Friday, 9 January 2009

Creatively Christian

old rose

What difference do Christians make? Or put another way, what would the world at large notice if Christians simply gave up their faith? How can you tell that Christians are about?

It is by no means a foregone conclusion that the answers to such questions would be framed in an affirming way if they were asked of the general public. The very fact that I can write that sentence with a high degree of confidence that what I am saying corresponds to the truth is worrying. Contrary to some popular perceptions, the litmus test of Christian presence is not bickering and acrimony, but sacrificial love which is very much down to earth and profoundly creative.

new rose

Why? Because God is creative. That is how the Bible begins. Its pages bear testimony to the outpouring and outworking of this divine creativity in the chaotic particulars of  human history. God's loving purposeful presence is restless and dynamic. Each and every circumstance and context has within it the possibility and opportunity of a godly outcome.

The pictures of the rose bushes which I took this morning show what I mean. Last years blooms are long faded. In the dull, damp gloom the plants look forlorn and winter-bound. And in this first week of January fresh buds are readily apparent and new leaves are beginning to unfurl. Everything that has served its purpose and is now superfluous is decaying away and the plant is becoming newly revitalised. Authentic Christian faith in action looks something like this. This is the effect that Jesus had in the lives of those around him. Everything had the potential to be reinvigorated and made new. The first disciples learned to put this into practice.  In every aspect of their common life, work, worship and witness they trusted in God's creativity. The early church had confidence in God because the first Christians were themselves becoming new creations in Jesus.  They walked the talk. The old biblical promises birthed new life and hope in the world through their lives.  So Christians are by definition creative. Buds of love, newness and hope should attend their presence. Fresh shoots of transformation and challenge should be obvious. The passionate presence of Jesus will be in the air. Chaos itself will be dispersing in the creative breath of God.

So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation:  everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new.

2 Corinthians 5.17


  1. Thanks, Dave. It took a Myers Briggs course in my last District to make me attentive to latent creative gifts, and led to me taking a creative writing course in my last sabbatical. In my imminent next sabbatical, I'm going to take a photography course - I've become quite rusty. I enjoy the photos on your site. Which Nikon and what software do you use?

  2. Another great post! Like prayer, I often neglect my creative life - I know prayer and being creative can be one and the same thing. And either when neglected (always because there is something 'more important or pressing' to do) leaves life dull and those important things become draining rather than life giving. If I could just find the magic formula that would cure me of my uncreative busy-ness!

  3. Hi Dave, that sounds like a brilliant idea for your sabbatical. I have only just switched to a Nikon D90 from a SonyR1. The high ISO performance is stunning and was one of the main reasons I changed. As to software I use an ancient copy of Photoshop which is well overdue for replacement, or Picasa 3 from Google, which has some useful image editing possibilities and is free. Hope this helps.

    And Hiya Micky, thanks for stopping by and commenting - its really great to say hello! I am delighted that you are blogging again and will add you to my blogroll. I agree entirely with what you say. Being creative is like oxygen for me; if its squeezed out by the diary I start to suffocate spiritually.

  4. I like the way that you point to the seasons changing as a mark of life, too often we see winter as a time of death rather than a time of preparation, I am speaking as one who feels she has lived through a long winter over the last few years and is now detecting signs of spring.

  5. it's lovely to find your creative spirit at work here...and i look forward to ''borrowing'' some of your pictures for my blog on 'feral christianity' is so affirming to find that what i describe as feral christianity is almost exactly as you have described authentic christian faith, as "the potential to be reinvigorated and made new" in everything...thankyouthankyou...