Closer to Creation

James Finley —  September 7, 2010 — Leave a comment

A man and his father were sitting by the fire discussing the greatest love story ever told, one that hadn’t even come to pass yet. The artistry of this storyteller made the fire crackle in sorrow at the saddest points and at other moments roar at the hilarity and genius. At the end of the story, the father stood and said, “Let there be light,” and there was. With mere words, this declaration rolled across the heavens. The next day he spoke again, unfurling a great story, and the sky came to separate water from water. Each day seemingly simple declarations created the most complex things.

Near the end of the week, the artist stepped down and scooped up some mud in the palm of his hand. He delighted in it, his son standing beside him. From the mud, he formed a design of his likeness, to the wonder of all his prior work that roamed the ground, soared through the sky, and swam in the oceans and seas. He breathed into the mud and, with a stumble, it gazed back at him.

Each of the creatures that were created that week were brought to the man of mud, and to each a name was given. The imagination of the father’s greatest creation was impressive by far, from lion to tiger to bear, this man of mud named them all.

And yet, there was one more thing to be done. The man of mud could not be lonely, so as the man slept in the afternoon sun, the father took a rib from the man’s side and formed another, though different, to complete him. When the man awoke, in awe, he called his new friend “woman.”

Finally, the father sat back with his son by the fire and rested. All that they had created was good. Not a single blemish, not a single bad thing. And this was just the beginning of a great romance.

You see, for me, I look around at Creation around us and realize that all of it couldn’t exist without passion, love, and hope. The father knew the story before the first declaration exploded across the cosmos. He knew all the bad that would come, knew the sacrifices that would need to be made. Yet, despite the betrayal of this man of mud, he pushed through with passion. You see, the father knew the end too, knew that his son would pursue a bride of his creation to the ends of the earth, and that the great romance would not be in vain.

I look around and see all the imagination, all the problem solving, all the logic and all the code that was written by the father. In awe, I ponder the instantaneous reaction of my leg going before me to catch me as a walk forward. This great problem solver, the first programmer, not only created, but also gave this man of mud the imagination to also create. He didn’t want us to simply exist as the beasts, running on routines and subroutines; he wanted us to go beyond our initial programming.

My inspiration as I sit behind my computer day after day is this. Despite the pain of misplaced semicolons, the torture of infinite logic loops, and the sorrow of single character mishaps, the outcome is greater. It has meaning. I feel closer to creation when I create, when I make things that didn’t exist before. It is of great joy that I am doing this to help people find their way back to God. I create so that others may know my creator.

21st Century Sabbath

Sam Mahlstadt —  September 4, 2010 — Leave a comment

Just enjoyed a nice break at the lake. A nice place for a sabbatical, if you ask me.

Do you have a system for scheduling regular respite for your soul?

If so, where do you go / what do you do?

Art is driven by story. Whoever actually understands the story – captures the essence of the human story – that person, there’s just space for them.

From the Catalyst podcast. The entire interview is inspiring. Artist/minister gold.

I was given what I consider to be a huge compliment the other day. My friend made the comment, “That’s why I like you, you’re a man of action.”
Of course, I don’t consider myself a hyper-productive person, but this past year has been an interesting season for me, and has me categorizing ideas in two ways:

Take action


Don’t take action

It’s quite simple, really. And, to be honest, the Action Method has really helped me put words to this simple to describe, difficult to produce, ideology.

When you get to the place where ideas all go through the is the actionable? Now? filter, what you act on becomes easier to determine. You waste less time chasing ideas, and get more things done.

But the power of the compliment is that while I may have been evolving into a man of action, I now see it as a part of my identity. I’ll claim it, and I’ll run with it. It’s empowering to hear that my intentionality is recognizable.

Maybe you should compliment someone’s hard work today, and see how the trajectory of their work is impacted.

If You Had a Storefront

Sam Mahlstadt —  August 29, 2010 — 6 Comments

I am ripping this question off from Carlos Whittaker, because when it comes to creatively embracing our faith expressions, well…he’s the man. He asked this question a while back, and it’s stuck with me, because it reveals so much about our personal tastes, our collective aspirations and, of course, our sense of design and style.

So, the question is, what would you do if your craft/dream/organization/etc. had a storefront?