Photo by jeltovsky on Morgue File.
Do you love to dance, sing, write, sculpt, paint, or debate? What’s your favorite way to express yourself, creatively?
Creativity is important. It is an important quality of the human race. It is one of the things that separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. No matter what form or expression it takes, creativity, and its development, is an important part of our lives. I have seen creativity discouraged. I have seen that light in the eye go dim.
Some do not understand the pursuit. Some do not understand the need and value. Some will say, oh, all that artsy stuff is just a waste of time. They will say, get your head out of the clouds, there’s no money in such silly pursuits.
While it is probably true that I am not the next Picasso or Shakespeare, creativity is still an important venture. A person can be a carpenter and benefit from pursuing dance. A person can be a medical doctor and also a gifted sculptor. In other words, creativity, whether it is your main source of income or not, can be beneficial in other areas of life too.
Creativity encourages and helps to develop critical thinking skills. It helps a person to consider different possibilities and solutions. It moves a person outside the box, to be able to perceive varying perspectives. It aids problem solving skills. It seems to make a person more independent, more apt to solve problems on their own; more willing to attempt to solve a problem through trial and error.
Creative people are typically thinkers, dreamers. They allow themselves to be vulnerable in certain ways. They are willing to step out on the limb, to take necessary risks. In short, they are willing to take a chance and launch out on adventure.
I believe creativity is part of what it means for humans to be created in God’s image: the imago dei. After all, God is creative. God is the creator of the universe. He is our creator. The Psalms tell us that God’s handiwork (i.e. his artistry) is seen in the heavens. From ancient times, people realized that God was creative; he was an artist and his canvas was the heavens and the earth.
I am by no means a dancer! Fred Astaire I am certainly not. I have nothing against dancing. I have danced a time or two. But, it would be an understatement to say, I need lots of practice.
I don’t sing, at least not on a stage! I enjoy music and have even written lyrics and such. But, being behind the mic on a stage is probably not the place for me.
My creativity is expressed chiefly in writing. I have always enjoyed writing. I have several notebooks full of prose, poetry and meandering thoughts. I then discovered the medium of blogging. I debated whether to start a blog for a couple of years. I have now been blogging for just over a year and I have enjoyed it. Sometimes it is challenging to remain consistent in posting. But, it has been an invaluable medium to express my creativity.
As a preacher/teacher, I also find creative expression through public speaking. I enjoy the process of the engagement. For me, and this may sound rather odd, I view study as creativity. I love to study something. I am a learner by nature. I am a perpetual student. I love learning and sharing. When I am studying a biblical text or a point of theology, I feel alive and invigorated. I feel those creative juices boiling over within me.
I love taking what I have learned and writing it down. If I am preaching, often times I will actually write out a manuscript. I will memorize the text and preach from it. I enjoy the process of manuscript writing, seeing how God puts it all together.
My homiletics professor in seminary was Dr. Calvin Miller. Many know of Dr. Miller through his many books, poems and preaching. One of my favorite books of his, and I know I am not alone in this, is The Singer Trilogy. It is a fascinating, creative and heartwarming work. It tells the gospel in a creative way.
He taught me to create a manuscript. He taught me to use that creativity in relation to preaching. I realized the two were not mutually exclusive. My love of writing . . . of prose and poetry, was beneficial in my preaching and teaching. The one side of the study is very academic. The process of studying the text, known as exegesis, and applying hermeneutical tools to the task can sometimes seem anything but creative. But, when viewed in the proper way, at least I think so, it is very much part of the creative spirit.
No matter what form it takes, nurturing the creative spark within is important. I am thankful to God for the gift of creativity. I am thankful for the many avenues he has afforded me to nurture and develop that gift.
My creative pursuits, like all others, are to be done to glorify God. My prayer is that through the words I write, or the ones I speak, that Christ will be exalted and glorified. After all, the gift God has given me is really his anyway. As with everything in life, he is ultimately the owner. My part is to be a good steward with what God has blessed me.
I am thankful to God that he is an artist himself. I am thankful he is creative. I am thankful he created a world that encourages creativity. I am thankful he created the human race with the capacity for creativity.
Father, Almighty Creator and Lord, I thank you for your creation. I thank you that you have displayed your artistry and handiwork across the heavens and in the depths of the earth. I stand amazed as I consider your creation. As a painter, you used the heavens as your canvas and sketched and painted the canvas with lively, vibrant colors. As a sculptor, you formed the mountains and dug out the seas and rivers. As a musician, you gave sound and music to the universe and this world. As a singer, your voice is heard through the song of the morning birds, in the whistle of breeze through the trees and the sound of surf crashing onto the shore. As a writer, you wrote your code in our cells, in the very fabric of who we are. Thank you for gifting us with creativity that we may, in feeble measure, follow your example. Help me to show my love and gratitude through the words I write, speak and think. May you receive all glory and honor. In the name of Christ Jesus, my Lord and my God, I pray. Amen.