seem to think they need to show an outside look of perfection and a happy life because otherwise it will make their God look bad. It doesn’t. It just makes it difficult for anyone to relate to what their saying.

In short people need to be real with the things they create. To create it out of real emotions, passions and situations. Not out of some preach they have in their head. To not be afraid of taking their work to darker places simply because that’s how they felt the day they created that part.

When viewers and readers can relate they begin to care. Caring is only the first step in the process but it might just gain back some of the reputation Christian artists have lost.