I spent most of my artistic life out of the church, or rather, I spent it in tension with the church. Mainly because I was always so disappointed by the contemporary works of people of faith. Their work always seemed to strike me as myopic - not painting a holistic picture of life on earth. It seemed to lack depth and in my estimation, truth.
Complicating matters further, I now work in a church.
Now it is my job to create art that moves people toward a deeper understanding of their creator. But if I can be honest, I’m still getting used to it. I’m still getting used to this context. It often baffles me. And what often baffles me most is the use of the word, “creativity.”
It has taken me awhile to understand that when that word is used in a sacred context it means something like having more painters on stage during worship; more dance; more drama; more art.
Of course as a creative director I’m all for the continued use of these elements, but what I find most concerning is the, once again, myopic use of the word. In my view, “creativity” is not a noun, it is an adjective.
Creativity, in my view, is not a thing you make, it is a way of being.
Our work as people of faith is to embrace the ultimate creative act, which is to live differently. To live creatively. This is what I believe Sam means to say with this book.
Our problem is that we rarely do it well. When we relegate “creativity” to a job the artists and creatives do, we rob ourselves of the richness of life Christ has called us to. We rob ourselves of the ultimately creative, creatively alternative, third way.
Sam has rightly called us to see ourselves as artists of life who might live creative lives in response to the paramount Creator.
And so we must embrace our work. We must embrace the call to create. We must understand our brokenness and penchant for darkness. And we must anticipate the redemptive work that is both in our hands to do, and is on its way.
This is living a creative theology and may we attempt to live it well.