What does the motto “Inconspicuously Christian” mean?

My approach to film criticism is informed by my Christian faith.

What constitutes a Christian approach to film criticism–what constitutes a Christian approach to anything–is something that will inevitably be disputed, both by those who identify with that faith tradition and those who do not.

By choosing “Inconspicuously Christian” as a motto for this film blog, I hope to signal two things:

1) Markers of how the Christian faith influences my work here may not always be immediately apparent. To answer a popular question, I do think there is–or should be–a difference between “Christian” criticism and criticism which is not informed by the Christian faith, because the Christian faith should influence the way one practices one’s craft, even if the underlying traits that mark that practice as excellent are available to and attainable by those of any faith orientation.

2) There is a conscious attempt to differentiate my attempts to integrate my faith and practice from that which is commonly stereotyped (whether fairly or unfairly) in such a way as to make me think of Barbara Ehrenreich’s description of “visible Christians” in her book Nickled and Dimed. I will leave to those unfamiliar with that work to look up that phrase should they care to, but the designation implies, I think, a near-pathological need to announce one’s Christianity, sometimes to the exclusion of practicing it.

I realize that both of these signals can be interpreted aggressively and might provoke push back. It’s common in some circles to quote (out of context) Paul’s assertion in Romans that he is “not ashamed” of the Gospel and take it as an admonition that a) we should not be either; and b) anyone who modulates his tone to account for audience is prima facie in violation of … something.

I hope it is possible to be transparent about one’s faith without being obnoxious, not because one is pandering to those who don’t share it but because one thinks that not being obnoxious is in and of itself a good thing. There may well be times where one’s faith, however practiced, alienates observers from the source of that faith rather than attracting them to it. When that is the case, it is something that ought to make us take pause rather than feel self-satisfied.

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