Some of my greatest memories are of playing outside with my younger brother. All we had was a tree fort and some oddly shaped sticks. At least, that is all we physically had. The other thing we seemed to have plenty of was creativity. With this creativity we were able to access our imagination. With our imagination we were able to transform our sticks into great weapons and glamorous artifacts. We also were able to transform our back yard and fort into hidden cities, wild jungles, and beautiful kingdoms.
At first we did not know what to do with our imagination. We did not know what to do with these cool weapons and magnificent locations. Both of us found out anything was possible. We could run as fast as light, we could fly to other galaxies, and we could destroy armies with a shout or a swing of our sword. For a while having no limitations was fun. I liked being a warrior from a far away land who could defeat any foe and get out of any sticky situation. After a while however I found the games outside to be a little repetitive. I felt that even though I literally could do anything I wanted in the games we were playing something was missing. Maybe I was getting too old. Maybe it was time to stop playing outside and start thinking more about reality.
I would have given up playing outside pretty quickly actually if something didn’t happen one day that changed everything. I was playing outside with my brother and he shot some magical laser at me and somehow I got hurt. The imaginary laser hurt me. I don’t know how. Maybe I tripped and physically hurt myself when he shot it at me. Maybe I just wanted to see what it was like to actually get hit by a laser for a change. But for some reason this pain I felt, this consequence I experienced, intrigued me. I asked myself, what if when we played games and used our imagination we created rules? What if one of those rules was that you get hurt when you get hit? What if you couldn’t always run as fast as light? What if some of the characters we played couldn’t fly or change shape? These limitations I created actually made me think harder and use more of my imagination.
Soon after my brother and I began to work on character development. We began to have stories where we started one way and the adventure we went on changed us. We used our frustrations with each others’ creative styles for the benefit of our stories. Nothing went exactly our way, we needed to deal with each others’ opinions and egos. I needed to think even more on how my character would develop based on the story elements my brother brought to the table. My mother needed to deal with several fights. We would sometimes stay outside for an hour or so arguing about a curtain character or story point. Because of our stubbornness towards each other we needed to develop reasons to why a character would be doing a curtain thing or how a curtain story element would help develop the story as a whole.
The process of creating stories has excited and fulfilled me so much that I have never stopped. I continue to develop characters and explore new worlds. I am actually perusing a career as a storyteller. I am a writer and a filmmaker. My God has given me this amazing gift, it is called the imagination. The imagination is where creativity begins. Literally anything is possible with it. However, God did not want me and does not want you to ever stop developing the imagination. Creativity must never stop growing.
I found out at a very young age that the gift of creativity is not limited to the imagination. If we can imagine it we can create it. Our world needs to see the fruits of this great gift. At some point while playing outside with my little brother I realized that my imagination was not limited to the back yard. I realized that the characters I was developing and stories I was experiencing could effect and even help change the world I lived in.
In a sense I think of storytellers as magicians. We make the audience buy into things that are not physically real. However, no one will be able to convince me that characters such as Walt Disney’s Pinocchio, Steven Spielberg’s E. T., and Andrew Stanton’s Wall-E, aren’t alive. Artists like Walt, Steven, and Stanton were able to develop their imaginations to such a point that they created living breathing characters that both made us laugh and cry. For me these Magicians were able to change my life with their creations.
I believe that Christianity should be built on creativity. Creativity is what makes us unique. Creativity is God’s greatest miracle. Let us not waste it. We must learn to develop our creativity to the point that it begins to impact and transform people’s lives. When it comes to the imagination, anything is possible. What we need to do is figure out how to use it. When we figure out how to use our imagination, we will be the light that so many people are looking for.
(This post was part of a Synchroblog I am part of. Here are the other links. Enjoy!)
- Bethany Stedman – How God Creates
- EmmaNadine – Creativity and Christianity
- Bill Sahlman – Created, Continued Creativity
- Heidi Renee – Synchroblog Creativity and Christianity
- Annie Bullock – Old Things are New
- John O’Keefe – What is Half of 11
- Kathy Escobar – open.
- Tim Nichols – Artist-Priests in God’s Poetic World
- Maurice Broaddus – The Artist and the Church
- Jeremy Meyers – Creativity First Christian Act (link not working yet)
- Steve Dehner – The Divine Projectionist
- Ellen Haroutunian – Creativity and Christianity: It Matters
- Tammy Carter – His Instrument His Song
- Steve Hayes – Creativity and Worship
- Marta’s Mathoms – Mythos and Create-ivity as a Spiritual Act
- Peter Walker – Creativity and Christianity?
- William Lecorchick – Heaven and Hell
- Liz Dyer – Divine Seeing
- Minnowspeaks – DNA
- Christine Sine – God Created the World by Imagination