Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Artist God

The following mess of words will appear this Friday in my monthly Abbotsford Times column. Happy innovating!

One of my favorite expressions and descriptions of the Christian God is that He is Creator God. This particular name of God has led to all kinds of opposition, argument, in-fighting, good science, bad science, and crazy speculations by Christians and evolutionists alike. And, while the creation-evolution debate rages on, a couple of key concepts about this Creator God get missed.

First, if this God is real and He did in fact create the world around us, then Christians should take seriously God’s command to care for and tend to the earth. Unfortunately, we Christians have been up in arms for years over the creation/evolution debate, dumping time, energy, and resources into defending our claim for a Creator God while largely ignoring to care for His creation like He asked. Many bridges could be built and many walls broken down when we recognize that, though there is disagreement on the origins of our blue planet, there is wide scale agreement that we must care for it.

Second, if we can believe the Bible, which says that humankind was made in the image and likeness of Creator God, then we will also come to understand that part of what it means to be human is to create. We are creative creatures wired in such a way that we love to make music, paint and write, dance and sing, sculpt, dream, and enjoy the beauty of artistic expression found all around us.

Artists are funny people; easily stereotyped as being slightly off-centre, nocturnal, (w)mildly moody, on the bizarre edge of fashion and taste with quirky intelligence, poor grammar, even worse math skills, and ideals that would make the 60’s blush.

The reality, however, is that our very humanness means that every one of us is a creative artist and innovator in some way. An artist isn’t a special type of person with quirky habits so much as every person is a special type of artist. This means that desk jockies in their cubicles wearing beige khaki pants and sweater vests are creative genius’ at something and that the people you least expect to create and innovate will astound you with something.

Sadly, part of the brokenness and incompleteness of the human nature has been the wide-scale loss or suppression of the artist within. For the Christian, this affects our faith in a profound way. One artist said it this way, “An unimagined faith is as undesirable as an unreasoned faith. Without imagination, all hearts are closed, all desires unknown.” When we are able to imagine and envision a God that is beautiful, we begin to feel and experience a faith that is vibrant; our hearts are opened, and we begin to come alive in all that we do. Color, rhythm, experimentation, invention, and curiosity spurs on our faith, often causing us to creatively respond to injustice, innovate new forms of worship and community, and imagine a way for the church to move forward in a culture that thinks we’re backwards.

The church, of all places, should be the most creative place on earth as we strive to be like Artist God who made us in his image and likeness, co-creators in the world he made. Can you imagine that?