RE: Creativity query

From: Shuan Rose (
Date: Tue Jul 30 2002 - 10:50:46 EDT

  • Next message: bivalve: "Re: Creativity query"

            Hey, we are making contributions in the field of arts. Think of the
    wonderful, best selling Left Behind series. CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien, move over
    More seriously, you are correct in that a distinctively Christian
    contribution to the arts seems mostly absent, except from the field of music
    (Christian contemporary & gospel). I don't know of any major contribution by
    Christians in the field of painting, sculpture, or the representational arts
    in the last 100 years. There have been a number of Christian writers.But
    compared to medevial and Renaisance times, Christianity is not doing a lot
    the arts these days, and we should be doing more.
    Below is a relevant excerpt from Keith Miller's post on stewardship . HTH:

    Original Message-----
    From: []On
    Behalf Of Keith B Miller
    Sent: Thursday, May 09, 2002 10:40 AM
    Subject: Theological basis for stewardship and creation care

    This post is in response to Shuan's request for comments on the letter he
    recieved dismissing environmental concerns as irrelevant to the gospel. I
    include below notes from a class I taught awhile back on stewardship at our
    church. I view stewardship as a comprehensive concept including all
    aspects of practical living and the life of the mind. This post is long,
    but I thought that most of it was relevant to the environmental issue and
    to other issues recently discussed in this forum.



    1. What is a worldview?
    "A worldview is never merely a vision of life. It is always a vision for
    life as well. Indeed, a vision of life, or worldview that does not
    actually lead a person or a people in a particular way of life is no world
    view at all. Our world view determines our values. It helps us interpret
    the world around us. It sorts out what is important from what is not,
    what is of highest value from what is least."
    (from The Transforming Vision, p.31-32.)

    A world view is both individual and shared with a community.
    Our worldview is not the same as our theology or philosophy, and we may not
    even be consciously aware of it. It determines how we interpret everything
    around us, even scripture.
    There are many competing world views in our culture.

    2. How do we make our world view closer to God's view?
    Study scripture and practice the spiritual disciplines.
    Listen to others, particularly to those with whom we disagree.
    Learn to recognize other worldviews, and become aware of our own.
    Seek God and trust that His Holy Spirit will guide us.
    John 15:12-15

    3. Biblical basis of stewardship
    a) God is the creator, possessor, and ruler of all things.
    Psalm 95:3-7 The Earth is the Lord's
    Colossians 1:15-20 All things created by Him and for Him
    b) We were created in God's image.
    Genesis 1:26-30 We have been given commission to rule God's creation as
    His image bearers.
    Image is representational, relational, and responsive
            (see Imaging God, by John Douglas Hall)
    What is the God like whom we are to image?
    Christ is the image of God.
    John 1:14-18
    II Corinthians 3:18 We are called to be transformed into the image of
    Christ. Christ's example was that of a self-sacrificing servant.
    c) We were created to do good works.
    John 15:9-17
    Ephesians 2:6-10
    d) We are called by God to be living sacrifices.
    Romans 12:1-2 We are to offer our bodies as living sacrifices. Be
    transformed by renewing our minds.
    Matthew 16:24-25
    Mark 12:28-31 (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) God's claim on us is comprehensive --
    heart, soul, mind, strength.

    What we feel -- Arts, aesthetics, relationships, worship
    What we think -- Philosophy, theology, history, science
    What we do -- Technology, work, finances, social action, spiritual

    All that we feel, think, and do is to give glory to God.
    There is no sacred-secular dichotomy in the Christian life.
    All our talents and abilities are to be used for God's glory.


    1. What do we think about knowledge?
    a) How does our culture view knowledge and learning?
    How has this view influenced the Church?
    b) Should we value some knowledge over others?
    Is the search for some knowledge prohibited by God?
    Philippians 4:8 Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable,
    excellent - think about such things.
    2. Why should we value human knowledge?
    a) God desires us to be wise
    Example of Solomon: I Kings 3:5-12, 4:29-34
    God gave Solomon wisdom to rule, and that wisdom included knowledge of the
    created world as well as artistic creativity.
    Ecclesiates 1:16-18 provides warning of the fruitlessness of knowledge
    pursued as an end to itself. Importance of motivation in acquiring
    knowledge. Why are we doing it?
    Consider also Daniel 1:17-20
    God gave Daniel knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and
    b) We cannot be stewards over what we do not know or understand
    God has given us stewardship over all His creation Psalm 8:3-8
    Creation is good and offers praise to God Psalm 148
    3. We need to think "Christianly"
    a)It is the way we think, not just what we think, that needs to be
    A Christian's orthodoxy is often evaluated on his/her position on an issue,
    not their way of thinking about it.
    Attributes of a Christian mind: supernatural/eternal perspective,
    awareness of evil, concern for truth, recognition of God's authority,
    concern for humanity, affirmation of life
    (from The Christian Mind by Harry Blamires)
    b) How much of our thinking is influenced, if not determined by, our
    c) We need to think about stewardship of our minds as well as stewardship
    of knowledge.
    Stewardship of the mind is personal and equally important for every
    Stewardship of knowledge is more an act of community.
    4. The treasure of past wisdom: the history of ideas
    a) Does the evangelical Church in America value history?
    b) History is our teacher
    God is the God of history and reveals Himself in history.
    God repeatedly calls His people to remember.
    Knowledge of ideas guards against being deceived by false philosophy.
    Colossians 2:6-8
    There is a great wealth of recorded human experience both good and bad for
    us to learn from.
    4. The treasure of past wisdom: the history of ideas
    c) What was the historical origin of the ideas now prominent in our culture?
    Recognize cultural influences on Christian thinking.
    Why do I think about an issue the way I do?
    d) How has an issue been dealt with in the past?
    We may find answers to our own questions and direction in our own
    circumstances through the thoughts, questions, struggles and failures of
    those before us.
    e) How has scripture been understood and interpreted in the past?
    Provides keys to the transcultural truth of scripture. Helps us to
    recognize where our worldview may not be God's view.
    5. Science as a way of knowing
    a) The Christian worldview provided the mental environment for the
    development of modern science (see Religion and the Rise of Modern Science
    by Hooykaas).
    De-deification of nature - Creator vs. Creation
    Unity of heavenly and earthly realms
    Comprehensibility of creation - As God's image-bearers we can "think God's
    thoughts after Him."
    Creation governed by laws - Regularity of creation reflects God's character.
    Ministry of healing and restoration - The incarnation emphasized God's
    concern for His creation.
    b) The metaphor of warfare between science and religion is historically
    Why are science and theology still viewed by many as enemies?
    c) How should science and theology relate to each other?
    Can theology be read from nature?
    God's power and divine nature can be seen in creation. Romans 1:18-25
    Is natural revelation only compelling to the believer?
           Issue of human freewill and God's providence involved.
    Nature can, and has, also be used to support virtually any religious or
    philosophical belief.
    Scripture uses nature as metaphors for revealing God's character and will.
    Matthew 6:25-30,13:1-ff John 15:1-8
    A knowledge of creation enlarges our concept of God.
    Magnifies God's power and wisdom as well as His grace.
    Can nature be understood through scripture?
    Proper use of scripture IITimothy 1:14-15; 3:16
    Great danger in wedding scripture to a particular scientific theory.
    What can be known about nature from scripture?
    Its value to God - God's care and provision for His creation.
    Psalm 104, Job 38-41
    All creation offers praise to God Psalm 148
    Its relationship to God and to us His image-bearers.
    The meaning of stewardship and divine rulership.
    Can scientific knowledge provide a corrective to bad theology? How?
    Can theology provide a corrective to bad science? How?


    1. Artistic talent is God-given
    Human skills and crafts are God-given Exodus 35:25-35
    Writing and poetic gifts are God-given:
    Proverbs and songs of Solomon I Kings 4:29-34
    Understanding of literature and learning Daniel 1:17-20
    Examples of use of arts in scripture:
    Building of tabernacle and temple involved much decorative as well as
    engineering skill.
    Music in celebration and worship. Music had major part in religious
    Dance as part of worship and celebration.
    Drama and theater used by prophets to proclaim their message.
    See Ezekiel chapters 4-5 as an example of prophetic theater.
    2. What is the purpose of art?
    To glorify and praise God -- to reflect the beauty of God's creation.
    To express ourselves to God and others in ways not possible in mere
    statement of propositional truth. Expression of the full range of human
    To communicate truth.
    For the joy and cost of creating -- participating in God's creativity.
    For the enrichment of others' lives and the meeting of aesthetic needs.
    3. The Trinitarian nature of creativity
    >From The Mind of the Maker by Dorothy Sayers
    The Idea
    The Creative Activity - bringing the idea into existence
    The Creative Power - the ability of the created work to impact others
    4. How can we support artistic gifts ans steward artistic talent within the
    Financially support artists within the congregation.
    Singers and musicians serving the temple were paid from the temple tithe.
    I Chronicles 6:31-32, 9:33 and Nehemiah 12:46-47
    Commission works - Restore the place of the Church as a patron of the arts.
    Give individuals time and freedom to be creative and do their best work.
    Encourage the development of artistic talent by providing mentors and
    Utilize a wider range of artisitc expression in worship.
    Utilize artistic talent within the congregation in the design and
    decoration of the Church building.


    -----Original Message-----
    From: []On
    Behalf Of William T. Yates
    Sent: Monday, July 29, 2002 6:58 PM
    Subject: Creativity query


    My pastor is going to be preaching on portions of early Genesis. He
    seems to be after our duty to be creative in carrying out the 'dominion'
    directive. That is, he is disturbed by current Christianity's
    dereliction of its duty in the arts and sciences and the abandonment of
    these fields to the world. That God pronounced the world He created as
    'good' but we seem to have pronounced it 'bad'. It's probaly somewhat
    off-topic, but can anyone recommend some references that touch on this?

    May I also ask who is going to the Pepperdine meeting? It would be nice
    to see who may be there. I might be, I live close enough. Can anyone
    tell me how wheelchair accessible the facilities are?


    --Bill Yates

    --Bill Yates
    --Moderator, Writer's Club Christian Writer's Workshop
    --Editor,'s Believer's Weekly
    --Theron Services: Web Design, Editing, Writing

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