Category Archives: creativity

Creativity Taps Both Fallible Reason and Fallible Intuition

The title of this post is my spin on the following book excerpt.

Michael Hyatt writes:

“Most of us have spent a lifetime ignoring — or even suppressing — our intuition. I don’t know if this is a product of modern rationalism or American pragmatism. Regardless, I believe intuition is the map to buried treasure. It is not infallible, but neither is our reason. And it can point us in the right direction. We need to pay attention to this inner voice.”

— from Hyatt’s book Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World

Using the language I know

I thought at this point I had made my sense of things clear: For several types of reasons, I’m just not sure about the Christian faith anymore.

However, most of my life, I have lived and learned within the context of at least four distinct forms of Protestant Christianity.

I find nothing inconsistent about being doubtful while critiquing Christian leaders based upon the inconsistencies between their public claims and their ministries.

Especially when those Christian leaders made my doubts seem more legit, not less.

I once read an interview with the man behind the band Iron & Wine. He said some folks had asked him why he uses biblical language and allusions in his songwriting when he is not a believer.

The thrust of his answer, as I recall it, was something like this: it’s the language available to me, and it fits the settings and characters of my songwriting.

I certainly see the richness of various Christian traditions. In a world gone gnostic, with so much of our communication taking place in disembodied formats, Christianity still has rich veins of language and symbolism and ritual, however despised by the new iconoclasts of both evangelicalism and atheism.

In a world gone gnostic, the thought of logos made flesh ought to fascinate anyone who appreciates tactile, sensory experience.

Beyond that, I would say to any young writers in my classrooms, use the materials you have — stories from your lives, images, settings, characters, cadences, symbols, archetypes, and songs.

Sometimes, if you’re diligent in setting the context, the truth will show up.

RE: Worldbuilding – can sci-fi help build a better world? | Liturgical Credo

Sharp insights into “worldbuilding” (or what J.R.R. Tolkien called “subcreation”) with special reference to imagination and creativity, as well as the works of Tolkien, George Orwell, Ursula Le Guin, Issac Asimov, and others, originally from Damien G. Walter’s blog:

RE: Worldbuilding – can sci-fi help build a better world? | Liturgical Credo.

‘Creativity takes courage’

Check out @b_uncut’s Tweet:

Harry Potter, Peter Pan, and continuity of meaning and experience

I saw the last Harry Potter film with my 11-year-old and 9-year-old at Broadway 16 in Myrtle Beach today.

Without spoiling too much –I’ll try to be vague — at the very end of this very last Potter film, the director moves us 19 years into the future to a time when some of the main characters of the series are taking their own children to Platform 9 3/4 so they can go to Hogwarts.

This storytelling structure reminded me of a children’s stage production of Peter Pan that the entire family saw at the O2 arena in London during the Christmas 2009 holiday.

In that Peter Pan, at the very end, after the other children had grown up and had children of their own, Peter Pan returns to the nursery to find a sleeping girl (I think it was Wendy’s daughter). The little girl awakens, and Peter Pan gives a bow of introduction to her.  The end.

Both of these endings — for Potter and Pan — were moving. I think they’re moving because something about humans really like continuity of meaning and experience. We want our children to share some of our experiences, at the proper time, and to attach a similar meaning to those experiences as we did.

Moreover, we want to believe that the best stories carry on — that they are told again, and that they even happen again. The magic of the Potter and Pan storytelling technique is an ending that doesn’t end: No matter how little our imaginations pursue the possibilities for a new generation of Hogwarts students or Wendy’s daughter, we’re left knowing the story carries on.

In some cases, we cannot achieve a repetition of an experience, even for ourselves, never mind for someone else. Then again, some stories, rites of passage, traditions, ceremonies, and so forth, seem to be fundamental to our imaginations.

Imagination for understanding (with special reference to C.S. Lewis)

When Kendall Harmon spoke at Trinity this morning (Nov. 6), he said people need to cultivate imagination. I’ll attempt a paraphrase: Because most of what God knows remains beyond our grasp, he said, biblical language in many places relies upon imagery and pictures that capture our imagination. He seemed to suggest, in a passing comment, that the West is losing its ability to imagine, in both secular and religious quarters. I was heartened because I had posted a few thoughts about imagination earlier in the week.

Sometimes, I feel like Christian leaders either let their imaginations run wild and silly, or they prohibit imagination as a threat to easily chartable doctrine and systematic theology.

After Kendall’s talk, I returned to a book I read earlier this year, C.S. Lewis on Scripture by Michael J. Christensen. In an appendix entitled “Lewis: The Rational Romantic,” Christensen quotes the following excerpt from Lewis’s essay “Bluspels and Flalansferes”:

“I am a rationalist. For me, reason is the natural organ of truth; but imagination is the organ of meaning.”

Certainly there are rich ways to cultivate a healthy, productive, meaningful imagination.

John Cleese on creativity — yep, the Monty Python guy

John Cleese was part of Monty Python, of course, but he also made a recording of C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters that earned a Grammy nomination in 1989.

In this video, Cleese shares insights into creativity — in a rather serious forum.