One hundred Christian artists took to the desert last month to discuss how they might achieve greater integrity in their art and use it for more effective Christian witness, as the Fellowship of Christians in the Arts, Media, and Entertainment held its first national conference in the lush oasis of Palm Springs, California.

Conference chairman Irvin “Shorty” Yeaworth, Jr., of Valley Forge Films called the new attempt at communication among Christian artists “an idea come of age.” Producers, directors, writers, broadcasters, musicians, artists, performers, and mass-media specialists from across the nation grappled with the problems and possibilities of the arts from a Christian perspective. Their discussions gave promise of a great stride forward in the quality and effectiveness of the arts in pursuit of Christian goals.

A seminar on motion pictures, chaired by actor-producer Don Murray (The Hoodlum Priest), stressed the need for honesty in art. He stated, “Christian art often fails not because it is offensive but because it is boring. It is boring when it is dishonest. Our films can be as exciting positively as erotic films are negatively.”

Participants recognized two problems inherent in making Christian films for the commercial market: people’s hostility toward the person of Jesus Christ, “who cuts through make believe,” and the necessity that such films make money. Discussants stressed that Christian film-makers must “resist using the financial yardstick as a measure of success” and depend on the Holy Spirit to use their efforts to achieve God’s purposes.

Ray Robinson, associate director of Baltimore’s Peabody Conservatory, led a discussion on new forms of expression that included the presentation of “The Day of Resurrection,” ...

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