Addicted to Mediocrity: Contemporary Christians and the Arts

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Overview

In this provocative book, Franky Schaeffer shows how Christians today have sacrificed the artistic prominence they enjoyed for centuries and settled instead for mediocrity. The evidence for this sad state of affairs abounds. We are flooded with "Christian" doodads, trinkets, t-shirts, bumper stickers, etc., that use God's name as an advertising slogan—"Things Go Better with Jesus"—putting the Creator of the universe on the same level as soda pop! Moreover, Schaeffer writes, "Whenever Christians, and evangelicals ...

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Overview

In this provocative book, Franky Schaeffer shows how Christians today have sacrificed the artistic prominence they enjoyed for centuries and settled instead for mediocrity. The evidence for this sad state of affairs abounds. We are flooded with "Christian" doodads, trinkets, t-shirts, bumper stickers, etc., that use God's name as an advertising slogan—"Things Go Better with Jesus"—putting the Creator of the universe on the same level as soda pop! Moreover, Schaeffer writes, "Whenever Christians, and evangelicals in particular, have attempted to 'reach the world' through the media—TV, film, publishing and so on—the thinking public gets the firm idea that, like soup in a bad restaurant, Christians' brains are best left unstirred."

But it doesn't have to be this way. Schaeffer shows how Christians who care can begin to reverse the slide toward mediocrity: by demanding excellence in the arts and media, and in all areas of life; by giving our time, talents and money to those things which are worthy of our support and are truly honoring to God; by staying away from the cheap, the shoddy, and the make-a-fast-buck mentality.

Schaeffer offers not only an unflinching critique, but specific and practical direction for becoming "unaddicted," and for recovering artistic excellence. The punch, humor and satire of the text is effectively enhanced by nineteen original drawings by Chicago artist Kurt Mitchell.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780891073536
  • Publisher: Crossway Books
  • Publication date: 2/1/1981
  • Edition description: 5TH
  • Pages: 128
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.34 (d)

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  • Posted December 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Some good points, but overstated and mean-spirited delivery

    Franky Schaeffer lambastes the 20th century church's lack of regard for the arts and "addiction to mediocrity." He is fed up with the cheap baubles with verses slapped on them, the trite bumper stickers with vaguely Christian sayings, the posters that amount to little more than Christian graffiti, the "shallow" "redundant" "sloganeering" books/preaching, etc. that fill Christian bookstores, churches, and homes.

    The basic argument of the books is:
    - Creativity is an aspect of the image of God in man which should be exercised and encouraged.
    - Beauty (as something created by God) should be appreciated whether the source or subject matter is overtly Christian or not.
    - The Christian life should not be compartmentalized into "spiritual" and "secular" activities; rather, every part of life should be to the glory of God (with this book focusing on excellence in the arts).

    While I agree with Schaeffer up to a point, I think that in his zeal to promote quality in the arts among Christians (a worthy goal!) he takes his arguments too far and/or overstates his case. For example, he seems to make the unwarranted leap from the idea that all parts of a Christian's life are of value and should be to the glory of God (true according to I Corinthians 10:31) to the idea that all parts of the Christian life are of equal value/importance (contra e.g. Luke 10:38-42).

    I also thought that Schaeffer comes across as mean-spirited, or even pompous at times. For example: "in [the arts]...the Christian community, the evangelical establishment, often exhibit to the world an I.Q. about thirty points lower than that of a rather demented jellyfish". Funny? Yes. Demonstrative of Christian love? Not so much. I do not think that he makes any non-disparaging remarks about the church in the entire book.

    I agree with the aim of this book and some of its main points, but I think that it would have benefited from less venom and more Scriptural support.

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