Creativity and the Creator Blog Series: Part 5

The What If

The What If

The Apostle Paul points out the fact that we can only see in a mirror dimly (1 Co. 13:12 NASB), but our Creator sees the purpose-picture perfectly clear. Reconciliation and continual communion with Him, makes evident the giftedness in each of us and illuminates the path of purpose. That’s the beauty of the Master Plan—a Master Plan that includes a unique design for every snowflake reflecting God’s creativity.
We are all His prisms, bending His white light into infinite unique hues, coloring this world in beautiful ways that all point back to their source: Our Creator.
Not long ago, the faith community was conflicted; the realization was that we long ago gave away the birthright of creativity to a secular, scientific mindset. We had forgotten from whence we came—In the Beginning. Today, many still find themselves trying to reconcile what to do with the creative spirit. Outside forces try to contain and control it when it is meant to be free, without form inside of us, and then purely released as a unique expression in the context of a relationship with the Creator, in a way that honors Him and blesses others. The more we exemplify our creative spirit in positive accountable ways, the more we manifest the Creator’s intention in our lives.
Accountability for how we express ourselves, is a key component that is often overlooked or denied. Out of a desire to entertain, artists often create without regard for accountability to their Creator or to society. Audiences in turn look to be entertained with little or no regard for discernment. We seek out art in its various forms without considering any underlying message attached that often contributes to societal ills.
The traditional assumptions by many suggest that the arts are suspect and can lead to spiritual or moral denigration. They assume the answer is no to the following misapplied questions frequently asked: Can the arts lead to spiritual transformation? Can they provoke people to ask the right questions; do the right things? Can they make a positive difference?
At the Shae Foundation, we believe that our Creator intended that the answer to these questions is yes. Expressing our creative spirit is the natural way the Creator intended us to glorify him and serve one another. Inspiring through the arts is the key to planting seeds that change, enrich, and save lives.
Our mission is to lead by example, making a positive impact in the lives of artists, encouraging, inspiring, and guiding them in using their Creator-centered gifts in service to their local and global community. It is to that end that we believe it essential to nurture the creative spirit in all of us.

Creativity and the Creator Blog Series: Part 4

No Free Pass

No Free Pass

A seventeenth century philosopher, John Locke, came up with the well-known theory, tabula rasa. Essentially, he believed we are born as blank slates waiting for the world to make its indelible mark on us. In other words, we’re strictly a product of our environment. This idea flies in the face of the fundamental biblical principle that we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps. 139:14 NIV). Locke did not subscribe to the divine principle that we all were born hardwired with a certain giftedness to fulfill a specific purpose. Interestingly, the following statement, attributed to Locke, points out an all too painful truth still visible today: Parents wonder why the streams are bitter, when they themselves have poisoned the fountain.
 
As Christian parents, in the spirit of train up the child guided by our own how-to book, we impose our own ideas of what our children should become. How incredible is it that much of our time is actually spent fighting the will of the Creator instead of discovering and accepting His plan for our children? What a concept—accepting that God already has it figured out. Doesn’t it make sense that as parents, teachers, and society, it is our obligation to help a child discover their gifts and nurture them so they may take their rightful place as contributors to the global community?
 
When we don’t use or appreciate a gift, we offend the Giver. We grieve our Creator by not acknowledging and nurturing the creative spirit He breathed into every one of us. Accountants, engineers, skilled laborers, and scientists don’t get a free pass on this, nor does anyone who has voiced the following mantra, “I don’t have a creative bone in my body.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s a slap to the face of God. Denying one’s creativity would make the Creator out to be a liar. He did not create just some in his image; all are created in his image equally.
 
It doesn’t mean that we all should make a living as artists. The consummate artist had a day job running a warring kingdom. Why would God single out such an imperfect man as King David who broke all of the biblical laws in big and egregious ways, yet calling him, “a man after my own heart?” Could it be because he exercised his God-given creative spirit: singing, writing poetry and lyrics, playing the lyre and harp—oh yes, and dancing. He directed, orchestrated and produced pageantries, dramas on a kingly scale. He did it all to glorify his Creator. Art forms are an expression of the creative spirit.
 
Most of us have succumbed to societal influences and neither discovered nor experienced this most salient dimension of our lives—a dimension that our Creator intended for our fulfillment and happiness. Too often we’ve heard young and old alike share how they were told to be realistic. On the other hand, until a person is in sync with God, how can one realize and fulfill his creative purpose?
 
Our expressed creative spirit has a unique way of building bridges across cultural, political, and religious boundaries. It can reach the touchstone of our inner soul and spiritually strengthen the weary heart. It is a paradox that our unique facet of creativity separates each of us from the other like a fingerprint, yet bonds us together as the expressed image of God. Expressed Creativity is a universal language unto itself—especially in the full dimension of the arts.

Creativity and the Creator Blog Series: Part 3

When starting the Shae organization, I explained our philosophy, that giftedness implies purpose, to a woman who told me the story of how her son loved to draw. She showed me some of his artwork from his toddler years to first grade. It was obvious he was gifted, not just technically, but expressively. There was an inspiring insight from his perspective on life. When I asked to see more, her emotions percolated up. There was no more. Turns out, her son was told by his father that all boys who grow up to be artists are gay. The young boy put down the pencil and didn’t draw again.
 
Our first reaction is, “I would never say that.” But do any of these sound familiar?
“You can’t make a living doing that.’’
“You need to follow in your father’s footsteps.”
“But we planned on you going to this school.”
“It was good enough for your parents.”
“You’re really talented, but at some point you’ll have to get a real job.”
 
We’ve unknowingly caused an epidemic.
 
Recently, I gave a trilogy of seminars about discovering your giftedness and purpose. I’m always amazed that the line of people waiting to talk with me can usually be divided into two groups: the happy group—people who are thankful that someone finally validated that being creative is a Divine gift; and the conflicted group—people who want a how-to recipe to discover their giftedness, passion, and purpose.
 
In today’s digital and information age, we think we should be able to find the answer by Googling or reading it on Wikipedia, through intellectual and analytical processes. But in reality, it is arguably the shortest recipe ever written. Simply put: If you want the answer, ask your Creator. He’s the only one who actually knows. He knows precisely why you came out of the womb the way you did. Your parents do not know. The Church does not know. Certainly, society does not know. Why then do we tend to self-choose our own purpose in life, or worse, feel we know better how to choose for others, especially our children? It truly shows where our faith walk is headed—down a path of discontentment.