Should Creative Work by Christians Be ‘Safe'?

Phil Cooke
Phil Cooke

Christian media today is filled with the word “safe.” Look at the advertisements: “Family safe programming.” “The safe alternative.” “Safe TV.” Sure we need to protect our kids from violence, sex, or profanity, but one thing you can bet on about the Bible: It isn’t “safe.” It tells the story of humanity in very real, authentic terms.

A recent Park Forum devotional (highly recommended by the way) put it this way:

Austin Tice, 31, a law student, former Marine, and freelance reporter, has been missing since mid-August in Syria, where ten journalists have been killed since the uprising began last year. Even though he knew this, Tice went to the country and, on July 25, wrote to his friends:

“It’s nice and all, but please quit telling me to be safe … Sometime between when our granddads licked the Nazis and when we started putting warnings on our coffee cups about the temperature of our beverage, America lost that pioneering spirit. We became a fat, weak, complacent, coddled, un-ambitious and cowardly nation. I went off to two wars with misguided notions of patriotism and found in both that the first priority was to never get killed, something we could have achieved from our living rooms in America with a lot less hassle … We kill ourselves every day with McDonald’s and alcohol and a thousand other drugs, but we’ve lost the sense that there actually are things out there worth fighting for … No, I don’t have a death wish—I have a life wish …”

Austin Tice is a soldier, but in a similar attitude, if you’re a Christian pursuing a life of creativity, my advice is to stop worrying about being safe. Start pushing the boundaries. Start telling the truth. Start showing us life as you really see it.

Our job isn’t to force the world into a Christian bubble. Our job is to pop the bubble and engage the culture that is—not the culture we’d like it to be.

Jesus called the religious leaders of His day out. As a result he was threatened, vilified, ridiculed, and eventually hung on a cross. Had He taken the safe way out, our future would be bleak indeed.

What can you do this week to punch through “safe” and create work that speaks the truth?

Phil Cooke is a media consultant focused mainly on the Christian market, as well as a vocal critic of contemporary American and American-influenced Christian culture. For the original article, visit philcooke.com.

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