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Humble Beast, The Non-Profit. I Like the Sound of That.

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I just watched the video announcement of Humble Beast’s move to a non-profit organization and found it moving, brilliant, counter-cultural and necessary. Historically, the most highly regarded art in Western Civilization was commissioned by patrons who invested in artists. Works like Michaelangelo’s David and the Sistine Chapel were sponsored by the Church and were the highest forms of art in their culture. While the politics surrounding these commissions was often problematic, the broader point was that the Church at one point realized that artistic expression was a major priority in the cultivation of culture.

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People knew that artistic expression was the best way to saturate their culture with Truth, Beauty, and Goodness –  found in the Creator and reflected in creativity. The commodification of art as a product has had the disastrous consequence of replacing patronage with Big Business and transcendent values for sales and profit. The goal of the few corporate monoliths which control most of the music and entertainment industry is to find the next marketable hit instead of finding the next meaningful truth that our cultures need.

Sadly, Christians have too often settled to simply fight for inclusion into this corrupt entertainment industry at the expense of their witness and distinctiveness, instead of seeking to utilize their talents and media for redemptive purposes. Perhaps even more tragic is the resignation of creating a sub-genre ‘Christian art’ (as if creativity doesn’t by nature challenge this characterization). The cottage industry of safe and sterile expression that shuns the provocative seems ironically estranged from Psalms that David wrote (like Psalm 13 or 73 which question God’s goodness and the usefulness of living a righteous life). Such songs are hard to imagine becoming popular in the sanitized ‘Christian music’ culture of today. And that’s why this announcement is so important.

Humble Beast, by giving music away, and now leveraging their creativity for a greater good is reminding us that we were never meant to live as those who would just consume artistic expression but to allow that expression to move us and then become a movement deepening our meditations of the Creator and his creation. Let’s support this move! If you enjoy music that teaches theology, uplifts the spirit, or that is just dope and therefore good for the culture … get the music, spread the word, and explore the resources they make available.

Let’s support this move! If you enjoy music that teaches theology, uplifts the spirit, or that is just dope and therefore good for the culture … buy the music, spread the word, and explore the resources they make available. One of my favorite Humble Beast artists, Propaganda, has a new album, Crooked release on June 30th … for free like all the music on Humble Beast! I also recommend getting The Art of Joy by Jackie HillPerryy, who is worth a listen as a teacher and an artist.

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Instead of one patron who gets to decide what’s important enough to invest in, we get to be a team who supports this work whether the amount is $50,000 or $5 … or anywhere in between. Good music “freely given” so we can freely give … doesn’t get much better than that!

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