Creativity and the Call of Faith

Currently listening to: Time Without Consequence by Alexi Murdoch

If faith is to be worthwhile, then it must be a means of empowering creativity and innovation.  Recently, I was teaching a Bible study on Luke 13.10-17, and I was struck, perhaps for the first time, by how creatively Jesus endeavors to use the religious tradition of his past.  Jesus, it seems, was not the kind of person who favored the conservative usage of tradition, but the radical and innovative retelling of that heritage.  Jesus’ theology was one of risk-taking, a controversial “rethinking” of faith that did not bow to the opinions of popular piety.

Does faith inspire creativity, or does it restrict?  Does faith call us to be more creative, more innovative, more open to fresh experiences and interactions with God?  Or does it bind us to an ancient and rigid system of thought that we are powerless to change, no matter how antiquated and outdated it may become?

If faith is to be a force that should endure, then it should be about becoming more fully human.  It should call to us to awaken to our own inner beauty and potential, to our own creative powers, and should set us free to bring that creativity to bear in real and meaningful ways.  In other words, faith should free us to experience and describe God in ways that do not have to conform unquestioningly to the ideologies of the past.

I had considered titling this post, “Creativity and the Temptation of Orthodoxy” because I believe there is a certain seductive quality to orthodoxy that can rob people of their creative spirituality.  Orthodoxy, perhaps inadvertently, coaxes us to believe that the questions have already been answered, that the Mystery has already been solved.  It can encourage us to lazily accept the convictions of those who have gone before, rather than find truth through our own experiences, our own life, and our own creative encounters with the Ground of All Being.  Orthodoxy can become a force that says, “To follow God, you must think like this and agree with these statements,” rather than allowing faith (for the Christian) to be that simple call of Jesus to “Come, follow me.”

The call of true faith is the call to creativity.  It is not the call to accept creeds, doctrine, or ideologies of the past–to place God within a rigid framework of doctrinal statements.  It is the call to embark upon a life of discovery and to descend fully into the Mystery that is God.  Orthodoxy says God is thus, and will never be otherwise.  Faith says that God must be found anew in each moment of life, that God must be experienced firsthand to be understood, and that God must be re-described in innovative ways for every new generation.

Creativity, not orthodoxy, is the hallmark of faith.

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~ by eternaldode on 24 August 2009.

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