Monday, 2 June 2008

Our Creative Mandate (Part 2): Dancing in the Rain

Ready for love... with a smile on your face... and... erm... ready to buy a Golf.

It's an extraordinarily generous gift of God that we can make art. He didn’t have to make us creative but by His choice here we are writing, singing, painting, sculpting, designing, acting and dancing. That God allows us to build on what He has already created: to re-create; to make complex and diversify is an astonishing outworking of His character.

God did not say, “Let there be culture” but commissioned Adam and Eve to cultivate the earth with Him and for His glory. Adam is commanded to name the animals: a task of ontologically inventive significance. Prior to Genesis 2 it is only God who names the animals. Now, Adam is granted a creative partnership with his maker, reflecting the image he bears to his sovereign father. Amazing!

When I look back to the creation mandate I see so much that helps me to understand this great human task of being creative.

Take Genesis 2: 4-6.

"When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens- no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground"

In order for creation to cultivate there needs to be two vital ingredients: an action of God and an action of human beings. In this case man works the garden and God brings the water: as Adam worked the land God makes a groundswell of water under his feet bringing life to his efforts - cultivating the land and bringing growth. This is a creative partnership between God and man that we see throughout Scripture. Think of Bezalel who (in Exodus 31) is filled with the gift of God's Spirit (God's action) and works with skill ability and knowledge (Man's action) producing the creative fruit of the art of the tabernacle. Think also of David who wrote songs and hymns while alone in the wilderness. Think of Ezekial and Hosea who changed societies through creative acts inspired by the word of God.

If our creative mandate is to cultivate all things (make culture) how do we experience this groundswell of life in the arts? Do we still experience it or is this just a Genesis thing? How does God bring life enriching water to the creative industries?

Our part seems clear: like Adam we are to work and care for our culture. We are to work well: “Work with all your heart as working for the Lord…” as Paul puts it to the Colossians (3:23). His part is to operate His Spirit. As we work, write, sculpt, dance and sing we do so in the hope of God’s Spirit who brings growth and blessing (enlargement) like the water in the creation story.

I invite you to skip along with me as I try to understand something of what it means to work in the groundswell of God’s Spirit and make art for His pleasure: creating and cultivating; making art in the water; dancing in the rain.


Ross said...

Al, great to see you bloggin and really enjoyed the posts so far.
This blog really made me thin again of how amazing it is that God cals on us to partner him in His work. It also highlights what a wonderful vision He has for us as creative beings and how work can, and shuold, be part of that expression. However, in a fallen world we so easily twist things and so work - and life - has been stripped of creativity, and as a result become God-less and less human(e).
Keep up the good work, R

Ally Gordon said...

Thanks for this Ross. It doesn't take much for creativity to slip out of work and life. I find this even as an artist!

Anonymous said...

Hey Ally, I think you would really enjoy checking out these websites and articles. 'International Arts Movement. publish a journal called 'The Creative Spirit.' A journal of Arts and faith. Vol IV no. 2 'Redeeming the arts. A must read if you've never come accross it.

The above article i found fascinating, especially how it looks at the church's role to redeem the arts.

Arts for Christ is based out of Africa.

Artslink- are a branch of OM and taking groups of artists around the world with the vision of redeeming arts and communities.

IAM. Hosts conferences and exhibitions in NY, training and discussions for christian artists. I've heard their yearly conference was fantastic, yet it's just putting it all into practice that's challenging!

Transforming culture was a conference held in Texas. But their links and seminars have useful info.

Hope this inspires/ helps you with your work and vision.

Kind Regards.

Beth (painter/photographer and friend of Cully's living in N Africa!)