Burr in My Saddle Blanket

I recently saw a comment on Facebook about a Christian movie in theaters now*. And the comment basically said while it was a good movie, it wasn’t great but Christians should go see it so then more Christian movies can be made and quality can be improved.

Like the mustachioed Yosemite Sam, I had some steam come out of my ears over this.

This would not fly in any other industry: No way would I tell someone go eat at a mediocre restaurant because then they might start making good food. Buy the same kind of lemon car so maybe they’ll start making them better. Go to a dentist who messed up my root canal so she can get more practice and do a better job next time.

I’m all for improvement. I thought Pierce Brosnan made a good 007, but Daniel Craig is an improvement.

But to accept the bar set low in the beginning and suggest we should support it is unacceptable. In fact, keep reading because I think it’s even worse than unacceptable.

I wish I could attribute this sentiment to the literature professor I heard it from, but the thought that sub-standard is okay simply because we invoke Christ should feel blasphemous to those of us who love God and want to honor him with our work (whatever the form).

This isn’t about the movie at all. The comment’s theme is what it’s about. It provoked an extra strong response because it is too often the case in Christian writing circles. Christians who’ve felt led to write, but not led to study craft. Christians who refuse critique because God gave them the story. Christians who question an editor’s rightness with God because she rejected their work (all true stories).

I write. I think I write well enough to seek publication. And I have a wonderful agent who thinks I do too, so we’ll see… But I would rather never be published than have crappy work see the light of day only because I tried to convey the light.

If the theory is all I have to do is say it’s for God or about God somehow so quality isn’t as important, then I should be able to paint a picture of the Cross and sell it– even though it sucks. And it will suck because I can’t paint. But don’t worry, it’s okay because it has a Christian message. And if you buy my painting, maybe I’ll get better…

(*I haven’t seen the movie. It’s not personal. I have a toddler. I don’t get out much.)