Student: “You don’t want me to draw that.”
Professor: “Oh, really? Why’s that?”
Student: “Because I don’t know how.”
Professor: “Art isn’t about learning to draw, it’s about learning to see.”
I had a college professor share these words with me once, and now, I’m sharing with you.
Because art, or more appropriately creativity, is not about learning to draw, it’s about learning to see.
It’s safe to say that not all come to know what art is through the same lens. For me, it was visual. For some, it’s first heard as music, or felt as a movement through dance or gripped as an emotion in a film or on the stage.
Different individuals perceive it in different ways, but for the sake of this post, let’s agree to use the words art and creativity interchangeably.
Did you know the first time God sets His spirit upon someone, it was to create?
Prior to this passage, the only time we hear of any creativity occurring is early on in the book of Genesis, when God, Himself, is shaping and forming the world.
Cool. What does this have to do with me?
These two men had an important role to play. Moses, their leader, had been charged with building the temple. To these two artists, He had given the task of beautifying the temple.
You may have asked yourself at some point, is it okay that I want to create, for the sole sake of making things to look or sound beautiful?
The answer is, yes.
Here, God illustrates how much beauty matters to Him and He informs us that it’s so important, that He’s preserved two men for this sole task; to beautify the temple.
God’s glory, the reflection and depiction of His worth and beauty, is of such great value and worth to God, that He first sets His spirit in two men to ensure that His children (the nation of Israel) will experience His glory on a supreme level.
In other words, He wants His people to understand how wonderful His greatness really is, so He’s given two craftsman the exact details of how to represent it.
Pretty stinkin’ cool, right?
Looking across the landscape of today’s culture, you may notice something different.
Like new cathedrals, you’ll see people flocking to movie theaters to catch a midnight viewing of a highly anticipated film.
While out shopping or gathering goods, you'll see people who prefer to take on everyday tasks while wearing their headphones. They’re not disengaged, they’re just engaged elsewhere.
I’m guilty of both.
It’s a different world and it's rapidly advancing. Creativity and how it is communicated has changed. It’s more invasive and the message is stronger than ever.
We aren’t a just a generation exposed to media. We use media as a stream of consciousness. We live and speak through it.
We’re a generation that thinks with its eyes and reasons through its headphones.
What I mean is, our decisions about the art we consume affects how we live and see the world.
From the first cave drawings in Lascaux, France, through the Renaissance Era, and now in a post-modern and progressive culture, creativity has been an expression not just of who we are, but how we live, how we think, and what we believe.
It has a direct affect on the decisions we make such as:
What we eat.
What we wear.
How we dress.
Where we live.
Who we talk to.
Who we spend time with.
In Genesis and Exodus, it’s important to see that both the creation made by God and the art made in the temple was made as a means to show how magnificent God is. It was incarnational; a thing representing God’s likeness.
By design, God has intended art to be incarnational…because it satisfies a deep human need, the need to worship. (Tweet this)
And when our worship is turned outward; when it is properly put in its place and redirected back toward God (the source from which it came) there is a great satisfaction that otherwise cannot be fulfilled.
This act of worship is redemptive. God has made us to worship Him and to reflect His likeness.
And so in worship, we find not only fulfillment, but also purpose. (Tweet this)
The Westminster Catechism sums this up nicely when it states:
Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.
Creativity is a potent and influential force. In the right context, it can even be a transcendent thing.
How we look at art, how we use it, and how we consume is a telling sign of what we believe as individuals and where we're headed as a culture.
After reading this, you may not go out and paint like Picasso or create an epic film for the ages. Even if you just picked up a pen and began to write or sketch, well...that would be a start.
My greatest hope is that you would consider the value of who you represent; that if He, being so great and going to such great lengths to show you His glory and having invited you to be a part of this creation, you would take account of the great worth that He has for you.
What's are your thoughts on today's post?
What's your take on creativity and art?
Agree or disagree, I'd love to hear what you think in the comments below.
(P.S. - Keep scrolling, they're down there :))
What better way to further illustrate this post than with a short film. In this case, I've chosen The Butterfly Circus, since it really captures the essence of creativity and redemption.
Note: I would NEVER post a 22 min video on this page if I didn't feel it was well worth your time.
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