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Addicted to Mediocrity: Contemporary Christians and the Arts
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Addicted to Mediocrity: Contemporary Christians and the Arts

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  352 ratings  ·  43 reviews

In this provocative book, Franky Schaeffer shows how Christians today have sacrificed the artistic prominence they enjoyed for centuries and settled instead for mediocrity. The evidence for this sad state of affairs abounds. We are flooded with "Christian" doodads, trinkets, t-shirts, bumper stickers, etc., that use God's name as an advertising slogan--"Things Go Better wi

Paperback, Revised, 128 pages
Published February 1st 1981 by Crossway Books
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3.76  · 
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 ·  352 ratings  ·  43 reviews

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Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
"Today, Christian endeavor in the arts is typified by the contents of your local Christian bookstore-accessories-paraphernalia shop. For the coffee table we have a set of praying hands made out of some sort of pressed muck. Christian posters are ready to adorn your walls with suitable Christian graffiti to sanctify them and make them a justifiable expense. Perhaps a little plastic cube with a mustard seed entombed within to boost your understanding of faith. And as if this were not enough, a too ...more
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: own
I agree with a lot of Franky Schaeffer’s points out in this book. Christian movies, by and large, are terrible. Christian novels are often poorly written, riddled with stock characters, and are peppered with forced moral/biblical(?) messages. Etc. etc.

However, I found myself increasingly frustrated by the fact that Mr. Schaeffer wasn’t giving concrete examples. He spoke in broad generalizations and made blanket statements about what Christians should and shouldn’t do. He also talked a lot about
Miramira Endevall
Jun 20, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mom
I really struggled about what to rate this book. On the one hand, I agree with a portion of the author's premise. Christain "art" is terrible, full stop. OTOH, the author is an arrogant sonuvabitch. I literally gasped and laughed out loud in a crowded theatre at intermission, causing everyone around me to think I was a loony. But then, they already thought that because I was singing along when invited to do so, but I digres...

I'm going to send this book to my mother. That should give us somethin
Amani Bryant
Aug 02, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Christians who don't understand why everyone thinks Thomas Kincaid is lame
Recommended to Amani by: Daddy
An important message packed into a beautifully short package, however, this only gets 3 stars for a few reasons:
1) important message, but DUH. maybe it's not so obvious to some people, but for me the whole thing was a "no duh" experience.
2) i didn't feel like there were many solutions offered, and those that were put forth were pretty vague.
Jan 06, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: christianity
While I agree with the premise of this book, I personally found it to be an overlong read, despite its already short (127 pages) length. Once you reach agreement with the book's basic propositions, the rest seems somewhat repetitive.
Jamie Gosney
Everyone involved in the Christian music industry or anyone who happens to be a Christian and who is an artist of any nature, and has been frustrated by the utter mediocrity that Church puts forward as art or creativity, should read this book.
Aug 02, 2008 rated it liked it
Gave me some stuff to think about. Enjoyed it. Too bad he has pretty much abandoned the faith.
Jan 10, 2016 rated it liked it
True premise padded with biased ideology.
Richard Gray
The first book I read which influenced my worldview.
Damian Kinsella
Nov 07, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Creative Christians
A good book, several strong statements that weren't as obvious at the time of writing.
Jan 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arts
a stinging indictment on the state of Christianity and the Arts. The artistic vision of Schaeffer is lacking however. Great critique, though
Aug 04, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian
Addicted to Mediocrity's main premises revolve around the banality of modern Christian arts which seem to follow man-made values and evidently neglect the inherent purposes of art appreciation and creativity God has blessed us with. The author starts off with pointing our the importance of arts in relation to the nature of God's creation; being created in an image of God, we human are naturally granted with great qualities as he says:

""made in the image of God," it is the area of creativity, t
J And
Mar 28, 2019 rated it did not like it
Schaeffer has written a sardonic critique of (primarily American) Christianity's involvement in the arts. He decries at length the mediocrity of Christian arts which are created for an exclusively Christian audience. His proposed solution is that art should be engaged in without explicit benefit (e.g. evangelism, teaching, etc); art should be engaged in for the sake of art. What does that look like? He does not say.

In the last chapter, responding to questions, he is asked to offer up his favori
Jul 15, 2019 rated it liked it
I almost gave this one 3 stars, but I think there was enough truth in it to warrant 4... Not exactly the most beautifully written book and the author sometimes sounds as if he has a bit of a chip on his shoulder. It was encouraging, though, and definitely worth a read for a Christian who is involved in art.
J.A.A. Purves
May 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
Frank, or "Franky" Schaeffer is quite the interesting fellow. His very first book, Addicted to Mediocrity: Contemporary Christians and the Arts, explores and attacks the currently low view with which most, who hold to Christianity, still look upon the Arts. Written back in 1980, Schaeffer's criticisms of modern Christianity's interaction with the Arts are still legitimate today. Even some of the cartoons Kurt Mitchell illustrated for the book have proved weirdly prophetic (like one of a "Holy La ...more
Mar 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First, I LOVE Francis Schaeffer's books and worldview. I have yet to read anything I don't like by him. This has been on my to read list since college and I'm glad I finally read it.

I think it will be a book I read and re-read. There is much wisdom in this tiny little book.

Some of my favorite quotes were:

1. Art needs no justification.

2. Christians should add to integrity and quality in all areas of art.

3. Christ redeems our work (art).

4. (paraphrased) There is no need for slogans, propoganda, o
Joel Mitchell
Jan 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Franky Schaeffer lambastes the 20th century church's lack of regard for the arts and "addiction to mediocrity." He is fed up with the cheap baubles with verses slapped on them, the trite bumper stickers with vaguely Christian sayings, the posters that amount to little more than Christian graffiti, the "shallow" "redundant" "sloganeering" books/preaching, etc. that fill Christian bookstores, churches, and homes.

The basic argument of the books is:
- Creativity is an aspect of the image of God in ma
Whitney N Vego
Jan 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A short and easy ready (little over 100 pages) by the son of Francis Schaffer, written in the early 1980's. The core of the book is: (1) A challenge to Christians to stop settling for mediocre art simply because it has a Jesus sticker or Christian slogan on it, (2) a challenge to churches to start supporting Christian artists better with whatever they want to make, whether it be suitably "Christian" or not, and (3) a challenge to Christians who are artists to make good art and not compromise the ...more
Sep 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: christian-living
I was going to give this "book" (more of an extended pamphlet) three stars, but the pretentious and mean-spirited tone of the author made me lose an interest in reading his Q&A section, which makes up the second half of this edition. While Schaeffer does point out some truth about the decline of art in the last century and while he makes some compelling arguments for why this is the case, he makes little progress in recognizing the existence of good Christian art and fails to offer many sugg ...more
Feb 26, 2010 rated it it was ok
I agree with some of what he is saying and I do appreciate the occasional slip into biting comments, but despite these things that made me literally giggle in agreement, I found the book rather unsatisfying. Do I agree with some points he made? Yes, but he doesn't back them up really. It feels more like a opinionated pamphlet than an actual debate. There were a few times where I felt some liberties were taken that I did not agree with. I also feel that it could have been improved greatly by the ...more
Nate Q
I like that Franky doesn't just bash Christians' lack of quality in the arts (although he does do that too), but really draws a line in the sand about Quality in general. (Up for a Chataqua, anyone?) A few gems stuck with me, like his take on believers being called TO something. What is it? Is it sheep to call other sheep, or is it enjoyment in the life and creativity we are given? He sometimes goes a bit pendulum-swingy (yes, it's an adjective) extreme with how much he downplays the importance ...more
Mar 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, big-shelf
On one hand, this book does a lot to open the discussion about why Christian media stinks — and mostly puts the blame on Christian consumers and audiences for not thinking any deeper than the "Christian" label.

On the other hand, it was pretty obviously written in the heyday of the Moral Majority, and makes snide, strident comments about things like abortion rights, to the point where I had to put it down and go for a walk a couple times.
Feb 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
I almost gave this one 3 stars, but I think there was enough truth in it to warrant 4... Not exactly the most beautifully written book and the author sometimes sounds as if he has a bit of a chip on his shoulder. It was encouraging, though, and definitely worth a read for a Christian who is involved in art.
Sep 08, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian
Mediocre book. As I was reading this volume (back in 1982), I agreed with almost everything Frank had to say, but I was often bothered with the way he said it. Christians should set much higher standards in the Arts, etc.
Jan 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Reccomend to anyone. Christian or skeptic, artist or athlete this book is wonderful. Gave me confidence again to pursue what the Creater designed me to create....still working on the whole confidence thing though ;)
Laura Grow-Nyberg
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
While the author makes good points about the mediocrity of religious media and the inherent spirituality of the arts, I am put off by the constant idealizing of past times and demonizing of the current day.
M. Lawrence
Feb 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Really liked this one. A great critique on the sad state of Evangelical Christianity and the Arts in our day. Fortunately there are strong movements out there to counteract this trend, but it can still be seen today. Just visit your local Christian bookstore sometime.
Bcoghill Coghill
Nov 03, 2009 rated it did not like it
Dated. Things have moved on, you need not read this book.
Steve Hemmeke
Aug 14, 2009 rated it liked it
Pretty good book, though I can't say much good for the guy now, as he is trashing his parents without cause...
Adam Carlson
Dec 06, 2016 rated it liked it
The basic premise that Christians are addicted to mediocre art and faith is good. The rest is pretentious and overly political.
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Frank Schaeffer is a New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen books. Frank is a survivor of both polio and an evangelical/fundamentalist childhood, an acclaimed writer who overcame severe dyslexia, a home-schooled and self-taught documentary movie director, a feature film director of four low budget Hollywood features Frank has described as “pretty terrible.” He is also an acclaimed ...more