with Bob Condly

July 2016

What a Miracle Can Teach You About Creativity, Part 5


(This is the fifth installment in a series about creativity. Here are the links to the first, second, third, and fourth posts.)

Creativity communicates. Think of it as a language you have to master. Why? Because, as photographer Chase Jarvis observed, “creativity is the new literacy.” To earn a living in today’s world, you need to foster your creativity. To thrive, develop a creative mindset. Learn the language of creativity.

You may feel overwhelmed by the volume of information that floods your life and fractures your attention. In such an environment, nurturing your creative impulse is just one more item to add to a 500-point to do list. You’ll probably never get around to it.

But creativity isn’t just another task; rather, it helps you make sense of everything else. Treat creativity like education; it’s how you think, learn, understand, and succeed.

Jarvis holds out great hope for the power of human creativity. In his opinion, “creativity is actually the thing that solves all problems . . . Not just some problems — all problems. It’s going to solve the water crisis. It’s going to solve the humanitarian crisis.”

It sounds like he’s exaggerating, but consider Jesus. The Lord’s creative miracle multiplied a few loaves and fish to feed thousands, so maybe Jarvis is onto something. (Here are the links to the account described by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.)

Christ’s miracle took care of a hungry crowd. But Jesus addressed a deeper issue, too.

For Jarvis, “the real problem . . . is that we are living in a culture, and we have an educational system, that does not prioritize creativity, that does not cultivate creativity. In fact, it stamps it out. And that’s a huge worry for me.”

His solution? “Change the system — and make creativity a priority in the lives of those who don’t even think of themselves are creative people.”

Jesus addressed two problems at once. He fed people who couldn’t provide for themselves, but He also taught His disciples a lesson they couldn’t learn by themselves. He introduced them to the language of the kingdom of God. In showing them a miracle, Christ taught them creativity.

If you seek to follow Jesus, He will teach you about the kingdom. In doing so, you’ll discover that the language, or literacy, of God’s rule is creativity.

It’s the currency of the kingdom. You know what they say, “money talks.” Jesus handed out no coins, but He transformed a small lunch into a banquet. His miracle communicated what life in the kingdom is like. So learn that language. At least become bilingual!

Here’s how educational specialist Ken Robinson put it: “my contention is that creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status.”

Biblical literacy (reading and pondering the Scriptures) nourishes your spiritual life. But so also does creativity. When you dare to connect the Word of God to the challenges you face, you grow in creativity. When you care enough about people that you won’t tolerate their distress, you’re a candidate for a miracle. Get ready to create!

Robinson asked, “do schools kill creativity?” Do they? Do churches?

Does Jesus? Never! He makes creativity blossom.

Are you learning the language of God’s kingdom? What does His miraculous creativity communicate in your life? What’s Jesus teaching you?

What a Miracle Can Teach You About Creativity, Part 4


(This is the fourth installment in a series about creativity. Here are the links to the first, second, and third posts.)

“Care enough to create.” That’s what I felt God dropped into my heart as I reflected on the topic of creativity.

Over the past few weeks we’ve examined connections, courage, and constraints as elements of creativity and how each one featured in Jesus’ miracle of the feeding of the 5000. (You can read about the event in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.) Now onto compassion!

The phrase above reminds me of Caring Enough to Confront, a guide to pastoral counseling written by David Augsberger.

Don’t mistake confrontation for rudeness. To confront means to communicate the truth to someone you believe needs to hear it. When you confront, you reveal what’s in your heart; you demonstrate concern. It’s bold, not boorish.

So also creativity; it shows that you care. Christ exemplified this. For example, Matthew’s gospel records four instances when compassion for the sick and needy moved Jesus to creative action (9:36; 14:14; 15:32; and 20:34).

Each occasion impressed on the Lord’s disciples how caring and helping can lead to amazing results. And why not? After all, as author Willa Cather wrote, “where there is great love, there are always miracles.” And according to renowned cellist Yo Yo Ma, “passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you’re passionate about something, then you’re more willing to take risks.”

So let your work reveal your compassion. Allow creativity to display how much you care. When you’re motivated to make a difference, you may witness a miracle.

They say you can’t give what you don’t have, but isn’t that just what creativity does? In this sense, it’s miraculous.

But I admit that this is easier said than done. “Send them away!” That’s what His disciples told Jesus when the crowds were getting hungry and the time was ebbing away.

It’s hard to care about others when you’re in the same predicament. The disciples had as little food as the crowd did. If I were one of the apostles, I’d probably worry more about myself than the people.

But that’s not how Jesus saw things. Like everyone else, He also had no food, but His thoughts were of those He’d taught, including the disciples.

Yes, Christ felt compassion for the crowd, but what do you think He felt for His disciples? What does He feel for you?

Do you care? If you do, then learn from Jesus about the power of compassion. Let Him use you to bless others with creative miracles.

with Bob Condly

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