Disrupt:Create | Reflect
I live in a city where a culture of creativity reigns.
Yes, we’re subsumed by consumerism, self-help, sex and power, but the Church often misses the cultural narrative of creativity.
It’s not just Sydney, it’s everywhere. Creativity is arguably the most powerful force on earth. We create beautiful things that move the soul in a way abstract knowledge won’t.
We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here - that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?
- Dead Poet’s Society
Adam Witonoswki from White Horse Church said to this, ‘Presenting propositional truth will never make people swoon the way romantic truth will. We create art and music because it moves hearts.’ You don’t win a woman’s heart by describing her height, you win her by words of affection over her beauty, her heart, creating news ways to praise her.
If we miss the cultural narrative of creativity, all that is left is propositional truth devoid of emotion. The gospel transforms the mind in order to ultimately transform the heart. If we ignore the cultural narrative of creativity, we will miss captivating the hearts of the people.
Walk the streets of Balmain, Newtown, Glebe, and see the expression by which people articulate their hearts. It’s creative. It’s expressive.
The bible shows us what it is to be contextual. We possess the truth of the greatest act of creative contextualisation in all the world - that God created for Himself a human body to inhabit so He could come down and display His gospel to a world that rejected Him. His greatest creative expression is in His Son Jesus (Sam Haywood).
This is good news for a creative city.
This is good news for a Church that is seeking to disrupt the cultural narratives of the city with the gospel.
What would this city look like if we didn’t change every topic and ignore every cultural narrative, but brought the gospel to bear on every topic and spoke the fulfilment of Jesus into every cultural narrative?
Aaron Ivey shared that the vision at Austin Stone is that ‘worship is our full life response to God and His gospel. It’s what you do in all of the in between moments.’ As the Church, all that we do is worship. We eat a beautiful steak and we worship God for the flavours and texture. We drink wine and alcohol because it’s a good gift from a good God. We enjoy the gift of sex in marriage because it is a pleasurable gift from the God who brings ultimate pleasure and satisfaction.
The whole bible is full of creative expressions of God. The psalms were written to stir the soul to thankfulness, which leads to worship. The Bible is words of love paired with words of truth that stir the human heart. Every sunset and every song and every kiss and every taste all cultivate thankfulness, which ultimately leads to worship, which then leads to more enjoyment of His creativity and a deeper longing to express that same creativity.
And ultimately, Imago Dei is central here - we are made in the image of a creative God, and therefore are created to create.
- photos by Joshua Mikhaiel.