The Creativity Lie
I was 25 when I learned that I had lived my whole life believing that my creative soul was a curse, not a gift. I sat on the couch in my living room looking at the countless pieces of loose notepaper scattered around my feet and covering the couch. Every one of them held an experience that broke my heart and taught me a lie about who I was and who God is.
After realizing that I was broken and too depressed to function in my life, I had sought out a mentor who lead me through an inventory of all of my memories of guilt, resentment, and fear. In each memory of suffering, this man taught me to look for the lie that I had believed that opposed the Truth of revelation.
I was reticent, as I thought I had been a strong Catholic all of my life, faithful to the truth and aware of what I believed and what I didn’t. As it turns out, belief is a tricky thing.
No matter how many classes we've taken on the sacraments, or how many times we've read through scripture, every single one of us believes lies that oppose the gospel that are keeping us colorless, tasteless, and confined. Whether we’ve learned these lies in the isolation of our wounds or simply from immersion in a broken culture, God is calling us out into his freedom every moment, and it is time for us to listen.
One of our cultural beliefs that we’ve adopted into the Church is a lie about creativity.
In our culture we think of creativity as some handicap that only a select few oddballs get saddled with. For us, creativity is sort of like an added bonus, while productivity and responsibility are absolute necessities. We talk like there are some kinds of people who are creative, and others who are not. We talk about being “left brained” or “right brained” and categorize some professions as creative and others as scientific. We build tribes around these divides with our own set of uniforms. Suit and ties vs skinny jeans and graphic t's.
Over the last two years, I’ve fallen into this trap myself. Yet as God has brought me into deeper freedom and healing in my soul, the categories have started to fall away. I’m not “a creative.” I don’t need to hold on to that moniker as some sort of badge of pride. I’m just human, and for God, that’s more than enough.
God is Creativity
God is Creativity. Before the dawn of time, God was eternally begetting Himself. He created the angels to share in his divine life, and then He created the world. “In the beginning, God created.” (Genesis 1:1). That is the beginning of all things. Creativity is innate, it is who we all are because it is who God is. As Cory Heimann says, “That's why it's so innate in us to create – because we're sharing in the first thing that God did.”
A lot of people tend to think of our movement as really for the art crowd, that it's for hipsters with round glasses who own Wacom tablets and use Macs. But creativity isn't just about art. In the words of Sam Sorich: "Art isn't even just about art, it's about being human."
If you have ever said: “I’m not really creative,” I’ve got good news for you. God disagrees.
The New Renaissance
/ a renewal of life, vigor, interest, etc.; rebirth; revival
/a movement or period of vigorous artistic and intellectual activity
Last year, at the CC Summit, Matt Meeks, the Communications Director at LA gave the opening address and he spoke of “The New Renaissance” to which God is calling his Church. It became our warcry, the banner that we are rallying behind, the shared vision that unites all of us in this movement. The New Renaissance has since become synonymous with Catholic Creatives, in some ways. But we don't own it. The New Renaissance isn't just for us, it's for the whole Church. Catholic Creatives isn’t just a facebook group where “creatives” talk about art or showcase beautiful design. Catholic Creatives is the heart cry of two thousand voices calling us once again to take up the mantle God gave us, to participate in his ongoing act of Creation, to join him in redeeming the world. That is an amazing vision, but to see it happen, we have to begin with ourselves. The New Renaissance can only be realized when we accept our unique identity as a creative Co-Creator.
The New Renaissance can’t happen until we read the words of Genesis “in His Image we made them,” and believe he’s talking about us.
Catholic author and philosophy professor Peter Kreeft says in the Created Book: “We're artists because God is.” When professor Kreeft uses the term “artist” he is not speaking of this as a profession but as a creative, generative way of life. Pope John Paul II speaks even deeper of this reality in his 1999 letter to artists when he writes: “Not all are called to be artists in the specific sense of the term. Yet, as Genesis has it, all men and women are entrusted with the task of crafting their own life: in a certain sense, they are to make of it a work of art, a masterpiece.”
If we want renewal in our Church and in our world, we have to put down this lie that imprisons our soul in categories. We need to claim the identity scripture and our tradition tells us: we are ALL called to be creative. Being creative is being human.
If we want our Church to be the creative masterpiece that we know God intended her to be, we need to take up the mantle of creativity in every aspect of our lives. We need zealous visionaries on fire for their prophetic love for the world to join our God in his ongoing work of co-creation.
That’s why the New Renaissance can’t just be made up of designers and filmmakers and artists. Catholic Creatives needs to call together architects, chefs, musicians, calligraphers, podcasters, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, scientists, painters, theologians, teachers, mothers, and fathers. The New Renaissance is a Renaissance for all culture, for all professions, for every aspect of life.
The call for a New Renaissance is a call for the Kingdom of Heaven, and that Kingdom has no borders.
We will be gathering as a movement next September for the 2018 CC Summit. It is going to be amazing, and we want to give you a chance to come and be a part of creating together this new forum for innovation and revival in the Church!
Blog by Marcellino D'Ambrosio
Co-Founder of Catholic Creatives