On creativity.

It was the last section I looked at in the bookshop, having been told to shhhhh my overly loud cynical comments about the vast throes of Joyce Meyer books on offer I mooched around and tried not to get too annoyed at the vast amount of Christian Tat within my gaze. Not even the epic amount of Eugene Peterson books could brighten my mood. The title caught my eye, “The Hidden Art of Homemaking”, I picked it up with amusement expecting to find more Americanised cultural baggage of how I should don make-up and not wear ‘sweats’ (whatever they are, they seem to be the most cardinal sin that American wives can commit.) when my husband returns home from work. (yes I was in a very cynical mood that day…).

Instead I found a nicely subversive book on creativity by Edith Schaeffer. A book that started to dissipate my cynicism as I opened it’s pages. It’s all about creativity in the everyday, about reflecting the Creator in all we are, reflecting who he’s made us to be in the space we live in, in art, music, writing and more. It’s about how those of us who know this Maker should have the most unique and creative lives and expressions of that creativity in our lives. (which could nicely bring me back to the blandness of much of the Christian subculture which seems to be about taking music and remaking it in monotone, or exalting something because it says the word Jesus rather than for expressing something deep of the experience of being human in this world… but that might be for another day…)

I’m loving the book because it’s also about how anyone can do this kind of stuff. It’s talking about being creative to enrich the lives of those around us, rather than aiming to be a famous artist or even thinking about creativity in terms of having a skill and making it into the job you do. I find it so crazily freeing to ponder how to be creative in the small details of life, from fresh flowers in the kitchen, to growing tomatoes on the balcony, to decorating our blackboard with pictures, to writing an email or letter, to blogging, to taking pictures of cool stuff. All this stuff doesn’t have to be made into a profession, just in and of itself it reflects and dances with our Maker.

to quote: From the chapter on ‘Hidden Art’ (the stuff that is found in the everyday life rather than a career or profession)

“A Christian, above all people, should live artistically, aesthetically, and creatively.  We are supposed to be representing the Creator who is there….. There should be a practical result of the realisation that we have been created in the image of the Creator of beauty. Whether you are married and have a family, whether you share a house or a flat with one or a number of people, whether you are a man or a woman: the fact that you are a Christian should show in some practical area of a growing creativity and sensitivity to beauty, rather than in a gradual drying up of creativity and a blindness to ugliness.”

“We are all in danger of thinking, “Some day I shall be fulfilled. Some day I shall have the courage to start another life with will develop my talent”, without ever considering the very practical use of that talent today in a way which will enrich other people’s lives, develop the talent and express the fact of being a creative creature.”

We so often fear that we lack talent, believing the lies we are told that creativity is only for certain ‘types’ of people. I love that my Mum rejected the declaration she’d made in her life that she wasn’t artistic because she couldn’t draw. I love that she took the step of getting paints and pastels and going for it, I love that she went to a mosaic making class and ploughed through the despair of ‘not being creative’. I love that she expressed her emotions in a creative way.

Our Maker’s stamp is there in all of us. We just need courage to take note of the details and enjoy the wonder of making and appreciating beauty in our lives, be it the cool drink on a hot day, the pretty painting on the wall, the joy of a spherical shape, a film where the character really expresses what’s on your mind, playing music with friends, the artistry of a good meal, the taste of chocolate with tea or the way the sunlight plays with shadows in a pool of water.

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8 Responses to On creativity.

  1. étrangère says:

    Love it! Must get hold of book.
    [No, Grier, you have enough books, and aren’t even reading the ones you’ve got!]
    But I want that book!
    [Grier, Kath’s just given you quite enough to ponder and inspire you to get on with…]

    (Don’t worry, it’s the crazy Irish stopping by.) I have learned to appreciate what my Mum was getting at when she rebuked my ascetic bent in student years, by saying that as Christians we should surround ourselves with beautiful things. I thought that was awfully extravagant at the time: but now I realise that it doesn’t take money, just time invested in creativity – to not be so utilitarian! IKEA has sold us the idea that beauty is in having an entire room fitted out just so, from the word go.

    But I’m so aware of how easily my heart settles on beautiful things and covets them (honestly, walking through home furnishings in nice department stores can be a real problem!) when really we can have beauty & creativity without craving expensive beautiful things… but I need my heart protecting. Any tips on that, or wisdom from Edith Schaeffer?

  2. Mandy says:

    Yey!!!!!! I found this book about 25 years ago and it changed my outlook too and I kept lending it to people and eventually it didn’t come back. It used to be called something like Hidden Art and it went out of print . I’m so glad it’s back in circulation.

  3. anna faro says:

    mate- was that last paragraph you or Edith? Either way, i love it. Don’t buy me a baby blanket when the Faro bairn arrives – buy me this!! Love you xxx

    • pilgrimKath says:

      It’s on it’s way- better than baby shampoo or blankets I’m sure you’ll agree. The stuff in italics was Edith, the rest mine 🙂

  4. Emma says:

    Thanks for the recommendation- and for making me laugh with your description of Christian tat..!

  5. Katrina says:

    Nice post Kath. 🙂

    appreciate your honesty, and thoughts, thanks for sharing.

  6. Chris says:

    I agree about the ‘tat’ – but one of my daughters works in a christian bookshop/coffeeshop, and the tat is what sometimes brings in people, looking for a gift for a newly diagnoesd friend, for someone to tell that friend’s story to, and giving opportunity for prayer, and a gentle word about the Lord…
    And one women’s tat is another women’s treasure – look round the homes of some of your church friends! I’m with you – avoid things that need dusting – but not everyone will agree.

  7. Mandy says:

    new subject, birthday girl. you might be interested in this generally. more honesty and songs

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