What the Bible says about creativity

Len WilsonArtists, Creativity, FaithLeave a Comment

quill and paper

Did you know there’s a verse in the Bible that talks about creativity?

Consider: When you’re talking about an artist’s “work”, you’re usually referring to a new piece of art or a project or something that the artist has made—perhaps a new table to a carpenter or a new bronze to a sculptor or a new tapestry to a weaver. People who make things say, while describing their current project, “This is my work.”

There’s a verse in the Bible that I call the creativity verse, because it refers to the creative act of making such a work:

Instead, we are God’s accomplishment, created in Christ Jesus to do good things. God planned for these good things to be the way that we live our lives.Ephesians 2:10 (CEB)

The word translated here as “accomplishment” is the word for such a work.  Some versions use “handiwork” or “masterpiece.” I like this translation because it suggests that the job in question is not just any old project, like filling out a form or building a trash can, but a work of art, a true accomplishment.

The Greek word here is poiéma (pronounced “poy’-ay-mah”), which means “a thing made” or “a work,” and is the object of the verb poieó, which means “to make, do.” These two linguistic cousins describe the creative act – the one who makes and the thing that is made. The word only appears in one other place in the Bible, in Romans 1:20, where it refers to the collective works of God in creation, or the sum of all things that God has made, a sort of greatest hits collection of the Creator’s most fantastic works.

Also, the word poiéma is the ascendant of our modern “poem.” So perhaps it might be translated as such:

God is the Poet and each of us is a sonnet (re)created in Christ Jesus to do good things. God planned for these good things to be the way that we live our lives.

This is the creativity verse because it describes both the Creator and His greatest creation—not nature, but us. And, it suggests that we are to make or do as God has done.

Thanks to @MAGuyton for a Twitter comment that aided this post.

About the Author

Len Wilson

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Writer. Story lover. Believer. Branding philosopher. Breakfast chef. Tickle monster. Dr. Pepper enthusiast. Creative Director. Occasional public speaker.

Len WilsonWhat the Bible says about creativity

Peachtree Stories: Christi Paul

Len WilsonChurch, StoryLeave a Comment

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Storytelling takes on many forms in worship. Sometimes pieces stand alone, by design; other times, as with this short film, we cut it in such a way for it to live inside a sermon (a story within a story). This video, in fact, was a part of a 10-week worship / sermon series called The Story, which looks at the single, overarching narrative of scripture.

The theme for the day focused on the Old Testament character of Joseph, who was sold by his brothers into slavery. Joseph suffered much at the hands of family members, but God redeemed it. The woman in the video, Christi Paul, has a similar story. Hers is about surviving domestic abuse, and how God has redeemed it.

We shot it “Diane Sawyer” style, with our Executive Pastor Marnie Crumpler doing the interview, and used it as a (powerful) sermon illustration. Notice that it doesn’t tell the story on its own; it’s missing many parts, such as her back story and what led her to the place she found herself. When using a segment like this, these other details are handled live by the speaker.

Christi Paul is a Peachtree member, a CNN anchor, and the author of Love Isn’t Supposed to Hurt (Tyndale, 2012). This short film was photographed and edited by Dave Karger at Atlanta Cinematic.


About the Author

Len Wilson

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Writer. Story lover. Believer. Branding philosopher. Breakfast chef. Tickle monster. Dr. Pepper enthusiast. Creative Director. Occasional public speaker.

Len WilsonPeachtree Stories: Christi Paul

The Reason Your Kids are Bored at School, Your Work isn’t Significant, and You Don’t Remember Sunday’s Sermon

Len WilsonArtists, Church, Creativity, Culture, Faith, Leadership, Marketing, Passion, Story, Strategic Thinking, Technology1 Comment

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My son has a major homework assignment due tomorrow. I always seem to find out the night before. Today’s is a powerpoint presentation on rocks. I conduct a quick briefing, then in between stints of smelling food in fridge drawers I call out assignments to him: google the difference between erosion and weathering. Find a picture for igneous.

As I make dinner, I think — what is he actually learning as we discuss this assignment? I do my best to create a directed learning environment, but it seems like all that’s really going on is that my son is picking up some google image search hacks (click Search Tools, then Size > 1024×768). As his assignment nears its hour-long completion, he begins to moan. He wants to finish so he can return to his favorite game: Minecraft.

Just to be clear: My son endures a 75-minute powerpoint earth science lesson, from which he seemingly learns nothing more than how to operate cutting-edge 1990s Microsoft presentation technology, so he can return to his favorite game…

Which is to virtually dig for various types of rocks.

Do you see a problem? I do. The problem isn’t that geology is boring. It’s the way he’s being forced to learn it.

My son’s school lessons may involve technology, but they are devoid of creativity.

I’m not trying to slam his school or teacher. They’re actually better equipped than most. The problem here is more fundamental. And I think it’s killing our schools, churches, and personal lives. We have chosen consumption over creativity.

I wrote a piece on the new website Medium that is a manifesto of sorts for why we desperately need to build a culture of creativity. Please go here and read it, and then if you’d like, post your comments back here.

This is really important.

 

About the Author

Len Wilson

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Writer. Story lover. Believer. Branding philosopher. Breakfast chef. Tickle monster. Dr. Pepper enthusiast. Creative Director. Occasional public speaker.

Len WilsonThe Reason Your Kids are Bored at School, Your Work isn’t Significant, and You Don’t Remember Sunday’s Sermon