Creation is Next to Godliness.Creation is the ultimate manifestation of the divine within each of us.
We’ve all heard the line, “Cleanliness is next to godliness,” right? Well, I don’t buy it. Our world is dirty and messy and that’s the way God (God, in this sense, meaning something larger than myself) made it. In my view, creativity is the most God-like.
If we are to believe the truth (if not the fact) that God said, “Let us make man in our image and in our likeness …” (Gen. 1:26), then in his act of creation, he made us creators.
Have you ever felt like you were “in the zone?” That place where time and difficulty are suspended, and everything flows? There are many ways to get there, but one of them is through the act of creation.
Avenues to the Divine
For me, making music or art are great avenues to the divine. The end-product may be “meh,” but the experience of creating is always refreshing and invigorating to my soul.
Less Than God-Like
My desire to create frequently competes with a less than God-like characteristic I am recovering from, perfectionism. Apparently, this is a hereditary trait because my daughter suffers from it also. If she isn’t convinced that she can do it perfectly (or at least correctly) the first time, she is very reluctant to even attempt it. I can relate. So, for both of us, I have developed some tactics over the years that make creation less scary and more fun.
Creation Breakthrough Tips
- Plan to recycle or reuse whatever you are making. The act of creation can be a daunting one when we place judgments on the outcome. If the plan from the very beginning is to let go of what we create, then we offset the frustration of imperfect results.
- Make space for being bored. It is extremely difficult to create when every moment is filled with activities and input. Set aside a time when you (and your children) can unplug and let the creative juices flow.
- Have supplies on hand: Everything can be used! I’m not recommending a hoarding mentality, but an awful lot of what we throw away can be used again to create art with little or no expense. I keep a small cart of drawers filled with papers, goo-ga’s, adhesives, scissors, and string, and a plastic tub full of goodies like old book jackets and greeting cards, small toys, interesting rocks, sticks, and seed pods found on nature walks, and previously created projects waiting to be morphed into something new. In addition, our recycle bin is now a treasure trove of raw materials that gets emptied weekly, but magically refills itself with metal cans and plastic odds and ends.
- Give yourself permission to create and allow your children to see you in process. They will be much more likely to join in your fun than if you are trying to direct them into an activity. Draw in the dirt with a stick. Make dinner or snack an edible work of art by arranging it in a fun way. Make up silly songs throughout the day. Dance.
Resources for the theme of Saving Creation:
Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg
The Dot by Peter Reynolds
Willow by Denise Brennan-Nelson
Sparkle and Spin by Ann and Paul Rand
The Everything Seed by Carole Martignacco
Born with a Bang by Jennifer Morgan
On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman
Join us at All Souls on every Sunday in January, 2020 to explore the theme of Saving Creation. We’d love to have you with us in-person or online, together in community and covenant. Live stream services are at 10:00 a.m. CST for our Traditional service or the 11:30 a.m. CST Contemporary service.
Listen to all our services, including The Point, Humanist Hour (Sundays at 11:30 a.m.) on our weekly podcast, too.
Shannon Boston is the Executive Director of Lifespan Religious Education at All Souls. Join her for our Wednesday Connections kicks off on January 15 with a community screening of American Heretics: The Politics of the Gospel. Regular programing begins the following week, 5:30 p.m. with dinner and a full night of programming for everyone.