Friday, June 3, 2011

Originality in Creativity

The idea that I have original ideas in my head has often bothered me. You see, mainly it has bothered me because it causes me to believe that I'm somehow required to have original ideas. I like having them. I enjoy being the source of things that no one has ever thought of. Also, I enjoy the ego boost. However, the problem with this line of thinking is that it gives me great fear. This fear involves being haunted by the possibility that something I've read or heard, seen or swallowed somehow will regurgitate back up and onto my work. My creativity is just bile. Why would I fear this? Well, I fear it because I don't like being dependent for one. I also don't like being accused of plagarism. Basically I don't like being lame. And copying someone else's awesomeness is just lame. Lame in the literal sense. I'm using them as a crutch so I can walk around and survive. Whenever this line of thinking finds me spiraling into self-analysis I have to remember, the words I'm using to express my thoughts weren't invented by me. The grammar I'm using to organize my words wasn't invented by me. The computer I'm using to type the grammar that's organizing the words, was not built or created by me. Finally, the brain I'm using to to make my fingers type (which are made of borrowed material from food my parents or I ate) was derived from the mind of God. I have no way of being original. My fear has no basis. I am derivative. Originality is a desire I can only fulfill by ignoring my nature. I'm completely a copy. Somehow, though, I'm not. I am an individual and that makes what I say, and how I say it, mine. When I spout forth creations, they are mine. This essay is mine even if it may resemble a thousand others. I wrote it. I mashed it on keys with my derivative fingers. I'm not required to have original ideas, I just will. Even though I'm a thing that has dependencies and borrow-cies, I make original things simply by making things. It's difficult to get past this analysis, but I plan on just doing it.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


If you were looking for another post on Celebration of Discipline, it's coming, just give me a week.

After the community group leaders dinner last night I came away with a nice nugget of knowledge. Juliana said that she loves Jesus because he always provides her with perspective. Perspective on the situations she's in and how they relate to Him.

This got me thinking about an analogy I read. Where this guy is given the choice between two plays to act in. The first acting job is on Broadway and is a small role where he would be barely noticed, but he would be acting alongside or at least on the same stage with a very famous, big-star. The second acting job is his own production, one where he'd be the star, playing the lead role, and be seen by his friends and family, but the audience wouldn't extend beyond that.

What Juliana said reminded me of this and it reminded me that I have that choice everyday. I can choose to star in my own play and be the lead actor, or I can choose to humble myself and act in Jesus story.

This whole earth was made by Him and for Him. He graciously allows us to act alongside him, or act on our own. By acting alongside him, I lose out on fame and glory, but I gain so much more.

Today, I want to live life in His story and be living my life as a part of His play.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Celebration of Discipline: Chapter 2 - Meditation

Wow, I never really understood what meditation was for, nor why I should ever do it.
The main idea is this: Leave space to think and ponder things. Without this, especially in our world, your mind will eventually become a mess of thoughts with no meaning.

He says that meditation "very simply, is the ability to hear God's voice and obey his word." He also differentiates meditation from Eastern religion to explain that

"Christian meditation goes far beyond the notion of detachment...detachment is not enough; we must go on to attachment. The detachment from the confusion all around us is in order to have a richer attachment to God. Christian meditation leads us to the inner wholeness necessary to give ourselves to God freely."

Meditation, by his definition ends up being the means by which God speaks to you. As you clear away distractions and listen to God, you'll find you hear him clearly and can then obey his leading. He goes on to explain that meditation can be combined with the imagination because God "uses images we know and understand to teach us about the unseen world of which we know so little and which we find so difficult to understand."

Finally he goes into explaining that we should meditate on four main things: Scripture, our minds, nature, and the world/age we live in. Scripture is obvious and he goes into ideas about how to study it, focusing on small (one verse) portions. Our minds are something we should "re-collect" and he gives a process of releasing anxieties, bitterness, unforgiveness, etc. through a process of prayer and declaration. Nature is suggested because meditation on nature allows you to reflect on what God made. He says

"Look at the trees...take a flower and allow its beauty and symmetry to sink deep into your mind and heart...sometimes God reaches us profoundly in these simple ways if we will quiet ourselves and listen."

Finally he says to meditate on the " of our time." He says "We have a spiritual obligation to penetrate the inner meaning of events, not to gain power but to gain prophetic perspective."

All of this is to help us reorient our minds to hear God's voice and obey what he says to do or think about. By steady and consistent meditation we can do just that.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Celebration of Discipline: Intro and Chapter 1

The thing about my life as a Christian is that most of it has been a swath of ignorance puncuated by moments of awesome revelation. I mean to say that I'm oblivious for days, weeks, or even months at a time and then suddenly I get it. I'm awake to my current state and I'm left wondering why I ever was asleep. This book Celebration of Discipline has brought one of those moments.

I started reading it because the title so appealed to me that I couldn't ignore it. Discipline is something that I like the idea of but I never subject myself to its boundaries and therefore never experience its benefits. That's what I'm seeing in my future. The main benefit being an unexpected liberation. I say "unexpected" but if you think about it, discipline in children leads ultimately to their liberation as adults that successfully function in society. A lack of discipline now could lead in the end, to more dire consequences from societies laws. The spiritual disciplines applied now, I hope, will lead to a continual freedom in the Spirit that I've only experienced on occasion up til now.

Why do I dare to hope this will happen? Because what the first chapter teaches. It teaches something that I have constantly practiced. The author says, after referencing Colossians 2:20-23, "The moment we feel we can succeed and attain victory over sin by the strength of our will alone is the moment we are worshiping the will. Isn't it ironic that Paul looks at our most strenuous efforts in the spiritual walk and calls them idolatry 'will worship'?"

I had practiced this 'will worship' for some time and tried very hard to make every effort to stop sinning. Since God called me to be perfect as my heavenly father is perfect, I tried to. Eventually I realized the great Grace that God had given and stood corrected. Grace meant I didn't have to try to be perfect, in fact I believed I didn't have to try at all. Here is where this book gives me hope because he says

"The moment we grasp this breathtaking insight we are in danger of an error in the opposite direction. We are tempted to believe there is nothing we can do. If all human strivings end in moral bankruptcy (and having tried it, we know it is so), and if righteousness is a gracious gift from God (as the Bible clrealy states), then is it not logical to conclude that we must wait for God to come and transform us? Strangely enough, the answer is no. The analysis is correct - human striving is insufficient and righteousness is a gift from God - but the conclusion is faulty."

I had made the above conclusion many times and I had never heard clearly the final conslusion.

"Happily there is something we can do. We do not need to be hung on the horns of the dilemma of either human works or idleness. God has given us the Disciplines of the spiritual life as a means of receiving his grace. The Disciplines allow us to place ourselves before God so that he can transform us."

Then he quotes Galations 6:8, "he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life."

All of this brings me hope because it puts me on a path toward spiritual growth and transformation. Before I was on a path with external direction from my church, from my reading, from listening to sermons. Now I feel like I'm going to get on a path with all of those and the internal direction from God and his word to guide me.

I'll keep posting as I feel led. By God's grace I hope I'll see some new changes in me.