My family and I were watching Wall-E when I had an unexpected, almost jarring, realization. If you don't know, Wall-E is a movie made by some of the very creative people at Pixar about the adventures of a solitary robot cleaning up the Earth. As I watched, I was amazed at the experience of this movie and how it touched on so many themes in such powerful ways.
It conveyed a message without being dry. It expressed passion without being pushy. It inspired emotion without lack of intelligence.
Messages on social isolation via technology, sedentary lifestyles and health, environmental stewardship, innocence/authenticity as a virtue, compassion, courage, sacrifice, living for others...and there was much more addressed.
Half the time without one even realizing it. (I've seen the movie a few times without purposefully identifying these themes.)
Messages that if they were written in the words above, one might not be interested in learning.
But creativity is not limited to movies. Kevin Olusola can do amazing beatbox with his mouth...while playing a cello at the same time. The Piano Guys do things with a piano that you've never seen before. Steven Spielberg can use image, music and story to create a powerful experience in a movie.
So here's the question: Where is the creativity of the church?
C.S. Lewis is quoted as saying "While reason is the natural organ of truth, imagination is the organ of meaning."
The record of God's work and His work through people is ripe with the unusual, the unexpected, the creative. But this creativity was not for the sake of personal independence or for the glory of the individual but expressed the glory and creativity of God Himself. Translation: It's not about us (1 Cor. 10:31).
- The artisans equipped with various skills to work on the Temple.
- God used many different plagues to convey His presence to Egypt.
- God choosing the youngest and unlikeliest to become King of Israel.
- Hosea, a prophet, marrying a prostitute to teach Israel about how they related to God.
- Bringing the message of salvation through those who would not garner social support: tax collectors, fishermen, etc.
- Jesus telling parables, walking on water, or using mud on eyes as part of His teaching.
- Salvation coming through suffering and death rather than kingly power.
- Having uneducated fishermen suddenly speak languages from all different corners of the world to spread His message.
- The most prolific missionary of those early days was the murderer of the followers that He now led others to.
We are representatives of the God through whom all things were created. His creative work goes to the depth of the universe, which we are just beginning to explore with things like Hubble, where the deeper we drill outward in space or downward in molecular level the greater the beauty of organization or just outright aesthetic wonder.
As a people created in His image and being re-made into His likeness, creativity in our ministry and efforts are a part of our expressing our God as well as the gospel to the world whether it is through your music, your drawing, your singing, your dancing, your poetry, your fiction story, your Lego building...
How can you express the glory of God to the world? How can we express gospel themes and engage our culture? Writing, making a movie, painting pictures, sculpting a statue, coming up with stories...all of these can convey, express, or represent Him, His kingdom and the Christian worldview.
Our times may seem very dark at times. Let us not be known for cursing the darkness. Let's light a candle that others may see.
*Article art by LAUREN BOEBINGER