Creativity Spawns Creativity

Sam Mahlstadt —  December 20, 2012 — 3 Comments

This is a guest post by my brilliant friend, Sam DuRegger

Fertile creativity is a creative product or process that has the ability to propagate further creativity into perpetuity, that is to say – creativity spawns creativity.

I came upon this concept in Eugene Peterson’s book, “Working the Angles” in which he states…”The variants of error are finite. The ‘deadly sins’ can be numbered; it is virtue that exhibits the endless fertility of creation.”

I really like the idea of sin being finite. It makes sense when you think about it, as sin cannot lead to life, as it only leads to death and/or destruction.

Wrath begets murder.
Greed begets taking.
Sloth begets nothing.
Pride begets stumbling.
Lust begets wanting.
Envy begets resenting.
Gluttony begets devouring.

But, what about virtue?

Temperance begets enjoyment.
Prudence begets wisdom.
Fortitude begets courage.
Justice begets equity.

Faith begets conviction.
Hope begets expectation.
Love begets love in return.

My hope is in your creative endeavors. That each of the projects you pour your heart into will overflow with fertile creativity. A virtuous creativity that will propagate your artistic legacy as one of hope, love, and strong conviction — positive and long-lasting impressions meant to give life in a world driven towards destruction.

I had the honor of speaking to my former youth pastor’s church a couple weeks ago. I spoke about one of the main themes in Creative Theology, ekphrasis art. Ekphrasis art is, simply, art in response to art. Great art begs for a response. The same is true in our lives. God’s great work begs a response, and we are all responding with our lives. In the end, we will each have a body of work created from our highs, lows, and the our mundane actions. All life is a response to the giver of life. And like, as Pope John Paul II says about great art, well-lived lives make others nostalgic for God.

May we live lives that make others nostalgic for God.

You can listen to the sermon dated 11/25/12 on Cedar Rapids Family Church’s website here.

Advent Spending

Sam Mahlstadt —  December 6, 2012 — Leave a comment

Our family is going through a gorgeous Advent guide produced by our church. In this season, we’re trying to be much more intentional about how we spend.

How we spend our time, and how we spend our money.

My newsletter going out this week also talks about how we, the Church, need to communicate a deep joy and peace in this season of insane consumerism, which is reflected in how we spend. One way we do this is by resting in the hope found in Christ. Another is responding to the grace we’ve been giving by joining God in his redemptive work. After all, in Jesus, we are invited to get in on the renewal of all things.

One way we can do that is by offering freedom to those in slavery. To respond to God means that we cannot overlook or turn our heads to injustice happening in our backyards and around the world. This season, I am raising funds for the new organization, The Exodus Road. I am one of several bloggers who will be telling the stories of children rescued in SE Asia through their work, and I am excited to help expose the abhorrent injustice to those who care deeply for the things God cares deeply about. More to come on that…

A quick way for you to respond:

Will you take 5 minutes and check out my page dedicated to my fundraising efforts for The Exodus Road? There you can watch a short video

Will you respond generously with your finances to join me in literally saving children from slavery? My goal is to fund one entire raid, which costs $1,400. I am just crazy enough to think we can do it, but I’ll need your help. Join me in giving here.

Here’s the short version of my opinion (not that you asked for it…) of Cyber Monday, and Black Friday, and Small Businss Saturday and on and on and on.

They are all, I don’t care how they’re marketed, attempts to play on our greed and insecurity. I say this because it’s our desire to have the newest, shiniest, keeping-up-with-the-Jones’est thing that drives people to the mall on the very day we set aside to be thankful for what we have.

I didn’t want to play in the consumeristic sandbox, despite the fact that I have a product for sale.

I have been wrestling with it a bit, and here’s where I landed. I hope this is a genuinely generous response to the consumeristic tendency we fall in to this week and season.

Pay What You Can Cyber Monday eBook Event

Yes, that’s right. I am offering the eBook version of Creative Theology for whatever you can pay.

A few questions you may have…

Q: How many copies can I purchase

A: No limit. I certainly appreciate you not buying one copy and gifting it to 10 people.

Q: Is this just good for today?

A: Since a lot of subscribers won’t see this until tomorrow (Tuesday), I’ll honor this through Tuesday at midnight.

Q: Can I buy it as a gift?

A: I would love that! – see above comment about gifting one purchase to 10 people ;)

Q: Is the book awsome?

A: As they say on Reading Rainbow, you don’t have to take my word for it!

Q: How do I get in on this incredible deal?

A: Email me: smahlstadt at gmail dot com

Q: These questions seem to be leading the reader. Is that fair?

A: Probably not. Sorry about that.

In the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

I can’t unplug the phone. I can’t silence the Twitter bird. I long for the screen.

Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee!

I resist the silence. Anything but being present. Anything but depth.

Holy God! Holy Mighty! Holy Immortal! Have mercy on us.

No solitude. “Distract me!” I scream. I can’t bear me.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

I cannot rest. I’d rather not have peace. I forsake being still.

O most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us.

I stand alone. I stand in the whirling of many voices. I stand.

O Lord, cleanse us from our sins. O master, pardon our transgressions. O Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities, for Thy name’s sake.

I am not sick. I need no healer. I cannot still myself for examination.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.