In his essay, Christianity and Culture, C.S. Lewis remarked, “A person is never so proud as when striking an attitude of humility.” It has been a life goal for humility to be one of the attributes others ascribe to me. Try as I may, humility seems to be the furthest attribute from a persons mind when they describe me. The fact that I think others spend time describing me should make my point.
For a long time, I used to lament this fact. Then, I realized that the very act of humility was, in itself, a point of pride. Look! Do you not see how humble I am? See how I’ve disregarded accolades, achievements, and ‘good’ work! See how I’ve set aside my exquisite tastes for the sake of virtue!
Predictably, as it seems to be with humans, I ride the pendulum from one extreme to the other. As I dwelt on this predicament, a thought emerged. The Church used to be an advocate for the good, beautiful, and true. In a general sense, what the HELL happened? I’m thinking about the ‘Christian’_____ industry. Simply, the ways in which Christianity is portrayed or produces itself in popular culture.
The so-called ‘Christian movie,’ is awful. Not merely from a cinematic perspective but, even more unforgivable, from a narrative perspective. The storytelling, the dialogue, the acting, all of it, second-rate and forced. ‘Christian music,’ is not far behind. The hum-drum of text and melody placed together for rhyme rather than meaning. Do not get me started on ‘Christian literature!’
Perhaps, we (the representatives of the Christian conscience), produce these masterpieces (sarcasm) under the guise of humility. Toward this venture, I whole-heartedly agree. The problem seems to be that we have confused humility with insecurity. We are, to a degree, products of our environment – of culture. Yet, we are not exclusively animated by it. The appealing aspect of the Christian is Christ. Christ in us, around us, behind us, before us, working through us, using our context to make something new in our lives. Therefore, ‘Christian Art,’ if it is to be, ought never to shy away from the heights or the depths to which it is called. It ought to always bear witness to the whole of this life while simultaneously serving as a sign to the life in which the Christian is called: to bear witness to the resurrection and the Glory of God. We cannot be bashful; we ought not create our art in fear; we do not have the time. Humility is not rooted in action but in the disposition of the motivation that precedes it. Humility creeps in when our actions bear witness to the Glory of God. If it were easy, everyone would do it.