(Flashback Friday)Creativity and Faith

Obviously a big part of my life!

I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about creativity and its role in the life of a believer.  God himself was creative.  The very first thing we are told about him is that he created.  And we, as his “image bearers” were given some of that creativity ourselves.

But how do churches treat those of a creative bent?  How do churches view the use of artistic skill in worship?  Truthfully?  In my experience? Not well.  Many churches are willing to accept poorly rehearsed musicians – “It’s for Jesus and Jesus knows the hearts of those who are singing so it doesn’t matter if it’s good.”  Would you say the same thing about a sermon?  “The pastor has a good heart so it doesn’t really matter that his sermon didn’t make sense.”

God valued music as a part of worship.  In I Chronicles 15:22, we meet Chenanaiah (also spelled Kenaniah) – “Chenaniah, chief of the Levites, was in charge of the singing; he gave instruction in singing because he was skillful”.  God had set apart the Levites as the priesthood.  Their only job was to tend to the spiritual life of God’s people.  And out of that “set aside” group, Chenaniah was set aside to lead the singing and teach others.  That same passage also mentions instrumentalists who were Levites.  Music done well obviously matters to God.

The life of C. S. Lewis provides another inspiration, this time in the area of writing.  The following is an excerpt from a short devotional I recently read entitled “C.S. Lewis and the Call to Create” –

By the time Lewis committed his life to Jesus Christ at the age of 32, he was already on the path to a successful career as an academic and writer.  While Lewis’s newfound Christian faith didn’t cause him to abandon his work as an author, his conversion clearly caused him to reimagine his work as service to God and others.  As Lewis once wrote in a letter, “The question is not whether we should bring God into our work or not.  We certainly should and must.  The question is whether we should simply (a) Bring Him in in the dedication of our work to Him, in the integrity, diligence, and humility with which we do it or also (b) Make His professed and explicit service our job.” Lewis faith didn’t change his work. It changed his relation to his work. (Emphasis mine)

I see so many fussy articles on the web these days about the types of songs that are being sung on Sunday mornings and whether or not the praise band should be well-rehearsed to say nothing of whether or not there should be a praise band at all.  People are so quick to judge the motives of those who are putting their skill to work in the service.

For those of us who are artists and musicians and writers and dancers . . . could you do me a favor?  Pray for those involved in regular artistic ministry in your church.  Pray that they will be steadfastly focused on their calling.  Pray that everything they contribute – whether they play an instrument, sing, use their graphic design skills on the announcement slides, create holiday banners, or perform a liturgical dance – comes from a surrendered heart that humbly seeks to serve.  God is still inspiring artistic individuals to creatively draw attention to him.  Songwriters are still creating lyrics that can touch a heart and move someone to tears.  Writers are still crafting powerful statements that will impact their reader’s lives.  Artists are creating breathtaking paintings and sculptures that reflect their love for God.

We, as fellow believers, need to celebrate their calling and support them in prayer.  Sharing one more cranky article on Facebook will only serve to discourage and divide.

Education and Creativity

Going a different route with today’s blog post.  A new school year is getting ready to start which means I’m revisiting some favorite educational TED talks as a motivation for the new year.  This is a long one but it’s worth the watch!  So click the link, save it as a favorite or bookmark it so you don’t have to watch it all in one sitting!

#thankshubs Challenge Day 2: Provider

I’m taking a slightly different twist on this.  Yes, I’m grateful for the financial provision.  But there is a different type of provision that my hubby brings to the table that I am truly amazed by.

He loves to do woodworking project.  As I type this, the laptop I’m using is sitting on a trestle style dining room table he made, looking at a corner bookshelf unit he constructed, chairs to match the aforementioned table, a coffee table and matching end tables . . . and if all of that isn’t enough, he re-purposed my childhood toy box into a desk for me.

There are so many things he could do with his spare time.  He loves to golf and he reads pretty voraciously.  He like to watch sports and is kind of addicted to Candy Crush, if the truth be told.  But every so often he disappears into his work shop (the garage that we don’t actually park any vehicles in!) and creates these beautiful handmade pieces.  He’s had people make specific requests of him – for pay – from time to time and I am always amazed by the work he does.

He could easily buy the shelves or the tables.  It would certainly demand less of his time!  But he chooses to design and construct the pieces himself.  I have to be careful what I say because there have been times when I’ve started a statement with “It would be nice to have . . . ” and just days later I have exactly the thing I mentioned!  (There is a recipe box sitting in my kitchen and a large set of shelves that serve as a headboard in my bedroom to prove it!)

Financial provision is nice.  But the creativity and time that he blesses my life with mean far more than money every could.