It’s me, Creativity. Listen, I got your text message last week. I also heard from Social Media that you really wanted to talk to me. And according to Statistics, you need me. I’d like to see you again, but honestly, I’m torn about whether or not I want to work with you again.
Now, I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t miss you sometimes. You’re sort of like Tom Cruise–completely nuts, yet intriguing enough to still want to watch you on Oprah.
Now, regarding your text message, of course I remember the good times working together.
We had lots of fun back then. I remember fondly the day I hooked you up with Michelangelo. Gosh, you absolutely loved what Mitch dabbed on the ceiling of The Sistine Chapel. And you just about walked on water when you saw his painting of The Last Judgment. Sure, we had a mishap or two. Yes, David’s penis should have been circumcised; still, that sculpture is one of the most magnificent erections the world has ever seen.
Oh, and your God loved what I was able to whip up through Bach, Mozart, and Handel. But honestly, back then, finding good musical talent among God’s people was easy, like looking for homely Jehovah’s Witnesses. Still, I helped you discover the cream of God’s musical crop.
And then there was Rembrandt who often made you look brilliant. And of course, Da Vinci! He was a pain in the ass to work with, but when we were able to get him to stop wasting his time on science, the art was usually well worth the wait.
Heck, Christianity, in our heyday, you and I were unstoppable. People called us the Abraham and Sarah of the Modern Times! Yes, you were angrier back then. And I didn’t like the fact that you killed people. But ironically, you were much easier to work with. Fighting wars, governing nations, and roasting heathens over an open fire kept you preoccupied and out of my hair. And back then, I knew what you wanted from me. Even though I didn’t always agree with your politics and theologies, and yes, you were sexist and racist and utterly hypocritical, but I did what you asked me to do: I looked for new ways to tell the stories of God. And I did it well.
Let’s face it; the art I helped you create is pretty much one of the very few redeeming qualities of your reign across Europe. And much of it is still appreciated today.
But then the Puritans happened. And while they loved you, they also wanted Freedom. And as much as you promote Freedom, let’s be honest, you don’t like her all that much. Surprisingly, Freedom has done wonders for me. She’s pretty, talented, mostly fantastic, really. And flexible, which is very hot. I think she might have a drug problem, but she doesn’t interfere with my work, so I love her. But it seems that, ever since Freedom and I became friends, my relationship with you has been a bumpy mess. You basically walked out on me during the late 19th century. Do you remember why?! Because I wouldn’t help you sell your “rapture” idea. I don’t create sensationalized fear, Christianity-well, I don’t unless it’s a horror flick or science fiction or something produced by JJ Abrams. Besides, we’d already spent centuries–long, dark, and ugly ones–promoting your whole “God/fear” thing. I’m over it, and so is everybody else.
At best, our relationship has been bumpy since the late 1950s. And we’ve gone our separate ways a few times. You spent years revitalizing fundamentalism. And I spent time in London discovering the Beatles. Both of us have made our mistakes: You started whoring around with the Republican Party and you told Michael W. Smith he could sing. But to be fair, I made the mistake of loving heroin and thinking that Elizabeth Shue had talent.
Now, that’s not to say we haven’t experienced a couple moments of Pentecostal glory. We wrote a few decent songs together. Switchfoot was fun. But I take no responsibility for Chris Tomlin. And I’ve enjoyed working on a few books with you. In my mind, Joel Osteen is one of the best fiction writers out there. If only he knew it!
But if the rumors are true, that you are indeed interested in working with me again, I’m interested. But I must be blunt, things will need to be different. So before you write back, please consider the following list of ideals.
1) Building a healthy and productive relationship with me begins with this: Give me a good story to tell, preferably a true one, and one that doesn’t conclude with a sales pitch. I’m not Capitalism; I don’t do sales, at least, not the kind that come with eternal damnation. I tell stories. I present truth. I entertain.
2) If you want me to be brilliant and imaginative and to do it on a ministry budget, then trust me. Give me the freedom to tell the stories that you want told. I don’t work well when I’m stressed, paranoid, and fear-filled.
3) When the morality police come to you and complain about my work, I expect you to grow a pair and support me once in a while. I will not create my best work if you continually fall prey to the one person who throws a fit about what I do. No, I don’t want you to cut off their heads. I want you to stop letting them cut off mine.
4) I don’t do Amish fiction, bald eagles, or Michelle Bachmann.
5) The truth is sometimes ugly. When you leave out the ugly parts of a story, it ceases to be the truth. Let me tell the truth.
6) Most importantly, you must learn to say no to Kirk Cameron.
Here’s the thing, Christianity: Putting roadblocks up in front of me doesn’t simply prevent me from being my best at presenting you, it actually leaves me empty. Offering me guidelines and hints and direction is fine, but mandating how I tell a story or paint a picture has never been your gift and it only stifles mine.
Look forward to hearing back,
This is the response from Creativity's forgotten lover:
You seem to have amnesia…that was no one night stand we had together! We went together for nearly 1500 YEARS! Have you forgotten us?!!!??? We know that modernism and nominalism split right brain from left, head from heart, faith from reason, earth from heaven, fact from value, and all other sorts of nasty either/ors. But we never were part of that scene. Please, please, don’t ignore us. We loved you, and we continue to love you. Let us together inspire Christianity once again.
Hagia Sophia,Sant’Appolinare Nuovo, San Vitale, the Byzantine mosaics and icons, the Romanesque Cathedrals, the Gothic cathedrals, innumerable illuminated manuscripts, Utrecht Psalter, the Dagulf Psalter, Gregorian Chant, Stained Glass artists of Chartres,etc., Dante, Cimabue, Duccio, Giotto, the Wilton Diptych,The Limbourg brothers, Gillaume de Machaut, Francesco Landini (and other Christian artists of late antiquity and the Middle Ages)