On Creativity and Corner Markets

Note: I wrote this post several months back, while we were in CA, but forgot to publish it.

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Credit: Creative Commons

So here’s the thing I want to say today… Artists, poets, writers, photographers, painters, musicians, the so called “creative types”, do not have a corner market on revealing the fingerprints of God. Because God is creator, our own creative powers point back to him; our own creations are mini reflections of the Great Creator. But creatives are not the only ones who offer these glimpses.

For a long time Christian culture has undervalued the artists, and in recent years they’ve stepped up as a tribe to reclaim a place at the table, reminding not just other artists, but all of us, what we gain when artists make art and musicians make music and writers string together words. It is a much needed element in the conversation about how we Jesus lovers show bits of our God to the world.

At the same time, some of the business, the brands, the blogs that come from this vein can sound almost exclusive about the role of formal creativity.

But right now, in the backyard, Riley is creating a pile of leaves with a small rake. Oh wait, he just quit raking to create a game with his “Gahma”. (No r’s yet.)

Not to brag, but he creates a least three new games a week. Like yesterday on the flight out, he made up “Peek at the people behind me because I’m little and cute so it’s not creepy.” He trademarks them all, so if your toddler also plays “the stuffed animal nuzzles and gives me kisses”, well, there may be some proprietary discussions ahead.

It isn’t art, but it is beautiful. It isn’t usually captured, even on our camera phones, but it is making a permanent mark for good on the world.

You might create spreadsheets. Or customer service experiences, one caller at a time. You might create a safe and fun house for your kids. You might even create a school in that house!  You might create calm in a medical office, or maybe your create a meal, not because you cooked it, but because you checked out the person at the grocery store so they could get their food on home.

I, for one, created a respectable dent in a bag of Circus Animal cookies today.

Sure, a lot of these things feel downright un creative. But when they are done with the hope of sharing more of God’s love in the midst of them, they are indeed creating a bit more of the kingdom God lets us share in.

I consider Jesus’ words “the kingdom of God is at hand” to be seven of the most definitive words he spoke about why he came to earth. I think it rises above many of the other explanations we hold onto– Jesus came to inaugurate the kingdom of God, to move it from someday to starting now. To say that he’s leading the charge, and we are invited to file in and be part of it.

There are roles only Jesus can play in the kingdom. King, for one. Savior. First resurrected one. Defeater of death.

But there are other roles that Jesus played first, and then we get to copy him. Like victor over darkness. I mean, he wins the day on that in the end, but we can copy him on that, in our own ways. Or joy bringer. Of course he’s the joy source, but we give people joy too. We make real, permanent marks on the kingdom, we are co creators with Christ because he invited us to be so. He wanted it to be a partnered deal, even if he carries the freight of the work. And our contributions not only matter now, I believe they will be permanent fixtures in whatever heaven looks like, somehow. Not because we accomplished something or earned it, but because God loves us and let’s us be part of what he’s doing.

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