Idolatry: Creativity

Every artist is a cannibal, every poet is a thief.
All kill their inspiration and sing about their grief
– U2 “The Fly”

At best, we’re never completely original in what we create, even though there’s a certain school of thinking that says you must always do something brand new.

We’re always working with existing material. It would be foolish, for instance, to attempt to write a fantasy novel that didn’t in some way acknowledge a debt to Tolkien; to be working within a realm where many rules have been defined by him. (He himself was heavily indebted to Norse mythology.)

Why this cult of stark originality? Is it a pride rooted in our inability to submit our (co-)creative acts to the Creator of all? Do we think that we are god-like enough to perform creatio ex nihilo?

Perhaps it is not simply idolatry, but an identity crisis. Lacking a knowledge of being created in the imago dei, the best that we can manage is defining ourselves through what we do and create with our lives. The only way that we feel that we are truly special is by being truly original.

How depressing! No wonder most artists seem to be such tortured souls! How liberating and exciting it is to realize that, instead of needing to be truly original, we are invited to improvise and co-create with the Creator of all in weaving faith, hope and love into all things.

One response to “Idolatry: Creativity”

  1. Okay, this post has been up for days and no one has commented…so I’m coming forward as an INFJ. Whew, that was hard. I need to be alone, now.

    I think Jesus was an introvert, too. Look at his pattern of engagement and withdrawal.

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