The Cultured Artist

I share convicting things sometimes and basically 100% of the time those things are what I’ve been convicted of; they’re things I’m learning about. I read this C.S. Lewis quote today and immediately said, “YES, this is for me.” Maybe it’s for you too, beloved?

I consider myself an artist. I grew up loving the theater, literature, music, dance, journaling, scrapbooking, letter writing, decor and all things that move me to my emotional, relational, and spiritual core. I still love artistic endeavors dearly, as I see so much of my Maker in them. However, I’ve noticed how tempting it can be to make these good gifts into bad gods (props to David Powlison for that phrase). Yee-ayah DP! Sometimes art and artistry subtly and sneakily saunter their way to the top of the ladder of my heart. They become almost religion-like to me. C.S. Lewis articulately warns against this temptation, but also reminds me of the truth of what is infinitely more valuable than art:

“The Christian will take literature a little less seriously than the cultured Pagan…The unbeliever is always apt to make a kind of religion of his aesthetic experiences…and he commonly wishes to maintain his superiority to the great mass of mankind who turns to books for mere recreation. But the Christian knows from the outset that the salvation of a single soul is more important than the production or preservation of all the epics and tragedies in the world: and as for superiority, he knows that the vulgar since they include most of the poor probably include most of the superiors.”

-C.S. Lewis, “Christianity and Literature”

6 thoughts on “The Cultured Artist

  1. This is true for me, I get caught up in our social world. It can be misleading and can create a false religion without realizing it. The Christian knows better and even if I get caught up, I hope to have reminders to bring us back to what is true and not what surrounds us. Hope all is well, glad to get a post from you! Take care.

    1. Hello, dear sister! I love hearing your thoughts. We all need those reminders…I’m so thankful we have the body of Christ to help us with such temptations! I’m also so glad to know you’re still here! I hope to write more soon. ❤

  2. It is a tremendous irony that CS Lewis, one of the most “superior” minds of his time, should remind us all that the products of high intellect and artistic talent fade in import behind the simple “vulgar” one coming to find the gift of the Cross.

    1. Amen Popsie! So well said. Your comment also makes me think of 1 Corinthians 1:1-3…especially “And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”

  3. There is nothing so empty or sad to me than well-written literature or well-designed art that doesn’t even suggest or imply there is a true, loving God…that has not a hint of the divine except for the writer him/herself being His creation. The line that the salvation of one soul is worth the production and preservation of all the epics, all the art. This is a good reminder in prioritizing life’s work. It’s great to hear from you again in this venue, Lisbeth!

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