Creation: the act of producing or causing to exist; the act of creating; engendering.
We are all little creators. We are designed to create. Some of us may do this ways we would call “creative”; poets, artists, authors, or painters. Regardless of how creative you feel, you as a person created in the image of God, are to create. This is what it means when the Scriptures talk about the “subduing” and having “dominion” over the creation.
We are to leave the world better than when we found it. We are to build, shape, mold, and design. This is what it means to be human. This is the distinctive difference between us and the animal kingdom (and opposable thumbs).
To be human is to create.
To be Christian should mean to create at the highest level. Sadly the creatives among us are largely ignored or cast out. A friend says that we plucked out the eye of the church (although we like musicians because they can be ‘used’ in the worship service).
When I look at the world today the Christians are at the bottom of the rung when it comes to creating. Sadly we do not create well. We used to (read here Tolkien, Lewis, Sayers, Dostoyevsky, etc..) and the music used to be the best (Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, etc…) but now we create for the lowest common denominator.
The church has co-opted pop culture and has done nothing to improve it, but typically is a poor mimic. "Christian" film is poorly written and poorly produced. "Christian" music tends to be meaningless drivel with the words “Jesus”, “Spirit”, and “God” thrown in to make it spiritual. “Christian” fiction is often overly sentimental with no real connection to the realities in the world around us.
I am not saying that everything is bad. There is good. But, on the whole, Christians are not creating at a very high level.
Christians would not be considered to be at the top of their crafts in the arts (with the exception fo U2).
But our creation doesn’t stop here. We must look at education, business, politics…everything and ask, “Where are the Christians”? In business it seems that many Christians are doing well (Chik-Fil-A, Interstate Batteries, etc…). In education the Church is holding steady at some places (Calvin and Wheaton) but it is largely on the outside looking in as more and more Christians retreat from the education system.
In politics…that’s another post for another time.
Here’s the bottom line: we can no longer whitewash cultural engagement with the adjective “Christian” and assume that means it is “Christian” because often times it is sub-Christian. More on this as we look at critiquing culture in the next post.
See the introduction to this post here.