Bele Chere: A Christian Arts Festival?

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I love Bele Chere. It’s my favorite place to share the Gospel. It’s a massive arts festival, filled with hundreds of thousands of people. Most of them pagan and homosexual.

I’ve gone there for three years. Each time, I open air preached to thousands. This year I wasn’t feeling to good. I had headache, so I spent most of my time, when I wasn’t preaching, just listening to other street preachers and walking around. I took a lot of time to listen to the shock and awe preachers this year.

They said a lot of things that bothered me…heresy, insults and the like. But one of them said something that really bugged me.

“I don’t want anything to do with this pagan arts festival”

That really stopped me in my tracts. The truth is Bele Chere is not a pagan arts festival. I have called it that many times myself. I think most of my friends still do. Asheville, NC is a very pagan rich city. It’s very new-age and homosexual friendly. But the truth is that Bele Chere is a Christian art festival, in which no Christians have shown up leaving only the pagans around to glorify themselves.

The Arts are specifically Christian in nature. Jesus Christ is the creator of all things, and by default he is the standard of art. When Pagans get together for an arts festival, they are doing a specifically Christian thing, in rebellion to Christ and in opposition to his Glory.

I agree that pagans are not doing it unto the Glory of God, and this makes their blasphemy worse because they are using that which is given to man to Glorify God, as the very tool used to profane him.

But the Arts, no matter who uses them, are none the less still God’s. Humanist have no rule over such things.

I have to admit. I took some time and enjoyed some of the things at Bele Chere. There was a great blue grass band, I love blue grass. I really enjoyed hearing them play as another member of their band would juggle. It was awesome to watch and I truly was thankful to God for being able to smile and laugh as I watched them.

Psalm 24:1 played in my head, over and over.

The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein,

The pagans were walking around, singing and dancing, using what the Lord has provided to blaspheme him. The music, the arts, the balloons…none of that was sinful. The humanist’s perversion of Gods gift had turned Bele Chere into the “cesspool of sin” that it was. I am glad there were solid preachers of the Gospel there. I am humbled to be counted as one of them. Yet everyone is not called to be a street preacher. Some are called to be musicians and artists and proclaim the works of Christ that way.

We as Christians are very quick to throw out the word “Moralism.” We are quick to say that anything that doesn’t have a very specific gospel presentation in it…is indeed moralistic, but we must remember that like the arts, morals are a specifically Christian principal. When an individual does something “moral” they are doing something Christian. Pagans acting moral is certainly in rebellion to God, but none the less…what they are doing is borrowing from the Christian worldview.

Christians have isolated themselves into a small corner of the world. We have created very narrow and exclusive titles such as Christian Music, Christian Film, and Christian Television and by doing so we have stripped away the Lordship of Christ in these areas. Christ is not simply Lord over Christian music. He is Lord over all music. He not simply Lord over Christian film. He is Lord over film. Christ is not simply Lord over Christian Arts. He is the Lord of all Creativity. This is the fullness of Christ’s lordship.

This week, several of my brothers and sisters, fell into the same trap again. This time with another divine institution…Marriage.

As Christians and Non-Christians surrounded Chick-Fil-A’s others sat at home. Stating that the event would be moralistic because it was about free speech, and not about the Gospel. By doing so they are guilty of doing the exact same thing the homosexuals are. Admitting it is possible to separate Marriage and Christianity.

Like the arts, pagans can participate. Pagans and Christians can both be married. But Marriage is a picture of the Gospel. It is ours. To defend marriage is to defend Christ. With or without a Gospel tract attached.

We must not ever allow for neutrality. The Gospel covers far more than an evangelistic message. The Gospel is the story of God making all things new, for his Glory, starting (not ending) with the hearts of man and outpouring into everything. The Gospel is not only a presentation and exposition of Scripture. The Gospel is the actual physical work of Christ in restoring all things to himself, as all things are rightfully his.

By: Marcus Pittman

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5 Responses to "Bele Chere: A Christian Arts Festival?"

  1. Joshua Elsom says:

    I agree fully, but I don’t agree. 

    I agree that art and morality both belong to God.  I also agree that when people do art and act morally they can’t help but image their Creator; even when they do that art and act morally in way which is rebellious against God.  But…

    …that does not mean that we need to align ourselves with every moral movement which comes our way.  We could probably think of a few moralistic events that we would not partner with for fear of contaminating the gospel.  The Manhattan Declaration?  Evangelicals and Catholics Together?  Evangelicals and Glenn Beck Together? (Okay, made that one up.)  The vision of these projects may be perfectly acceptable by all participants, but biblical wisdom would demand that we not partner with anybody and everybody who happens to share our common moral objectives — because, in many cases, that partnership will come at the expense of the gospel; an expense, mind you, that will come in spite of the successes we may have in seeing our common moral objectives achieved.  So I do not agree with you that someone who decided against partnering with Mike Huckabee’s Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day was somehow losing sight of God’s common grace and His receiving glory in all things.  The event was so highly political and so polarizing, that I suspect, many felt that it could compromise the purity of the message of the gospel. 

    That was not necessarily my problem, though I am completely sympathetic to that position.  My problem was that the day was so politically driven, so “us against you” that the event had significant potential to do damage; damage, not to the gospel itself, but to our collective ability to administer the gospel effectively.  Thanks to the tens of thousands of people who posted their pictures to Facebook and Twitter, with some quip about same-sex marriage, it will now require even more time and even more work to gain a hearing in the ears of those in the GBLT community.  The gospel is offensive enough without rubbing our neighbors noses in moralistic mud.

    The sarcastic tone of CFA Day, of course, continues with Huckabee, his final poster reading, “America ate chicken yesterday; Rahm Emmanuel ate crow.”  Not very helpful Governor, for those who are trying to live as wise missionaries in this secular pluralistic society.  Had Huckabee been able to frame the event around the gospel I’d have been completely for it.  If he wouldn’t have politicized it, not mentioned anyone’s name, and just supported Cathy, I’d have applauded him.  Unfortunately, that’s not how it went down.

    • Max Kennedy says:

      I went to CFA day.  I don’t think it was political.  I wasn’t protesting anything.  I was supporting a Christian business, and I think I’ll be eating there a lot more.  Romans 12:10 
      Be tender loving one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another;

  2. Josh Elsom says:

    I agree fully, but I don’t agree.
     

    I agree that art and morality both belong to God.  I also agree that
    when people do art and act morally they can’t help but image their
    Creator; even when they do that art and act morally in way which is
    rebellious against God.  But…

    …that does not mean that we need to align ourselves with every
    moral movement which comes our way.  We could probably think of a few
    moralistic events that we would not partner with for fear of
    contaminating the gospel.  The Manhattan Declaration?  Evangelicals and
    Catholics Together?  Evangelicals and Glenn Beck Together? (Okay, made
    that one up.)  The vision of these projects may be perfectly acceptable
    by all participants, but biblical wisdom would demand that we not
    partner with anybody and everybody who happens to share our common moral
    objectives — because, in many cases, that partnership will come at the
    expense of the gospel; an expense, mind you, that will come in spite of
    the successes we may have in seeing our common moral objectives
    achieved.  So I do not agree with you that someone who decided against
    partnering with Mike Huckabee’s Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day was somehow
    losing sight of God’s common grace and His receiving glory in all
    things.  The event was so highly political and so polarizing, that I
    suspect, many felt that it could compromise the purity of the message of
    the gospel. 

    That was not necessarily my problem, though I am completely
    sympathetic to that position.  My problem was that the day was so
    politically driven, so “us against you” that the event had significant
    potential to do damage; damage, not to the gospel itself, but to our
    collective ability to administer the gospel effectively.  Thanks to the
    tens of thousands of people who posted their pictures to Facebook and
    Twitter, with some quip about same-sex marriage, it will now require
    even more time and even more work to gain a hearing in the ears of those
    in the GBLT community.  The gospel is offensive enough without rubbing
    our neighbors noses in moralistic mud.

    The sarcastic tone of CFA Day, of course, continues with Huckabee,
    his final poster reading, “America ate chicken yesterday; Rahm Emmanuel
    ate crow.”  Not very helpful Governor, for those who are trying to live
    as wise missionaries in this secular pluralistic society.  Had Huckabee
    been able to frame the event around the gospel I’d have been completely
    for it.  If he wouldn’t have politicized it, not mentioned anyone’s
    name, and just supported Cathy, I’d have applauded him.  Unfortunately,
    that’s not how it went down.

    • Marcus Pittman says:

      Funny Josh, I spent all day at Chick-Fil-A yesterday, I heard a lady come in and she was speaking to her husband about homosexuality. She was telling her husband that homosexuals must repent, and she shared the entire Gospel with her husband. She went on to explain how one cannot live in sin.  

      and this is just in one Chick-Fil-A, the day AFTER the event. 

      So there you go, standing up for righteousness led to a Gospel conversation, completely on its own. 

      Your argument is invalid.  

      • Josh Elsom says:

        I rejoice that the gospel was shared yesterday, Marcus! And I am absolutely convinced that it was not an isolated event.

        However, the fact that the gospel was effectively shared at the store you were patronizing yesterday does not invalidate my point.  The gospel could, and probably is, often shared at Glenn Beck’s revival meetings, but that itself would not legitimize evangelical cooperation with Glenn Beck. Additionally, CFA Appreciation Day was not organized, or promoted, around gospel proclamation.  So whatever collateral witnessing encounters might have occurred since Wednesday would not prove that CFA Appreciation Day was an evangelistic success.  Again, I sympathize with those who withheld their participation from the day because they felt that it would compromise the message of the gospel.  

        Perhaps you’ve not rightly understood my actual position, brother.  I have never argued that we should not stand up for righteousness, nor that we should not support Dan Cathy publicly — see my blog article for proof of that — I am simply saying that the day was so politically charged, and often unnecessarily inflammatory, that it has created greater obstacles for our gospel efforts.  That is it.

        For the record, I was at CFA on Wednesday and Friday, and we spent about $50 over those two days (and we ain’t got much). I just chose to show my support to Dan Cathy in anonymity. 

        https://twitter.com/JoshElsom/status/231442598743650304