During my latest reading of Schaefers “Art and the Bible”, I came across another profound thought for the christian artist. He explains it as the two themes, the major theme, and the minor theme.
The minor theme being the lostness of man, his sin, his near absurdity.
…the minor theme is the abnormality of the revolting volting world. This falls into two parts: (1) Men who have revolted from God and not come back to Christ are eternally lost; they see their meaninglessness in the present and they are right from their own standpoint. point. Neitzsche can say that God is dead and Sartre must follow along, showing that man is dead, and Sartre is right from his own perspective. (2) There is a defeated and sinful side to the Christian’s life. If we are at all honest, we must admit that in this life there is no such thing as totally victorious living. In every one of us there are those things which are sinful and deceiving and, while we may see substantial healing, in this life we do not come to perfection.
The Major theme being the hope of the Gospel.
The major theme is the opposite of the minor; it is the meaningfulness and purposefulness of life. From the Christian viewpoint, this falls into two headings, metaphysics and morals. In the area of metaphysics (of being, of existence, including the existence of every man) God is there, God exists. Therefore, all is not absurd. Furthermore, man is made in God’s image age and so man has significance. With this comes the fact that love, not just sex, exists. True morals, as opposed posed to only conditioning, exist.
He then makes the point that the christian artist should accurately portray both of these themes in their work. Too much emphasis of the minor theme in most cases produces art that isn’t quite true. But he says the for the converse. Too much of the major theme without the minor creates a romanticism.
So, we know that art will always portray at least portions of a worldview, and if that’s true, then the christian’s would, logically, portray these major and minor themes that Schaeffer lined out for us.
Perhaps the issue with Schaeffer’s proposition here is the fact that Christian must always at some point reach the conclusion of the major theme. This seems true, but… Why doesn’t this apply to other professions? Must christians always at some point show or make explicit the major theme? A christian should proclaim the gospel, but is it a requirement for them to do so through their work? Perhaps the artist is a unique profession that requires this sort of arrangement. And Schaeffer even nods at this fact:
A Christian businessman who does not operate on the basis of compassion does not live within the biblical norms of economics, and the Christian artist who only concentrates on the abnormality of the world is likewise not living by the law of love.
Something to think about, for sure.
In my personal life, I find this to be a good guideline. What am I focusing on today, the destructive fallen world, or God’s grace?
The musings continue. Only a few more pages to the end of the book!