I mentioned a couple of weeks
ago that Mrs. Happy and I are leading a small group study about fostering artistic
creativity in the Christian life. Some commenters asked for "tidbits" or other
information about what we’re studying. We had our first real meeting tonight,
and I had some time when we got home, so I thought
I might write a little about the premise of the study.
We are all created beings. God created us in his image, which means that we
are creators at our very core. When we create art, we express ourselves
in a way that mirrors God’s expression of himself in his creation. When we
create art, we imitate God the way a child imitates a parent. That’s part of
our God-given nature, and it’s a part that we often ignore or deny.
If you assemble a group of 100 adults and ask them, "How many of you are creative,"
you may see ten hands (but probably fewer) raised tentatively. Ask
how many are artists, and the response will be even more tepid. If you assemble
of 100 children and ask them, "How many of you are artists," the number of
hands raised will be closer to 200. All children are creative, and all children
delight in artistic expression. Kids love to make up stories, illustrate their
stories, make up songs, dance their emotions, play games of make-believe, and
more. They revel in their creativity. Unfortunately, practical-minded adults
them as they grow older.
So vibrantly creative children grow into practical-minded adults who beat
the creativity out of other children. They encourage young people to be "sensible"
or "responsible." They demonstrate how to live in a way that squashes creative
expression. I can’t count the number of times I’ve tried to share my
creative endeavors with someone, only to be told, "Curt, you have too much
time on your hands."
The sad fact is that when we squash our inherent creativity, we’re squashing
an important part of how we relate to God. It used to be that when you wanted
to hear the best music,
innovative architecture, you went to church. It is a horrible turnabout that
in the 21st century, church is the last place you go for true artistry. Nowhere
has creativity been more squelched than in church. Fortunately, that is starting
to change. More churches are seeing the value in creative worship, especially
In any case, my small group is going through the book The
Creative Call: An Artist’s Response to the Way of the Spirit.
Here are a few discussion questions from the first week:
- How do you define "artist"?
- Write three words or phrases that describe how you feel when you’re being
artistic (or when you used to be artistic).
- Write three words or phrases that describe how you feel when you’re engaged
in activities that don’t involve creativity.
- What do your answers to the previous two questions say about how you view
these two sides of yourself?
I’ll try to post something more each week as time allows.