A Lutheran Says What?

Sermons and random thoughts on God, the world and the intersection of the two

Creative or connective? November 19, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — bweier001 @ 6:14 am
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Creativity is an elusive thing for me. I love to challenge myself to look at biblical texts, community events, teaching lessons, virtually everything I do, through a lens that is perhaps unique or unconventional. I think this is where innovation and growth lives. The unconventional idea often resonates with me the most and is the place where connections to seemingly unconnected ideas are made. But there are times that I can’t seem to make that happen. Last week was one of those times. I had confirmation curriculum to write, an Advent cross + generational event to plan, a sermon to start thinking about and worship text reflection time to plan. Now ask me how much of that got done. That’s right: zero, zilch, zip.
I did all of my “usual” creativity sparking go-to’s: take a walk on the trails behind my house, do some reading, look at Pintrest (seriously a visual learners dream), take a nap, get done some menial tasks and yet not one single solitary creative thought crossed my little brain. What if I never have another creative thought again and people figure out that I am useless?
I honestly worry about this from time to time. What if I never have an original idea again? What is it that allows for creativity and how do I keep that flowing? When I think about it, it’s not really so much that I have that many original ideas, because I don’t. It’s that I am able to take other ideas, make them unique to my context and situation and personalize the it. So perhaps I am not creative at all, maybe I am just able to read my context.
I admire people who can come up with completely new and innovative ideas out of mid-air it seems. Yet, when you listen to their story of how their idea came to fruition, many times the “new” idea came from a very ordinary issue, question or situation. They had a problem, looked at their resources and came up with a solution. Yet, there is still an element of “je ne sais quoi that can’t be articulated about creativity. What makes someone like Jimi Hendrix so different? Or a Mozart? A Picasso? The answer of course is the one thing I lack…genius. Genius is what takes something or someone from good to great. It’s the “x” factor so to speak. You either have it or you don’t. 99.5% of us don’t. Hendrix took the music he knew and connected it with a culture. Picasso connects art and an alternate world view. Mozart connected the basic music he had been taught with what he figured out the medieval string instruments could really do. We don’t know how these connections are made for them, but we know genius when we see it don’t we?
The other piece to creativity for me I have learned is collaboration. The ability to verbally process and think through an event, a lesson or worship idea is crucial for me in the creativity process. Many corporations are going to large rooms with just long tables for people to sit together all day long and bounce ideas back and forth. Gone are the solo offices or cubbies. It would seem like more socializing would happen than work but many businesses understand that “socializing” and just chatting is the crucible where innovation is born. Someone gives a “crazy idea” and someone else connects it with something a bit more doable and all of the sudden you get an ipad.
It wasn’t until I finally called my best friend (who is also a pastor) on Friday that the ideas began to flow. I gave her my extremely thin concept and she began to ask questions and spit out ideas. Then the creative spark returned and I was able to even look at other materials, look at Pintrest and visualize how the idea with some tweaking will fit where I want it to. She helped me to see connections where I had previously been unable to. So really my “creativity” is not so much true creation as much as it is connecting people and ideas. Connections are vital. Connections are where space is created for growth, learning and newness to take root. So, I’ll take it and not take it for granted when it happens.