Christian Creativity: Truth and Beauty Together
When we look through the Christian worldview, we see the brilliance of the world God made, the beauty of it along with the truth.
I’ve always loved this line from poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning: “Earth’s crammed with heaven, / And every common bush afire with God; / But only he who sees, takes off his shoes, / The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.”
What this means is that the Christian worldview is not merely something we look at in order to analyze, study, and use with non-believers. It is something we are to look through. When we do, we see the brilliance of the world God made, the beauty of it along with the truth.
That idea is shaping the agenda of this year’s Colson Center National Conference held May 19-21. One of the speakers is Ryan Bomberger, an author, speaker, and creative professional who, along with his wife Bethany, is advancing essential Christian ideas in our culture in compelling ways. Ryan co-founded The Radiance Foundation, whose goal is to remind the world that human life has purpose in everything from the sanctity of life to adoption, gender, race, and parenting.
We asked Ryan about the theme “Earth Crammed With Heaven.” Here is what he said:
I love that. I love earth crammed with heaven. I love even just the visuals that it invokes.
I’m a creative professional. … I love words. I love what they do. I mean, we look in the Book of Genesis, and God could have done anything to actually bring the world to existence. He could have waved His hand, but He spoke words. He spoke it into existence. Words are so revolutionary, and that’s why I love writing….
So I think of earth crammed with heaven. Everything that we do as Christians can be an act of worship. And design, for me, and writing, they are acts of worship….
And so that’s why I’m so excited about this conference because I can talk about the aspect of, okay, well, here’s an act of worship, this is design. And people often don’t think of that…. if you’re a carpenter, [or] whatever your vocation is, there are ways for you to worship and point people to God. … And I’m excited about this conference because I think we’re going to hear many examples of how … that plays out in our everyday lives, wherever we are.
Ryan also described how Christians are engaging with culture through creativity.
I am actually inspired by some of what I’m seeing in some churches. I love to see that deep well of creativity. I am seeing that. But there are other churches, and at large, where design is like an afterthought….
Design is so powerful. God, I mean the ultimate designer [is] God, who creates all this phenomenal creation all around us to inspire us. So, for me, when I think about worship, I wish many more churches would understand and invest in what it takes to actually create great design so that it speaks and moves people even more.
We then asked Ryan whether the creativity evidenced in creation reveals something significant about who God is in the same way as logic or even goodness does.
Right. And as I’m a little biased toward it, because I do love design, that’s what I’ve done, you know, pretty much my whole life. But I can’t imagine life without that intent, because it is everything. I mean, everything. Everything is based on design. You’re looking to the sky. … We don’t fully understand it, but we understand that there was intention and there was a reason, even if it was just to make us just drop our jaws at night. We’re looking at the sky and [are] like, “You love me enough to adorn the sky with stars.”…
Everything that we do … everything that we do is design. And this is what happens when we actually don’t follow an intended design. There’s chaos and confusion, and we see that all around us. So we have to even be proactive in keeping up the design, intended design that God has for us—male and female in marriage, our sexuality. When we lose sight of that and we let go of that intended design, oh, my gosh, it’s disaster.
It’s kind of like the law of entropy. You know, things go from a state of order to disorder. Well, the same thing goes ideologically: that things go from a state of order to disorder if we’re not intentional about keeping that design in place and promoting … God’s intended design—things as they were meant to be.
I hope you will join us for the Colson Center National Conference, in Indianapolis, May 19-21. Go to colsonconference.org, and register before February 28 to get a special early admission price.
For more resources to live like a Christian in this cultural moment, go to colsoncenter.org.
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