December 14: Creativity, Elizabeth Gilbert and repentance!

Matthew 3:8-9

Bear fruit worthy of repentance. Do not presume to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our ancestor”; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. 

Central to the christian narrative is the notion that we have turned away from God, that we have forgotten the creative force of love which created us and we have gone our own way.   The rise of humanism through the enlightenment is possibly the strongest expression of humanity’s rejection of its creator.

Elizabeth Gilbert in this wonderful TED talk pines for a relocation of the creative genius to move once again from within the individual into the spiritual realm.  Whilst she finds her way back into Greek and Roman philosophy she does not manage to engage the Judeo-Christian narrative which in a similar way would locate genius and creativity outside ourselves.

Within the doctrine of creation is the notion that God’s creativity goes on, almost as if God is creating each moment in which we live and so sustaining all that God has made.  When this idea is linked to the notion of the incarnation and salvation expressed by Athanasius “He became human that we might become God with him” the possibilities of our participation of God’s creativity open up in new and unexpected way.

Moreover, the doctrine of the Trinity and the notion of the indwelling of “Father,Son and Spirit” in one another (perichoresis) means that we who share in God’s life share in a communion of existence in which we can and do draw from the Spirit of God and might I dare say even one another’s existence as wee participate in God’s creative activity.

In her talk Gilbert outlines the horrific consequences of locating creative genius within a person and calls us to repent of our rational humanism.  Whilst she may not connect it with the Christian narrative is this not the story which we proclaim as we witness to the God who creates all things in love and then in a moment of unexpected and unparalleled grace invites in Christ and through the Spirit to share in that creative loving life of God?