Sacred or Secular
by Jimi Williams
I’ve been thinking lately about the difference between sacred and secular. Christians love to put things into neat little boxes. I think this somehow gives us a sense of security and sureness that we are living our lives correctly.
With music, art or books we try especially hard to place each person’s creative work into the proper category. Of course, to do this we need rules – lots of rules. Here are some examples:
• If you sing about Jesus, then you are a “Christian artist”
• If your book is sold in Lifeway, then you are a “Christian author”
• If your CD does not mention Jesus or God or isn’t performed by a “Christian artist” (see definition above), then it’s “secular” music
• If your art doesn’t include a cross, a depiction of Jesus or some other religious symbol, then it’s “secular”
• If you sing music on Sunday morning at church, you have a “sacred” job, but if you sing music on Friday night at a local pub, you have a “secular” job.
The problem with our rules is that they are based on our own ideas and change over time. I remember 20 years ago all the outcry over drums in a worship service because “drums were secular and therefore of the devil!” I also remember the outcry against Jars of Clay when the song, “Flood” crossed over and took off at mainstream radio and a bunch of unsaved people started coming to their shows. Oh no!
Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. The earth and all its people belong to him.”
If everything belongs to God, who are we to say what is not sacred? God says,”I made that. It’s for my glory. Therefore, it is sacred to me.” What if there was just one category and we viewed life as if everything was sacred? How would this affect the way we did business, the way we treated our lost neighbor or the way we appreciated someone’s creative work?