Creativity and Division in the Church

“The compulsion to take ourselves seriously is in inverse proportion to our creative capacity. When the creative flow dries up all we have left is our importance.”

Some more Eric Hoffer for you.

I’m sure this point could be debated in a lively fashion, but I think Christians are the least creative group of people in the world. Christian music is largely a copy of whatever the world liked last year. Christian blogs are just like other blogs. Our books look like and read like the world’s books. There is little in the way of Christian creative distinctives.

At the same time, there is a lot in the way of Christians getting mad at each other and ripping each other’s throats out and stabbing each other in the back. Seems we take ourselves quite seriously.

Too bad a heathen scum philosopher has to point out this problem. Perhaps if we were all more busy creating things of eternal value, living in the liberty of Jesus Christ, pursuing Godly wisdom we wouldn’t have so much time  left over to be mad about every little issue.

But alas, we’re too serious and important. Wouldn’t want to do anything different to destroy our important reputation. It’s hard to be creative when you must fear retribution from being “not like us.”

3 thoughts on “Creativity and Division in the Church”

  1. Yeah, but Jeff, if we created things of eternal value, nobody would want to buy it, and then we’d all starve! (some sarcasm there)

    In my early 20’s, I left a rock band to become a Christian. I attended a church which had a songbook mostly filled with a mix of classic hymns and a lot of revival stuff from the Moody/Sankey days (late 1800’s). It was fairly victorian and banal. I thought to myself, “is this the best that we can offer to the God of the universe? And why are we singing mostly songs over 100 years old? Doesn’t anyone write hymns anymore? Don’t we have a message to give to our generation?”

    For a while I dabbled in the Christian rock realm (I remember one band, the “Ressurection Band”…they were imitators of Led Zeppelin). That didn’t really cut it, as the Christian imitators were never as good as the real thing, so why not just listen to the real thing and bleep out the words in your mind? But I sensed that the “lyrics” were not the only problem in modern music.

    So I left off modern music entirely, and re-educated myself in music, starting with the times of the Reformation and moving forward. I studied also some of the better Christian poets.

    Some years later, I was involved in a church where we (I and some friends) were able to put our axe to the grindstone and create some songs (some of which were reasonably good, as judged by the quality and standard of the better Christian music of the past). But it took re-education, prayer, a very clear gospel that would not excuse sin, and much work.

    I think this is one keys. The creative works must rally around the work that God wants to be done in that generation. It means we must clearly distinguish where God is working today, and put our efforts behind that. Take Luther’s hymn, “A Mighty Fortress”. It’s a powerful song, but if you realize the setting in which it was written, you gain a much greater appreciation for it. He wrote it, not to please himself or to gain fame, but to strengthen his brethren in the truths that God was bringing to the world at that time. “Thy will be done”. We must support God’s work, and not merely ask Him to support ours.

  2. Another point is that I”m not sure creativity needs to be shown in the church service. What I mean by this is that everyone with a talent feels they have to show it off during church. Not sure that is correct, there’s plenty of time for each believer to be create with their God-given abilities to edify and do the work of the ministry anywhere and everywhere.

    When I have seen “creativity” in church it often does not come across like Ephesians 4-given purpose for the church. I’m glad you like ballet and poetry slams, but not sure we need to warp church to fit it in. There are 167 other hours each week to do this.

  3. It’s a good point. Self is always there, ready to exalt itself. Jesus came as a poor man, in simple dress, without any great show. He did what people considered great works at times, but then shunned the attention that came with it, considering it a distraction. The Word, and the power of that Word, must always be lifted up. If our “show” is just a cover to hide our nakedness, then it would be better to pull the plug and do some heart-searching and prayer instead.

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