One of my favorite things right now is to read people’s responses to the concepts in my book. The concept that our response to art is truly a response to the artist probably resonates the most with those who have read the book. Evie Shaffer wrote a response to the book keying in on that concept and then used the beautiful picture below.

Further in the response, she moves to Ian Cron’s quote (from this post) that I have stolen and now use all the time.

heartbreaking in the best sense of the word

He’s a much smarter man than I, and if you haven’t read his stuff, please do so right away.

This past week, I was fortunate enough to present a lab at a youth conference here in Des Moines.

I was asked to speak about my book, as well as the self-publishing process. Here are a few of my notes from the sessions.

Our response to creation is a response to Him. We see this reflected in both what we create, as well as what we destruct.

The story doesn’t end on the East of the Garden. In Jesus, we are invited back in, and are called to join God in the renewal of all things.

We are all creating bodies of work with our lives.

With current technology, we can all create, edit, and critique work. This is a great opportunity, and one filled with traps.

You must know your unique story and identify connection points between your story and the stories of those around you. Focus on where your stories overlap.


It was an honor to share a few thoughts with a room full of teenagers who are working out what it means to follow Christ in their lives and respond to God’s great work in and around them. So much potential packed into an overflowing room for both sessions.

On a related note, if you would like to have me speak at your event, or to your team, I’m taking one or two more speaking engagements through the end of the year, and a few after the first of the year.

If you’re interested, check out the Speaking section on this page, and shoot me an email.

This past Sunday, our church played this video during the service. Absolutely beautiful. These types of moments point to Beauty, and are heartbreaking in the best sense of the phrase.

This is a guest post written by Darrell Vesterfelt. Darrell is a kindred spirit, and if you’ve read Creative Theology, you’ll hear a familiar concept in this post.  

Darrell is the CEO of the Prodigal Media Group, a storytelling firm based in Minneapolis where he lives with his wife Ally. Darrell is the original #unblogger. You can connect with him on Twitter or call him at (612) 802-5227. 

I wouldn’t have categorized myself as creative until about three years ago. I was the kid who was good at problem solving and I thought very linear. In school I was often grouped with the kids who were good at Math and Science, before those in the english and art classes.

And to be fair I was gifted in those subjects in school. I remember finishing a chemistry final in twelve minutes and setting the curve at 105%.

Similarly I was taking calculus as a junior in high school because I decided to take advanced algebra and geometry in one year as a sophomore.

Even in the midst of the validation I was receiving as a master analyzer I felt like I was missing a part of myself. I wanted so badly to be apart of groups of artist and writers who were creating things.

I wanted to be apart of those group so badly that, one semester in high school, I stole lyrics from a Matt Wertz song and submitted it as my own poetry (sorry Matt Wertz). I was longing desperately to be validated as a creative person.

And then it happened.

Someone told me that they thought I was a creative person. It was while I was eating chips and salsa at Mi Pueblo in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. I remember it so vividly. It felt refreshing, kind of like one of those old Sierra Mist commercials.

I think every human needs validation as a creator because we were made in the image of the Creator. To deprive someone of that validation is stealing from their identity.

And I think as Christians it is part of our calling to validate the creations of those around us.

We’re all creative, because we’re made in the image of the creator.

Don’t think you are creative? You are wrong. Trust me on this, I would know. If the nerdy math and science kid is, then you are as well.

We are all in the midst of creating our biggest master piece: Our own lives. Which is an incredibly beautiful work of art.

When you acknowledge your own creativity, you align yourself with image of the Creator, in whose likeness we were all made. And in the spirit of that image we are called to validate the creativity of those around us.

When you validate that creativity in others, you invite them to reflect their own unique image of the creator in the world around them. And that I believe is bringing the kingdom of God to earth as it is in heaven.

For Election Day…

Sam Mahlstadt —  November 6, 2012 — Leave a comment

I don’t get political here very often. I’m fairly apolitical, in that I believe Jesus to be the hope of the world, not a political party, and certainly not a political party in the Empire of our world.

I believe that being connected to the Creator refocuses our priorities and our hopes and our energies. I believe joining God in the renewal of the entire cosmos is the priority, and all else is secondary. I have a very hard time reconciling the message of Jesus with any political party I see in the countless marketing campaigns trying to scare me into voting for them.

Jesus spoke of peace even when persecuted (actually…especially when persecuted), redistribution of wealth, loving our enemies (personally and nationally), pursuing the outcast, placing others’ needs in front of our own, and pledging allegiance to the cross rather than a flag.

Jesus broke bread and wine, declared that He was Lord, and Caesar was not. These days, Caesars wear suits and red and blue ties and flag pins. Caesar is Caesar and Empire is Empire. May we be reminded today especially, that Jesus is Lord and Caesar is not. May we remember that our hope rests in the One making all things new.

As my friend Jonny said,

Don’t vote because God told you to. Don’t vote because you know which candidate is a closer approximation of how Jesus would lead. Just vote because of your opinion. Your flawed, imperfect, finite, human opinion. And then accept the results happily, however the chips may fall. Remember, this world is not your home, you’re just passing through. (read the full post here)

And this…from a post a couple of years ago that ended with me getting chastised a bit :)