Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Spiritual Creativity

I have a lot going on in my mind recently, and not much time to sit and write it all down.  I say that to apologize if I get a little bit off topic now and again.  

Recently I went to see an art exhibit that my friend had a piece in.  I have known Josh (http://www.jmparker.com)  for some time and we have had some similarities in our upbringing, both have red hair, and many have said if people didn’t know better we could be mistaken for siblings.  I had been to see some of Josh’s exhibits before and really do enjoy art in the first place, I went through this time once again being very interested in how he had come up with and created something that was in his mind.  He had, in my perception, materialized what had before been a mental image and therefore been able to share a piece of his mental image and creativity with us.  

I do really enjoy art.

I have looked at all sorts of art in my various travels (that made me sound like such a world traveler and so dignified, reality is that I have just been blessed to get in on a few amazing trips) and in my travels I have enjoyed many of the pieces I have seen.  I am not a person that can explain to you every intricacy; I won’t always be able to pick out the things that everyone else may see.  I am not cultured, I am not trendy, or edgy, but I love the creativity.  I love seeing what I do see and enjoying it, taking away what I see from the art before me, and I even love sharing what I see with others…even if they don’t agree.  I can’t even explain it, I love art, creativity, I even love being creative in what I see in someone elses creativity if that makes sense.

As I walked in to the Sculpture Center in Cleveland (http://sculpturecenter.org) I saw a folded card with some information about Josh and his work.  I picked it up and looked at it as he was addressing some people about his art and they were asking questions and making comments (some were…odd).  As I began to read I was struck at something I read,
 Creativity should carry no limits.  Rational and logical thought breed rational and logical art.  To be rational and logical is to be like the past and what is already known.  I want to experience the unknown.  The irrational and illogical breed new thought and foster new experience.
I really like this, and me being me, I think of a lot of what I read and view in a spiritual sense.  I actually think this can carry some spiritual emphasis as well.  God has made us to be creative, because we are made in His creative image.  God’s creativity has no limits, how much do we limit Him in what He can do (not that we actually limit God) because our minds cannot facilitate the amazing fathoms of His creativity?  What does that say about how creative He has made us to be and wants us to be?  Including in the ways we search for Him, search to help others, search to spread His Word, and search to be more connected to Him?

I believe that rational and logical faith will breed a rational and logical action in that faith, but what if that faith is in a God that is too large to fit our rationale?  What then?  What do we do when God calls us in our rational and logical faith to do something very illogical by our human standards?  Can we break free from this mundane logic?  Or are we self trapped to continue on in the comfortable, well fitting faith that we have created?  I want the irrational and illogical that breeds new thoughts and foster new experiences with God.

I am not saying we add anything to God, for there is really nothing we can add to Him anyway that is worthwhile.  Actually, quite the contrary, I say we become creative so that we may better search the depths of who He is to deepen our faith.

I am just saying that we be open beyond our realm of understanding as we journey along this pathway of our life searching for God in greater ways.  I want to experience the unknown as well, I want to experience the things that God has, who He is, what He is like, what He likes, and so on.  How could I possibly do that by trying to cram Him into fitting my logic and rationale?  

All this to say…Josh is a very creative person who sees things and wants to be open to see things in an irrational way, Josh is an artist.  

Maybe…maybe, being open to see God in a creative way is a sort of art as well.  Maybe that is something I enjoy, maybe it doesn’t fit a profile, a structure, or a well laid plan…but maybe that is ok.  

Thanks Josh for making me think, thanks for your creativity, thanks for your art.

Everyone else, if you get the chance...go check out Josh's exhibit, it is open until February 26th.

*Also, hope it was ok to quote you Josh, didn't really think to ask until now...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Rebelling Religion

I have been reading through John recently, and I have to tell you, I have missed a lot from the times I read from it earlier.  I have been amazed at the figures that fill the story of Christ as He walked this earth.  The simple people He called to follow Him, those He entrusted with His story, those He did not, the rich and powerful, the poor and broken, the story if Christ is so amazing.  I see all of these types of people still exist to this day, we may see them differently, but really, in some form or another, all the characters are still there.  We may bypass the idea that they are, and we may fear what group we fit in with the best, and if confronted with the groups that we would belong to, I wonder how we would respond. 
I have found myself to fit in with the group of religious leaders of Christ time, I have been confronted about it by the Spirit of God and found that I have a strong desire to shed the religious ritualism that I have found caked on me from my years of wanting to belong to the religious culture to which I was brought up in.  I studied and conformed myself to fit the mold that seemed to be the accepted form that I felt was expected of me.  The problem is, I don’t fit well into that mold, it doesn’t feel very natural and I seem to be a bit like a “fat guy in a little coat” (yes, that was a Tommy Boy quote).  When confronted about how I was trying to fit a mold I didn’t belong to, I respond with a sort of, “…but you don’t understand, I am supposed to wear this coat.”  Even though the coat doesn’t fit, even though I was feeling constricted, even though I felt awkward, and felt as if I was unfulfilled.
As I read through John, I began to see that God wanted more for everyone than what the religious leaders of that time were willing to give.  They had condensed God down to a practical, rational, system that made good sense and they could use this package to exercise power and rule with an iron fist and if you crossed them...you crossed God, at least that is what they wanted you to believe.  So when God actually did come down, and blew the doors off the nice, tidy little package they rebelled. 
So, as I have seen myself in this light, my spirit cries out to become something more than a religious leader.  I just want to be a simple follower, and if leadership comes as a byproduct…so be it.  When God speaks strange things that I can’t understand or wrap my mind around, I want to be ok with that, and keep following.  I don’t want to condense God down to some science when He is so much more than that.  Many of those that actually followed and loved Christ couldn’t even break past the thought that He didn’t have limitations (John 11), even death couldn’t stop Him…and later, even His own death couldn’t stop Him. 
Would I have believed if I was there?  I have the gift of hindsight now, but what in the moment matter is going on that I am blind to and yet God is trying to show me that He is bigger than what my mind can imagine and He wants to work outside of my mental jurisdiction to expand my understanding, see His power, and watch Him glorify Himself?  My religious limitations have brought God down to a man sized capacity of understanding and so therefore if I can’t understand it…it can’t be God.  I seek forgiveness, I confess, and I want to be washed clean so that I may have a clearer picture of the truth that is Christ.  I have a longing to stop rebelling because rebellion is much of what I have always known.
I want to be at complete unity with God’s Spirit…even if it is against my very nature, even if it looks different than what I have always been taught…even if I have to shed this small coat I have always been taught I should be wearing.
No more rebellion.