Creativity for the Fun of It

Through my company Energion Publications I publish a book by Nick May, titled Megabelt. (He has another book on the way, not with Energion, but I’ll provide news of that later.) Now Nick is a Christian young man, deeply involved in his local church. But he can get just a bit challenging to some people’s sensibilities in his writing.

Nick’s mother has struggled with some of the things he writes. She posted about this on her blog the other day. Here’s an extract:

He lives with passion. I admire him for that. He believes with all his heart in writing purely for the sake of aesthetic value, and simple, pure enjoyment of the art, and not necessarily with always Christian content. I had to struggle through this myself, and he has had to struggle too, because he is gutsy, and real and comes under fire for it. I wasn’t sure for a while, where I stood on the issue, because I always believe in glorifying God in whatever we do. Last night, I got a reality check.

Now I’m going to let you go to Hannah May’s blog Grace, Grace to find out about the reality check.

I appreciate Hannah’s writing, because I too have encountered many people who question the idea of literature and art for enjoyment. They want literature that has an explicitly Christian theme or specifically aims at providing a moral or a gospel message. Because of this they’ll challenge the idea of reading fantasy and science fiction, for example.

I, on the other hand, think that this anti-creative attitude, or more precisely restrictive attitude, is what is most limiting to Christianity and Christian thinking.

The entire world belongs to God. God is the creator of everything that is. Some people think we need to stay in some sort of spiritual realm, or in some set of ideas that is bounded by religion. That attitude, in my view tends to deny that other things, such as our love lives, our sexuality, our imaginations, our inventiveness, and our creativity are truly a part of God’s world. Except, of course, for those portions that fall into those artificial religious boundaries.

But even if I am relaxing on my front porch, not thinking religious thoughts at all, and not carrying a John 3:16 sign, I am living in God’s world. Whether an artist is drawing a picture of Jesus at the last supper, an abstract impression of the skyline of a city, or yes, even a study of the human body, that artist can’t help say something about God through that observation of creation.

And whether a writer intends a moral when writing a story or not, there is again a reflection of God’s universe in the writing, and one can hardly prevent the reader from learning. More importantly, one can permit the reader the experience of fun and joy through the reflection.

Whether we eat or drink, and whether we draw, write, or act, God’s glory is going to shine through somewhere, because the whole world, not just defined portions of it, belongs to God.

 

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Becoming a Better Writer

I’ve been asked by a number of people how to become a better writer. Despite my current publications, I still find myself more in need of advice than I am prepared to offer it, but I do try to help. I don’t know where I first heard it, but what I usually pass on, and largely all I’m able to pass on is the one thing that worked for me, the “ass-on-chair” approach. (Proofreading comment: Also, avoid long, complex sentences such as the preceding one like the plague. And avoid cliches too! Don’t touch them with a ten foot pole!)

For some better and more detailed rules on how to learn to write, see 10 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer.

Row of tipping hats: faithmaps blog, SmartChristian.com, and Church Tech Matters.

Tom Sims is Cheering You On

Sometimes when you’re a bit of a visionary or an ordinary dreamer, and people look at you with a tolerant look that tells you they believe you’re doomed for failure, it’s nice to have someone do a little bit of cheering.

Tom Sims does it in poetic form.