Monday, March 6, 2017

Give It Silence



I want to be clear. We should not always keep silent.

As Christians, we have a responsibility to bring Scripture to bear on the human experience. The Gospel forever changes the heart, producing a natural resistance to injustice, hatred, crime, lies, deceit, and theological error.

However, in some areas, I suspect that silence is more effective than speech.

An example of this would be public boycotts.

While I don't willingly throw my money at companies and causes I can't in good faith support, I don't jump on public boycotting bandwagons.

Here's why.

There's actually good evidence that loud, social-media-fueled boycotts don't work; in fact, they often prove counterproductive. This is true especially in the entertainment industry. 

As Andy Crouch points out in his book Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling, prominent protests merely fuel the box office by increasing visibility for the project. Boycotts generate headlines, drive publicity, and dominate the news cycle of a culture that doesn't care about the Christian critique of its values and merely wants to rub it in our faces when the project inevitably does well without us.

That's why instead of a boycott, I give these projects silence.

Silence is the death knell of creative endeavor. I speak from experience. I'd rather have one of my works met with hearty debate than the awkward chirping of crickets. Silence means it wasn't even important enough for someone to form an opinion one way or the other.

Ouch.

For these reasons, I encourage you to redirect your energy.

Move from boycotting to boosting. 

Shine a light on what matters.

When a truly good film comes out, go see it ("That's your way of casting your vote, the only vote Hollywood recognizes," says Barbara Nicolosi, who terms this sort of resistance an othercott). Write online reviews of good books to help boost their visibility. Go to quality live shows when they're in town. Play good music, and play it loudly with the windows down, yodeling along as best you can. Recommend your favorites left and right. 

Celebrate local art, writers, artists, and theatre, lending your support to worthy projects at the grass-roots level. That's the beauty of art and culture: everyone can be involved. We don't have to wait for Hollywood to speak ex cathedra and hand down their finished projects to us, the sorry masses huddling helpless and cultureless at their feet.

Instead, we can build culture together--culture that celebrates life, light, and truth.

Let's shine a light on works that are worth celebrating.

Let's give the rest our silence. 

* * * * *

Photo Credit:

By LoMit (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


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