I’m a Christian. I love Jesus, and do my best to serve Him in what I do. In this journey as a Christian though, I have heard secular come up in sermons and casual conversations as a genre. Christian is a genre, Religion is a genre, but that doesn’t mean that is the case with Secular. As a writer this drives me nuts.
When classifying everything that isn’t overtly Christian or religious as a part of the phantom “Secular” genre, it automatically implies that these stories are somehow sub-par or less godly. In the Christian community there is a general consensus that Christian books, movies, and music should be number one, and other genres should be secondary. While I love Jesus more than words can express, I rarely find a connection to the Lord through “Christian” entertainment. Honestly, I find it subpar in quality. Obviously, this isn’t true in all cases, but it is far too common and rarely admitted. I have heard the argument that quality doesn’t matter, it’s the message. Oh really? Try telling that to any author that’s ever lived. I connect with the Lord best through things that make me ponder, think, rejoice that He is the way He is and not some awful pagan god that was once worshiped.
Thinking anything that doesn’t wear the “Christian” label is necessarily “Secular” also opens the door to the possibility of the audience missing the messages present. Just because something isn’t thrusting Christian ideas in the audience’s face doesn’t mean the artist isn’t any less valuable or godly.
Matthew 25:31-46 is the passage used by believers to justify condemning another person’s tastes. Yes, it is true, we believers need to guard our hearts. However, if you are going to apply this passage to entertainment choices, I would submit everyone in the west is guilty of consuming media that others would say is ungodly. We say we use Scripture to determine what is an isn’t Godly. However, when some are convicted that they shouldn’t read Lord of the Rings because it has magic, where does one draw the line of condemnation? This is where the Christian genre comes in. Some say Christians must only consume Christian media. Many times, Christian movies and fictional books are lacking in quality. I think this is because there is an argument within Christian culture that quality doesn’t matter the message does. Well, quality impacts the message, so yes it does. Who are we to say that God cannot use “Secular” media?
Recently, I came across a blog post that gave ten signs you might be a lukewarm Christian. One of which was that you listen primarily to “secular” music. Secular music does not make a believer less faithful than Christian music. As with everything, discernment must be used, but we also must consider everything effects people differently. The words of Jesus come to mind when it comes to this logic, “Beware the yolk of the Pharisees.”