Saturday, March 11, 2017

Should artists be allowed to sell their work out of a church?

      This question feels sticky to most people who ask it, but it is not as tricky as it is generally thought to be by church folks. Most pastors ask this question of me like this, “The church shouldn’t become a market place should it?” and of course, the answer is no. God’s house is a place for prayer and worship primarily and for study too.
       Some exhibits that I have been in publish artist’s listing prices next to the artworks along with a title and other information. Some churches publish listing prices only in a bulletin handed out during opening night. I have never participated in a church exhibit where the church ever took a percentage of sales from an artist. This was primarily reasoned as “an agenda” for marketing by the church and therefore, an “inappropriate activity.” Are you surprised? Well, don’t be. Because this point of view is entirely Biblically correct. You see Jesus chased out the money changers because they were selling small animals for sin sacrifices that the Jews who journeyed from afar needed to make. These poor people often could not realistically bring sacrifices with them. Generally speaking the merchants would sell small doves to the poor who would then turn around and give the doves to the priest in that same church to slaughter. The money changers were also in the business of translating the value of coinage into products that the pilgrims might need for worship. In other words the merchants were making profits from things the pilgrims needed in order to worship God. They profited from that which should have belonged to God alone.
      In any case, I usually advise a church to keep a price list along with a contact number or e-mail discreetly tucked away with a secretary should any person ever be curious enough to buy an artwork. (And this seldom happens.) The church never should have the agenda of requiring church members to purchase something from themselves in order to keep in good standing with God. Grace has been paid on our behalf by the shedding of Jesus’ blood. There are no alternative or necessary money sacrifices to be made from a believer in order to worship God freely and gain His forgiveness. Having an art show should never be equated with selling indulgences or with taking advantage of the audience in any religious respect. But selling something by dealing with the artist directly after the show in the artist’s own home is perfectly alright as long as the patron understands that there is no connection to the church in doing so. In other words, buy something because you like it, not because you must buy it in order to appease God. And, churches should temper their money making efforts. Don’t make people feel guilty for not giving to your charities. Don’t make them feel as though they are not loved by God because they can only afford less than what you need or want from them. Money should not be a point of manipulation inside of a Christian church and it should never be a point of focus in terms of people’s salvation.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Constructive comments are appreciated. All comments are moderated and do not immediately appear after publishing. Thanks and have a nice day!