Adoration and Amusement

A great king had two sons, who were come to the age where one should be named as the crown prince. The custom of that country was that the king would choose his heir directly, without weight given to birth-order. He was hard-pressed at the choice, for they both loved him and had noble and kingly traits. He decided to test them. Whichever son pleased him most in the test would become the crown prince. He summoned his two sons to his throne room.

“My sons, you are both fine sons, more pleasing to me than all the wealth and splendour of my kingdom. I am torn at the thought of choosing but one of you to rule in my stead, but the tradition of our country knows nothing of two kings ruling on the throne. One of you must rule; indeed, one of you must rule over the other.”

His sons stirred, but did not glance at one another.

“I have chosen to put your kingliness to the test. I will judge the winner according to my own counsel, and there shall be no debate entertained. As I could crown one of you this moment without objection from the other, so I may judge the winner of my contest by my own wisdom.”

His sons nodded, their gazes still down, as was the law in that land for one in the presence of the king.

“The test is this: you will gather as much fame for my name in one year as you can. At the end of the year, your efforts will appear before me, and I will judge one of you to be king after me.”
The princes departed, wished each other luck, and immediately sought counsel from the wise men of the land.

The younger prince consulted with the old men. “Your father is looking to have his name loved greatly. Bring him some people who love him deeply and truly, however many or few, and you will be judged the wiser son.

The older prince consulted with the young men. “Your father is looking to have his name loved widely, for he is a great king, and greatly to be praised. Bring him throngs of people, by whatever means, and you will truly have brought him the fame he seeks.”

The younger prince travelled amongst the people, staying in one town for weeks at a time. There he taught the people patiently, every day explaining the glory of his father’s wars, his mercy with his enemies, his justice in ruling, and his kindness as a father. Some were taken by the descriptions of his father. Many were indifferent, and the young prince’s heart often grew discouraged. Often he felt like he was trying to kindle a fire in green wood. What would he have to show for his work? A handful of obscure people who loved the king dearly? He at times questioned the counsel he had been given. Nevertheless, he persevered.

The older prince travelled amongst the people, setting up fairs and stage-plays, tournaments and circuses, contests and puppet-shows in the name of his father. He knew how much people loved these things, and knew that they would be drawn to them. His thinking was logical: once the happy crowds found out that such were provided by the king, they would love him as well. He was not disappointed. Crowds gathered wherever he went. People thronged his demonstrations, and enthusiastically accepted his invitation to appear at the castle on the day of the king’s judgement. Occasionally, he would question the sincerity of those who followed in his train and eagerly awaited the next amusement. However, he dismissed such doubts, certain that it was better to present a large crowd of king-lovers than a thin one, even if a few were there for the wrong reasons.

On the day of judgement, the older prince filled the castle’s courtyard with hundreds of cheering people, with many others outside the walls. When the king appeared from the royal balcony, the crowd exploded in praise, and the younger prince sensed he had lost the contest.

The king proceeded to give an oration, climaxing with the promise that his subjects could forthwith have direct audiences with him in the throne-room upon request. The crowd seemed unimpressed. No applause was offered, and a silence settled over the courtyard. Here and there a shout echoed, calling for more jousting tournaments, cock-fighting and banquets. The shouts turned into disgruntled jeering. The crowd was now angry and hostile. The king ordered his soldiers to dismiss the crowd from his castle.

The king retired to his throne-room and sat down. The younger prince came in, bringing with him a small and strange group of unimpressive peasants: a little child, a blind beggar, a woman of the night, a leper, a cleric, a widow, an orphan and a soldier. They had been weeping during the king’s speech, and now prostrated themselves before him, along with the younger prince. The king rose, called for a meal to be set out for this group, and lifted up each one by his own hand. He led them to the banqueting table and served each one himself.

Which of the two sons did the will of his father?

The Magic of the Elves is Art

Some Evangelicals’ credo might be: “There is only one Tolkien, and Peter Jackson is his Prophet.” While there is no denying that the art of John Howe and Alan Lee made the films a visual feast, or that Howard Shore’s scores were moving and memorable, let us set aside the movies for a moment and return to Tolkien’s own vision of Middle-earth. Tolkien once wrote a letter to Milton Waldman, a friend and editor at Collins Publishers. The letter is sometimes published at the beginning of The Silmarillion, for it is one of the few places where Tolkien explained the meaning and purpose of his entire mythology. In it are some choice statements that are worth several moments’ contemplation, particularly for the average utilitarian Evangelical.

Here is Tolkien’s summary of what the entire mythology is about:

“It is, I suppose, fundamentally concerned with the problem of the relation of Art (and Sub-Creation) and Primary Reality.”

You probably didn’t get that idea when you saw Legolas skate-boarding down Helm’s Deep’s stairs. Legolas

What does Tolkien mean, and why should we care?

Tolkien was concerned with what humans, as those made in the image of God, do with creation. As sub-creators, once we have used our creation skills to simply survive, we turn those sub-creative powers to making those things that express meaning. Tolkien describes that in the same letter as “Art and the creative (or as I should say, sub-creative) desire which seems to have no biological function, and to be apart from the satisfactions of plain ordinary biological life, with which, in our world, it is indeed usually at strife.” Here Tolkien sounds like Richard Weaver who says that art is what sets man apart from the animals:

“This great yearning of man to be something in the imaginative sense, that is, to be something more than he is in the simple existential way or in the reductionist formula of materialism is both universal and proper to him. The latter may be asserted because he is the only creature who asks the question why he is here and who feels thwarted in his self-realization until some kind of answer is produced.  This urge to be representative of something higher is an active ingredient of his specific humanity; it has created everything from the necklace of animal teeth with which the primitive adorns his body to the elaborate constructions which the men of high cultures have made to interpret the meaning of life and their mission in it. This is the point at which he departs from the purely utilitarian course and makes of himself a being with significance.”

To put it simply, art is concerned with the spirit. Man, as part of creation, distinguishes himself from those creatures not made in God’s image with his acts of meaningful sub-creation. Man’s art is either his greatest vindication as a child of God or his greatest condemnation as fallen from that state, for his art represents what he is, what he imagines reality to be, and who he worships. It is the highest statement of his beliefs and desires.

Tolkien’s mythology suggests how art in a fallen and mortal world can go in an evil direction or a holy direction. Here Tolkien describes evil art:

“It may become possessive, clinging to the things made as ‘its own’, the sub-creator wishes to be the Lord and God of his private creation. He will rebel against the laws of the Creator – especially against mortality. Both of these (alone or together) will lead to the desire for Power, for making the will more quickly effective, – and so to the Machine (or Magic).”

Art used for holy purposes is the ‘magic’ of the Elves:

“I have not used ‘magic’ consistently, and indeed the Elven-queen Galadriel is obliged to remonstrate with the Hobbits on their confused use of the word both for the devices and operations of the Enemy, and for those of the Elves. I have not, because there is not a word for the latter (since all human stories have suffered the same confusion). But the Elves are there (in my tales) to demonstrate the difference. Their ‘magic’ is Art, delivered from many of its human limitations: more quick, more complete (product, and vision in unflawed correspondence). And its object is Art not Power, sub-creation not domination and tyrannous reforming of Creation.”

The idea that art is sub-creation, and that it is either faithful to the Creator, or a selfish abuse of creation is something Christians should consider carefully. For if the art we use in worship constitutes an abuse of creation (say, a narcissistic celebration of ourselves), then we find ourselves in the awkward position of claiming to worship the Creator with a distortion of His creation.

Illuvatar is not worshipped with Dark Magic.

Cheap Thrills (7) – Conclusion

As Kaplan concludes, he considers the social functions of popular art. He sees its appeal in finding a common denominator among people. It is popular because it appeals to almost universal tastes. As to its function, popular art is no longer associated with serious cultural concerns, such as religion, love, war and politics, and the struggle for subsistence. Instead it has become, in Dewey’s words, “the beauty-parlour of civilization.” In other words, popular art is where we go to indulge our love of self, to enjoy ourselves, to escape into worlds of our own making.

Kaplan does not feel particularly alarmed by the rise of popular arts, seeing a limited place for it. He ends by saying, “If popular art gives us pleasant dreams, we can only be grateful-when we have wakened.” In other words, popular art is no more real (or significant) than our own night-dreams, but if they are pleasurable, who’s to complain? As long as we wake up, Kaplan seems to urge. A life lived in dream-state is pitiable and sad.

Of course, Kaplan is arguing as an aesthetician, and not as a Christian. While Kaplan is enormously helpful in identifying the nature of popular art – and therefore popular culture – he cannot help us determine its appropriateness for worship – or indeed, its effect on Christian discipleship. Here we must take his descriptions of popular art, and then compare it with what we know of worship and Christian living. To summarize Kaplan’s argument, popular art

* schematises and reduces art into an easily recognisable stereotype. Whether musical, poetical, literary or visual, the art is pre-digested so that its consumers instantly recognize the stereotype and fill in the outline with their own feelings.

* replaces perception with mere recognition. Popular art is essentially formless, it is simple in the sense that it is easy. It reminds us of what we know, it prompts us to feel what we already feel. Our familiar feelings are simply reinforced. Through its stereotypes, we associate certain feelings with the work, while not being transformed in our own emotions.

* moves in a close circle around the self. The art only has significance in light of the viewer. He sees himself in its materials, with the art providing easily recognizable prototypes to project himself upon. The result is wallowing in our own feelings: feeling, without understanding of our feelings. This is sentimentalism.

* creates an escape into childish versions of reality which exist nowhere, and which return us to reality unchanged.

In essence, popular art represents childish and immature taste. It appeals to narcissism and infantile self-obsession. It flatters an impulse in every human.

If Christian worship is the admiration and adoration of a beautiful God, will this art enable or disable worship? Is it compatible with benevolent love, denial of self, ordinate affection and realism? If the culture needed to cultivate a Christian epistemology will emerge from Christian worship – and Christian worship will emerge from Christian art – what kind of culture will emerge from narcissistic worship? What kind of epistemology will be shaped by the art of popular culture?

Cheap Thrills (6) – Leaving Us As It Found Us

All art is ‘escapist’. That is, all art enables a temporary escape from reality. Serious art is different to popular art in how it enables this escape, and for what reason. Real art may show us the world that is, or even the world as it might be. Popular art simply shows us the world as we would have it.

It does this not through its use of symbolism, for all art makes use of the symbolic. Instead, popular art attractively packages the world by glossing and varnishing it. It prettifies, delighting with sound, shape and colour in overpoweringly sweet doses. The escape comes through shutting out the reality, and then envisaging a world in which we are the heroes, the overcomers, the desired lovers, the powerful, beautiful people. It is a world of our own making, where everything is selected and placed in our own interest. Defects are polished and characters flattened, lest they evoke pity instead of soothing sentimentality. We quickly recognise the stereotypes, and fill them with the feelings we know we are supposed to have.

Once again, popular art is an exercise in narcissism. It assures us that our prejudged values are correct, and our very narrow perspectives are the correct ones. All art is illusory, but serious art aims to return us to reality, being illusory without being deceptive. Pop art is a tissue of falsehoods, in Kaplan’s words.

Popular art may be said to suffer from too little fantasy as too much: it simply does not do enough with its materials. Instead of working far enough to confer reality on its products, it stops short, letting its prettified depictions of life-as-we’d-like-it-to-be substitute for the real.

Real art helps us to escape: not from reality itself but from our own unimaginative experience of it. We are returned more aware, more alive to the profundity of life in God’s world. Popular art simply pleasures us with the illusion of true imagination. We do not escape to reality, for no reality is even depicted. The line between fantasy and reality is blurred.

Real art gives us a kind of objectification, in which we are able to see ourselves in perspective. The self and the world are understood rightly. We see people as God sees them, with divine objectivity. Popular art is all too human, and ultimately childish. We want pleasure without change, an escape from pain and ugliness without altering a thing within. And so we escape into non-existent worlds where we are already pleasured and beautiful. Popular art turns its back on a world it has never known.

Consider how these paintings portray the idea of the Cross. What kind of escape does each provide? What kind of world is portrayed in each? Which transforms us and which reflects us? Once we return, how are we changed by each?










Cheap Thrills (5) – Emotions Wild and Weak

Ours is a culture of boredom. With a growing number of amusement devices, apps and entertainment choices, we would expect boredom to have been completely eradicated. Unexpectedly, people are more bored than ever. This is because the kind of ‘art’ now consumed by most does little to truly entertain (that is, to enter the mind of another artist). It entertains only in the sense that it passes time, while giving the illusion of true entertainment.

The key difference between serious or useful art and popular art is that popular art provides an emotional experience without perspective. The consumer feels, but he feels without understanding. He has little perspective on his feelings, he merely wallows in them. Serious art deepens feeling, giving it content and meaning, providing a mirror of the mind to us. Our own emotions become meaningful, as we see their details, and in their interconnections that give them meaning.

Serious art has this depth, while popular art is correspondingly shallow. It leaves our feelings just as it finds them, formless and immature. It evokes them so quickly as to have no root in themselves. “They are so lightly triggered that there is no chance to build up a significant emotional discharge.”
This weak but wild approach to emotion is sentimentality. This is what Kaplan says is most distinctive of popular art. Sentimentality has a deficiency of feeling, words without weight, promises without fulfilment. Paradoxically, sentimentality is also excessive, abandoning emotional restraint. Nothing wrong with being deeply affected, but sentimentalism has this excess without a perception of meaning. Kaplan says, “ Sensibility becomes sentimental when there is some disproportion between the response and its object, when the response is indiscriminate and uncontrolled…Sentimentality is loving something more than God does.”

It is sentimental not because it calls for intense feeling, but because it calls for more than the artist or the audience can understand or apply significantly to the object. There is simply not enough to be understood, and this vacuity of meaning is intentional. The tear-jerker elicits tears, but why we weep is outside the occasion and beyond our perception.

Sentimentality moves in a close circle around the self. The art only has significance in light of the viewer. He sees himself in its materials, with the art providing easily recognizable prototypes to project himself upon. The focus remains my feelings, feelings about me. While real art calls us to empathise and give ourselves to the aesthetic experience, it rewards us by transforming us. Popular art takes us as we are and leaves us the same, with the illusion of having been deeply affected. In truth, we have felt deeply, but only in orbit around ourselves, drawing out of what we already know and love. It is as if we are enjoying a filmed performance of ourselves, using the bare schemas and prototypes of pop art to provide the skeleton or scaffolding on which to place the body of Self.
Pop art’s self-centeredness hollows and flattens us, emptying us of perspective on our own feelings. In essence, in becoming emptier people, we are becoming more bored, through the medium which was supposed to alleviate our boredom. We are drinking seawater.


Consider these three imaginative depictions of King David’s experience of losing a child (2 Samuel 18:33). Which of these helps us to understand and master our feelings – particularly the feeling of grief? Which might transform our emotions? Which provides us with a mirror of our own minds, and which causes us to lose ourselves in our feelings?

Gabriel’s Theodicy

He was to us bright, so without shadow.
And our praise was plain, in those pristine days:
(Strong without rival; Pure without evil!)
Yes, plain: until the covering cherub’s fall.
As lightning, at once we saw Him anew.

Cheap Thrills (4) – Merely Nostalgic

What if the culture we seek to reach has become dominated by amusement? This was Neil Postman’s argument about Western culture by the 1980s in his book Amusing Ourselves to Death. When Postman and Kaplan speak of amusement, it is not the kind of recreation or avocation that involves some kind of play, exercise, creation, or the entertainment of beautiful thoughts.

Popular art is bad in that it amuses through mere reinforcement. Popular art entertains by trading in familiarity, and by trafficking in familiar emotion. Popular art does not need to be excellent in itself, it simply needs to be effective in bringing certain feelings to mind, evoking past satisfactions, producing nostalgia, and in providing occasions for reliving experiences. In other words, the emotions we feel with popular art are not expressed by the particular song, painting or poem, they are merely associated with them. In popular art, we lose ourselves, not in the work itself, but in pools of memory.

Popular art does this by using forms so stereotyped, so instantly recognizable as to require no engagement with itself. The form is so schematized as to be the equivalent of cue cards for a public speaker. The form does not have substance enough to broaden our feelings. Kaplan says, “Popular art wallows in emotion while art transcends it, giving us understanding and thereby mastery of our feelings.” Popular art is, once again, narcissistic, making our own feelings the subject matter, and indeed the goal of the aesthetic experience. We are not drawn out of ourselves, but driven deeper into loneliness.

We love what we know, therefore we love what is familiar. Popular art is always familiar, always reminds us of what we already know, and is therefore deeply attractive to the laziest parts of our souls.

What happens to a people who are used to their music evoking nostalgia, when they come to sing and make music before God? What might happen in Christian worship, if the Christians have been trained by their culture to seek what is familiar when music plays? Can worship transform the worshipper, if its forms trade in nostalgia and the familiar?



Consider these three hymns. Which of these trades in nostalgia, pools of memory, or mere association? Which is nothing more than a cue to wallow in feelings we think we ought to have?
Which calls us to investigate the poetry for itself – for its images, descriptions, language, rhymes, meter, tone? Which trades in clichés that are mere symbols for familiar responses? Which affects us but gives us mastery of our feelings? Which leaves our feelings unchanged, merely invoking what we already feel (or think we ought to feel) about the supposed subject matter?

‘Tis the Christ
Stricken, smitten, and afflicted,
See Him dying on the tree!
’Tis the Christ by man rejected;
Yes, my soul, ’tis He, ’tis He!
’Tis the long expected prophet,
David’s Son, yet David’s Lord;
Proofs I see sufficient of it:
’Tis a true and faithful Word.

Tell me, ye who hear Him groaning,
Was there ever grief like His?
Friends through fear His cause disowning,
Foes insulting his distress:
Many hands were raised to wound Him,
None would interpose to save;
But the deepest stroke that pierced Him
Was the stroke that Justice gave.

Ye who think of sin but lightly,
Nor suppose the evil great,
Here may view its nature rightly,
Here its guilt may estimate.
Mark the Sacrifice appointed!
See Who bears the awful load!
’Tis the Word, the Lord’s Anointed,
Son of Man, and Son of God.

The Old Rugged Cross
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suffering and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.

In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see,
For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.

To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share.

How Deep the Father’s Love for Us
How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that left Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished
I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Cheap Thrills (3) – Recognising Versus Perceiving

A culture creates art that reflects its vision of reality. If the culture values sober perception of ultimate reality, it will produce art that calls for such. If a culture values a self-indulgent celebration of what is familiar, it will create art that caters to such.

Kaplan argues that popular art is formless. It does not possess form in the truest sense. Form in good art, is precisely what invites true participation, creative perception, and diligent interpretation. Good form places demands on us. Its form even arouses a certain amount of fear and tension: we must embrace ambiguity and plunge in, exposing ourselves to the possibility of change. We will emerge from an encounter with good art somewhat changed, our views adjusted, our understanding broadened, our desires shaped.

Kaplan argues that this is precisely the encounter that we want to avoid, and which popular art caters to. Instead of perception, there is mere recognition. Discrimination is cut off, as we instantly recognise the stereotype. Since we instantly recognise the materials, they are only instrumental, and without inherent value. They merely remind us of what we already know. They are cues to feel what we know we are supposed to feel. The background music in the movie uses melodious strings to signal to us that love is being born, a very different experience to experiencing a serious composer like Prokofiev. The popular art consumer shrinks from the challenge, even perceiving such a thing as a threat to be opposed.

In short, popular art is simple basically in the sense of easy. We cannot look to it for a fresh vision, or turn to it for new directions, or find unexplored meanings.

The question we should be asking by now is, which culture does popular art emerge from, and foster? Is it a Christian culture? Will Christian culture be shaped using its forms? What happens when Christianity co-opts these forms in the name of worship?


Which of these paintings refuses a casual or superficial inspection? Which encourage such a use? How do they do that?

Which stimulates a mere recognition, and which calls for active perception? What is it about the form of the paintings that achieves this?

The Prodigal<br /> Son by Harold Copping

Some Offline Questions Answered Online

Some questions by email, which I thought helpful for all in the class:

What is popular art?

Popular art is the kind of art that has steadily supplanted both high art and folk art as mass culture began in the 1830s. The first mass media (newspaper) began turning art into a product, aiming to sell as many papers to as many people. As technologies allowed for mass distribution (the steam-powered printing press, followed by the radio, and then the television) media became commercialised and the art which it sold (for advertising money) increasingly commodified. Mass media also began collapsing the boundaries between folk cultures. What began driving art was no longer a vision of shared reality found within a local culture, but a product which would appeal to as many people as possible. That required that the art not only steadily stoop  toward the basest appetites that people wish to satisfy, it also changed the form. Art changed from being something which men must receive through contemplation, into a product which people use, with as little contemplation as possible. This affected music, literature, poetry, architecture, painting, sculpture, and especially theatre. Folk art is mostly dead; the remnant that remain have already been commercialised. High art still exists, but it has travelled a lonely road in pop culture, and all too often either tries to get some pop publicity, or plays the martyr-for-art card, with its nose in the air.

Why did the connotation of exclusivity or elitism become attached to fine art?

High culture and fine art is meant to be the best that has been thought and said. This does require years of training. That, in turn, usually requires enough time and money to fund either the training or the leisure to learn and contemplate it. We would then expect high art to be cultivated where there is cultural stability, a certain amount of wealth, and an accumulation of centuries of learning. The fact that high art thrives among the learned and educated should not lead us to equate it with pride and snobbery. Pride may certainly accompany high culture, but pride is just as rank (if not worse) in those who scorn high art as elitist, and pat themselves on the back for being so humble.

Indeed, before the advent of popular culture, the working-class masses enjoyed folk cultures that learnt from the high culture. Don’t think only of Europe. Think: the high culture of the Temple Levites and Isaiah, trickling down to the folk culture of the villages in Judah.

How does one’s own culture influence which art you are drawn to? What should we say about the art of the pagan Egyptians and Chinese?

Our cultures shape our loves and tastes in ways we are hardly aware of. Having said that, mass culture is really a non-culture, an anti-culture that does not unite around a metaphysical dream, it simply reinforces thousands of competing prejudices, assumptions and cliches. Mass culture no longer favours European culture, it simply commodifies any and every form that will reinforce the prejudices of its market, and thereby sell.

The art of ancient folk cultures demonstrates the imago Dei (image of God) in all men. Human beings are worshippers and sub-creators. As soon as men gather, they worship, and when they worship, they use art. Art (from the word artisan) is the crafting and shaping of material in creation (sound, words, paint, stone) to portray ideas. Man makes things, and once he has made what he needs for survival, he turns to making those things that give meaning to his existence – explaining reality, picturing the afterlife, explaining moral ideas, describing truth, goodness, and beauty. We can expect that all cultures, pagan included, will make art that retains some beauty, and contains some truth mixed in with error – since humans are idolaters. Christopher Dawson in his book Religion and Culture shows how almost every religion on Earth has had some form of prophet, law, priest, and king.

Ours is really the first culture where art is used not worship an explicit deity, but a product which we use to narcissistically serve ourselves. Since our non-culture is really about loving ourselves and affirming ourselves, our art has become a hall of mirrors, an echo chamber, a place of amusement and titillation.

Do the rich not in the end decide the direction of art, since they fund the artists? 

All art requires patronage. If it is to retain its integrity, it cannot be a product looking for mass appeal. Artists used to have wealthy patrons. For centuries, the Church sponsored high art.

It would be more true to say that the market determines the direction of popular art. As to good art, it is still up to those with means (great or small) to support what is worthy. If Christians were serious about this, they could commission hymn writers, support the better artists, and promote the best within their churches.

From the artist’s side, it is simply a matter of integrity.  Just as the pulpit need not be subverted by financial support, nor should the composing sheet, the canvas, the manuscript. The artist who will make what is false for financial gain is in the same category as the preacher who will avoid the topics that will offend the biggest givers in the church.