Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

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Following Jesus – 3 – Nature

September 28, 2009

Abell 2667 - From www.nasaimages.org

Abell 2667 - From http://www.nasaimages.org

Nature is full of some incredible things. The magnificent beauty of the galaxies. The colour and scent of flowers. The satisfaction of eating fresh vegetables that have grown in the garden. The majesty of the large beasts. The cuteness of the small beasts!

There’s some amazing stuff out there. The more that humans explore nature, the more we find. The further we travel, the more stars we find. The smaller the objects we can see, the more layers of reality are discovered. The intricate workings of the human body still have their many mysteries. Even the simplest life form is incredibly complex.

God is amazingly creative. He’s made a world of such awesome wonders. It’s amazing how creation isn’t just functional, it’s beautiful. Think of the creatures that inhabit the dark depths of the ocean but are spectacularly colourful. Or the incredible designs on butterfly wings.

The interesting thing with following Jesus is that nature takes on a new significance: nature has been made by a loving creator for His purposes and enjoyment. He has made humanity, in His image and likeness, to dwell in this world of matter.

The spiritual life isn’t about denying the material things, but putting them in their correct priority. We do not pretend that suffering doesn’t exist; we use what we have to alleviate suffering.

Luke 12:33 (NIV)

Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.

Nature is not, then, a deity in itself. It has been made by The Deity, to serve His purposes. However, nowhere do I see in the Bible that this is permission to plunder the Earth’s resources. Indeed, when we damage the environment, we destroy the world in which other people live. Caring for the environment is, I believe, a reasonable way of responding to God’s creation. Think of how He made a beautiful Garden, Eden, and placed the man and woman there to tend it and care for it. He did not say, “go and destroy this Garden in your quest for material possessions.”

Genesis 2:15

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

I read a while back an interesting idea that Christian environmentalism incorporates the human element.* Rather than deifying nature, and downgrading humans, it seeks to take into account how the human treatment of the planet affects not only nature but all humanity, too. It included an awareness of such things as the manufacturing conditions of the products we buy. I personally believe there are many good environmentalist arguments for vegetarianism, for example, as well as acknowledging that many foods suitable for human consumption are instead fed to farm animals, which are then consumed by the small proportion of rich Westerners who can afford fast food. I digress. What was the point I was trying to make? Ah, yes – that being a follower of Jesus necessarily impacts on the way I perceive nature.

All too often we followers of Jesus have been linked to a philosophy of guns, hunting, destruction of the planet, and cruelty to animals and even to our fellow humans. But surely there is a distinction between religious ‘Christianity,’ in which man-made rules become the highest law; and a life genuinely lived following the Lord Jesus Christ and living as those called to tend His Garden? While such things – environmentalism, issues of diet, and our treatment of nature – may well be secondary to the primary issue of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, one of our greatest apologetics is found in the way we live our life.

Peter 3:15-16 (NCV)

But respect Christ as the holy Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to answer everyone who asks you to explain about the hope you have, but answer in a gentle way and with respect. Keep a clear conscience so that those who speak evil of your good life in Christ will be made ashamed.

Finally, acknowledging God as Creator has significant effects on my life: I have Someone to thank for the glorious wonders of nature. I can enjoy and appreciate animals, plants, the changing seasons, the stars, the weather, the land formations… I can also be creative – as I am made in the likeness of Creator God, so He has bestowed at least a little of His creativity on all His people. I have a reason to care what happens to the planet, and to do what I can to look after the environment. And I can enjoy the spectacular discoveries of the natural sciences, as human exploration reveals more and more of God’s spectacular works.

*David Tyler, Creation – Chance or Design?

Following Jesus

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200. Wow, Now I’ve Posted 200 Art Folio Pieces!

February 13, 2008
Self Portrait Photo
In November 2006, I started a blog named “A Humble Art Folio.” Its main intention was to show my family and friends that I wasn’t “just” a ‘good mother.’ In fact, I’d heard so many good-intentioned encouragements like, “Oh, you’re a great wife and mother, and we’re sure there’s other things that you’re good at,” that I started to feel a little gloomy. Art has been a lifelong interest and drawing / painting a passion for as long as I can remember. The only other thing in my life to rival it is probably my book reading habit!
I enjoy painting, drawing and even dabble in a bit of photography. So, for number 200 I thought I’d share with you one of my self portrait photos taken in recent months. I actually don’t know if I like it much, but oh well. Here ’tis, anyway. Actually, it looks terrible as a thumbnail!
Well, back to the art folio thing. I guess it began to depress me that, while I had once been known as an art nut, my current social crowd seemed to have missed that. Maybe they couldn’t see beyond the fact that I was towing around my preschooler children. Others appeared to have the misconception that I was definitely an intellectual / academic text book-reading-nerd type, and therefore I couldn’t also be artistically skilled. Well, why can’t I be both? I’m certainly no Leonardo da Vinci, but surely it was the great artists like him who demonstrated quite clearly that intelligence, intellect and art are a beautiful combination!
It’s ok, though, I’ve become a bit less insecure since those days. And my key self-definition comes (I hope) from my walk as a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ and believer in the Bible. The other stuff – artist, book nerd, university student, wife, mother, volunteer worker, former heavy metal band member (!) [I played bass guitar, woo hoo! Go the 5-strings!], etc., are all aspects of my individual personality.
So, to all the other mums* out there, you are more than a toddler-changing, housecleaning machine. Don’t starve yourself of the things that make you a glorious individual, created in God’s image to bring His light and life into the world! 😀
*Alternative spelling, “moms”
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