Pass the Salt Please.
Last Sunday’s Superbowl half-time performance Beyonce’ graced the stage and introduced the world to her song Formation. Film and culture critic, Anthony Weber, posed a great question: “Does the halftime show really need to point the world toward a song that includes the lyrics, “When he —- me good I take his — to Red Lobster, cause I slay”? Seriously, were there no other songs that might have been both entertaining and appropriate for a global market of all ages?”
I would add that this world rightly denounces the objectification of women while its superstars apply overt pressure for girls to objectify themselves. She writes a song that calls for a rising up of Black-America while perpetrating ideas like sexual immorality that have decimated black communities. The adoring public takes it in whole, scarcely noticing the sad irony. The power to influence generations of young men and women carry with it a responsibility.
The Responsibility of the Artist to Preserve Culture
Take a quick look around our world and you will see that everything is not as it should be. We find brokenness, corruption, and pain at every turn. The scriptures describe accurately what went wrong. God created the good; mankind-invested with the power of free will–threw it away. Christ came as a man to break the power of sin and death and bring redemption to every corner of the universe. He has empowered his church to be “salt and light” in this decaying and dark world. Salt is a preservative. It staves off decay. The arts can be used to encourage decay or inhibit it.
Because the Christian worldview is complete and coherent, our art can completely and coherently address the fallenness of this world and point it to a Redeemer. Francis Schaeffer addressed this when he wrote,
Christianity has a major and a minor theme. The minor is that men are lost and can never attain perfection in this life. The major dominant theme is that there is a purpose in life because God is there and man is made in his image…Real Christian art should show both the minor and major themes.
Harriet Beecher Stowe lived on the free side of the Ohio River. Kentucky, a slave state, lay just across the water. Through personal encounters and relationships, she became aware of the horrors of slavery. Stowe was a gifted writer from a young age. She won an essay contest as a twelve-year-old with an entry entitled, Can the Immortality of the Soul be Proved by the Light of Nature? With the encouragement of her sister, she decided to use her gift and write something that would help people see the evils of slavery and turn their heart toward freedom for all. Stowe wrote the now famous book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
By basing her fictional account on individuals and families that she had encountered, Stowe poignantly portrayed the physical, sexual, and emotional abuse endured by the slaves of America.
Her artistic storytelling gripped the heart of a nation and helped turn the tide of public opinion against slavery. In this way, she used her gift as salt and light in a dark land. While both women were/are extraordinarily gifted, I think we could use more Harriets and less Beyonces.
 Francis Schaeffer, Art Norms, taped lecture, L’Abri Fellowship, Greatham, Hants, UK, Cited in Brand and Chaplin, Art and Soul; Signposts for the Christian in the Arts, (Intervarsity Press Academic, Downers Grove, Il, 2001), 52.
 Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852)