There are thousands of books today on “creativity.”
Some read like sterile academic dissections, some like high school pep rallies, and others like the anguished moan of a tormented soul. All have their own “expert opinion” of what it means to live a life of creativity.
But for those of us whose life is hid in Christ, what voice is there to guide us on our journey?
We need a voice of wisdom, from someone who is skilled in the Bible and skilled in people.
We need a voice of humility, from someone who does not think he is God’s gift to all artists.
We need a voice of experience, from someone who doesn’t just think about creativity, but has lived it out in his life over decades of creative work.
And lastly we need a voice of eloquence, so that what is said penetrates deep into our heart and soul.
Michael Card has that voice, and he has given it to us in his beautiful book Scribbling in the Sand.
Michael explores such themes as the hunger for beauty, the call to create, and the nature of creativity in community. He defines creative works as that which “can open up a space in time through which God may speak.” (p. 17) and creativity as ultimately a response to God, an act of worship (p. 29). Because creativity is a response, he teaches that the quality of our creativity will depend on the quality of our listening, both to God, to others, and to ourselves.
Michael considers the most important chapter of the book to be chapter nine on “The Call is to Community.” He feels the stereotype of the creative as tortured loner should not be our guide; that Christ means for our creativity to blossom, grow, and bear fruit in the context of rich, meaningful community.
There is a whole chapter composed of letters written to Michael which he solicited from other creatives for this book. My favorite is a letter from Harold Best, who states, “Make art because you cannot keep yourself from the simple joy of shaping something as best you can and then pouring it over Jesus’ feet. The only reason for doing our very best, despite any cost, is the infinite worth of Jesus, for making art this way is where authenticity lies.”
But most importantly, I know that this book is much more than just words. Anyone who is familiar with Michael knows that he humbly strives to live the kind of creative life that he writes about.
A few years ago Michael volunteered to help out a Christian coffeehouse by being at their fundraiser. So, here’s a guy who’s sold 4 million albums and could name his price to go anywhere, coming to a small inner-city ministry with his entire set-up being an overhead projector full of scribbles and an old upright piano. I still have notes in my copy of Scribbling (probably a few tear stains too) of Michael opening up Phillipians chapter 2 and how a true understanding of humility and servanthood were the key to true creativity. He sang and he taught and he mused and he sang some more, and then after a prayer he just milled around and talked to everyone like, well, like he was just like everyone else there.
I asked him to autograph the most important page in the book, and he went straight to the chapter page on community. Although he didn’t say it, I realized that he had just demonstrated what it meant to live creatively in community.
Scribbling in the Sand weaves together moving personal experience, sound exposition of Scriptures, and gathered wisdom from other creatives to give us a voice of guidance for a life of Christ-honoring creativity. On page 61 Michael writes “if we are to effect a permanent change in people’s hearts, we must do more than simply teach them facts or reduce them to some emotional experience.” True to its word, this book does do more than just teach facts or give emotional experience. It will change your heart.
More information on the book from Amazon.com is here.
— originally published at www.godlycreatives.com —