Posts Tagged With: Creator

What Will You Make Today?

What will you make today?  Mako Fujimura in his commencement address to the 2012 class at Biola asks a question that we may expect of artists.  (You can watch the commencement address here .) They, of course, are in the business of creating.  However, he was speaking to a students going into many different fields – finance, medicine, teaching, and more.  Ultimately his point is not to make everyone into artists, but help them become more conscious of the image of the Creator we carry within us.  Are we stepping out as creators, aware of what we are making in this world or are we satisfied with consuming the creations of others?   

This is a very different stance than my usual way of starting a project or even waking each morning.  Usually I begin by considering everything that I have to do, often driven by outside forces.  Sometimes it gets to the point of my barely being able to start the day because it seems so laden with the expectations of others.  I feel shackled.  I’m not making anything, just continuing along the same rut of getting things done.

Yet, asking the question – what will I make today – does change my perspective.  It doesn’t necessarily mean that I will throw off all responsibilities that I have to others.   I do have duties to fulfill for those with whom I work, to family, and to a church community.  However, if I see myself making something in these relationships instead of just being pushed along, a new sense of freedom emerges.  Instead of being frustrated with shopping for yet another meal I have to make for students, I can create a feast around which people will gather and build community.  Or, instead of having to plod through the steps of finishing a family estate plan, I can help create a legacy.  At times, the end product may look the same, but how I relate to the activity and the people involved are very different.

It is vital to be conscious of what we make each day.  Our interactions with others are creating relationships and may give people hope or despair.  In the small tasks we do we can see a bunch of scattered work that amounts to nothing or a series of activities that God has put into our lives.  As we move into this way of thinking, maybe we start to get rid of unimportant and unnecessary activities or see them anew.  We may even take on the latent yearnings deep within us.  What will I make today?  I will start putting together landscape quilts of pilgrimages.  I will work on deepening friendships.

A significant part of this creation comes because we are made in the image of God, the ultimate creator.   How does this making relate to God’s creative Word?  It’s comforting to know we are not alone in this making or without guidance.  Even so, there is a need to be careful in the making.  Why are we doing it?  Is it constructive – or destructive?  How does it relate to the community?  How do we see ourselves, as the all mighty creator or as the servant to others?  When we are aware of what we are making, we can become aware of how this making effects others.

So, what are you making?  A book, a blog post, a journey plan, a new friend, an environment for people to see God, a picture of hope.  This question of making helps us find that story that leads us on pilgrimage.  What will you make today?

Categories: Journey Living | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

The Mind of the Maker – Solving or Creating?

What problems do I have before me this week?  Figuring out how to involve more students in leadership in campus ministry, planning for fall programs, and setting up a better writing schedule are just a few.  I’m ready to go – but somewhere deep within I recognize that students won’t quickly fall in line with my ideas, plans for a few months in the future will lack energy, and another writing schedule will fall apart.  Life will get in the way and I’ll again wonder how to solve these and other problems better.  But maybe this is the wrong attitude?  Maybe there’s another mind set that I could take into the week – not of solving a problem, but being part of a continuous work of creation.

Idea.  Energy.  Power.  These are three elements that go into the creation of a work of art: the original idea, the incarnation of the idea, and the effect of this energized idea on those who interact with it.  It’s a continual relationship and conversation.  This could also be another view of the Trinity – the thee-in-one Godhead that Christians are always trying to explain but yet can’t fully grasp.  I’m intrigued by Dorothy Sayers’ exploration of this trinity in The Mind of the Maker as she, herself a thoughtful creator, uses the work of the artist as an analogy of God’s working in the world.

I was particularly drawn into her discussion of problem solving versus creatively addressing the world.  She posits that in the industrialized world we seek to define problems and then search for a solution.  Like detective novels, of which Sayers is an expert, there is a satisfaction in having a clear and bounded problem – solving the crime – that will resolve by the novel’s end.  She understands the populations’ interest in such books, puzzles, and other solution-based activities as a “vicarious sensation of achievement.”  When a solution is reached, the doer can rest.  It is finished.  I see this attitude in today’s culture.  We want the results now and expect them to fulfill our needs.  Searching for information on the internet, texting friends – everything happens instantly.

But in reality, how much in life is really a problem to be solved?  Can these small achievements truly satisfy in the long run?  I begin each day with a simple crossword puzzle because I enjoy the feeling of completing something.  Yet, when I’m finished, there’s nothing really that I gained except this “sensation of achievement.”  It’s not until I head into the mess of putting together blog posts, editing a book that’s been hanging on for years, planning campus ministry events, and having students drop by unexpectedly that I recognize there really isn’t a solution that will organize this chaos.

Part of me wants to complete work, close the calendar, and say it is done.  I can then rest.  But that never happens.  Once I think I have finished an job – say a schedule for the next semester – the reality of working with people enters.  Maybe on one level I have solved some problems of organizing and planning a schedule, but on a larger level I am creating opportunities for people to interact with one another and with God.  Once such relationships enter the picture, there is no real ending or solution.  Instead the events or solutions are jumping off points for something new.

As Sayers would describe this process – a person has an idea, the idea is incarnated in a finished work, but an essential part of that created work is how it affects people who interact with it.  In this continual conversation, people exist in an active role.  We are within God’s larger creation that involves God’s Idea of creation at the beginning of the world and ongoing even now, God’s Incarnated Energy in the person of Jesus Christ and his life on earth, and God’s Power of the Holy Spirit.

It’s amazing to be part of this continual creation.  When I look at it this way I don’t want to stay stuck in a problem solving world – although there will be problems to be solved from time to time.  I want to be swept up in the energy of the ultimate Creator.

Categories: Readings | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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