All Creativity Is Dangerous
I read an incredible quote about Creativity from the late author Madeline L'Engle that I wrote down, and have been pondering for some time. Here's the quote:
If I affirm that the universe was created by a power of love and that all creation is good, I am not proclaiming safety. Safety was never part of the promise. Creativity, yes; safety no. All creativity is dangerous.
First, I have to say that there's so much to love about this quote, including the very first line about affirming that the "universe was created by a power of love and that all creation is good..."
Honestly, if that's where we begin our conversations about God, faith, the universe, and everything---we're starting off on the right foot. The story begins with love, and goodness because that's how God intended it.
But for far too many people who claim to be Christian, the story doesn't start with that line, it starts with something like this:
Everything is cursed, people are wretches, God is angry, everything is all sinful and broken from the beginning--we deserve every bad thing that happens to us.
And even if they don't overtly proclaim something to that effect, many Christians are influenced by that kind of theology. It permeates the way they feel about themselves and the world, and it shows.
However, getting back to the rest of that Le'Engle quote, there's another way to think about these big overarching issues that comes down to the dangerous act of creativity.
Over the years I've learned a thing or two about creativity, and how dangerous it can be to create.
Each and every day I sit down and write these devotions, not sure if they will be received positively or not. Each week, I create a sermon that I'm never really sure will go over well.
I'm fortunate that most of you who read these devos daily as well as those of you who regularly hear me preach seem to appreciate the creative work I do, and for that I am grateful.
But it's not always the case, and on occasion, I have discovered that some folks take offense to some of the things I write about or some of the things I preach on Sundays. It's a risk that I know I need to take, though.
You see, every time you create something, and then put it out into the world you assume vulnerability, which can be frightening, and dangerous. You open yourself up to rejection, scrutiny, betrayal--a lot of unpleasant stuff.
This is so very true about God, isn't it? God creates out of love, calling all of Creation--including us---good, and then allows us the freedom to respond as we will.
Far too often we respond to God's loving vulnerability by pushing God aside to try to live on our own terms.
And God never stops loving us, never stops inviting us to become co-creators with God... never stops restoring us and setting us upright when we willfully fall flat on our faces.
There is no safety in creation, but there is love and goodness, and the kind of joy that comes when you face the fear of vulnerability and don't let the fear get the best of you.
You were created good, to do good work, and to embody the creative love of God for the world. Take a risk, be vulnerable, let the love of God flow through you in all the creative work that you do.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.