Creativity: Can we lose it?
A Christian Science perspective.
Creativity has been declining in America since 1990, a Newsweek study reported. The findings are based on a 1958 creativity test designed by E. Paul Torrance, which is still being taken by millions worldwide in 50 languages. If we are to see creative solutions to conflict and instability at home and abroad, this trend must be challenged and reversed. And through prayer, it can be.
In praying about the need for creative solutions to today’s problems, I’ve asked myself if I doze off mentally and spiritually before the discouraging and frustrating screen of my own or another’s problems when answers don’t come immediately. My experience has shown me that praying to the one all-powerful creator, God, opens the way for receiving creative solutions in every area of life, which can break through as prayer shows us that progressive good is natural for all humanity. Fearless prayer faces down skepticism and dulled thinking that hypnotically keep individuals and nations trapped in routine and repetition.
Lack of creativity can’t possibly be the outcome of God, the one divine creator, whose creation includes inexhaustible and ever-appearing good in the form of fresh and useful ideas that are always available for every man, woman, and child. And because each one of us is the offspring, the image and likeness of God, divine Mind, we have continuous access to these ideas. As we pray to understand our real spiritual source, it becomes evident that God’s ideas are as limitless as their creator. They can never run out or run down.
Viewpoints in education, politics, business, and religion that are frozen in self-righteousness and prejudice melt in the divine Love that is Mind. Such attitudes are without foundation and therefore powerless to block or stop creative solutions to the world’s problems. Even hatred that has been tenaciously held to and justified can be defused instantly – and creatively – by an open and forgiving response inspired by God.
When shocked by unjust attitudes and worn-out paradigms – or feeling controlled by our own – we can remain calm. Love is available every moment to uplift motives and desires. Love also silences self-seeking and self-promoting interests that close the door on fresh approaches to collaboration and peace.
Christ Jesus was awake to the spiritual fact of God’s ability to pour forth His infinite flow of good ideas. In the Bible, Jesus says of himself in the Gospel of John, “My Father is still at work and therefore I work as well” and “The Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does the Son does the same” (5:17, 19, J.B. Phillips translation). What a helpful and practical definition of creativity! Jesus’ unique ministry always resulted in the best – healing sickness and sin and uplifting individuals to understand more about their inseparable relationship with God. And Jesus’ example is for everyone to follow. We, too, can continually be awake to divine Love’s infinite ways of meeting human needs.
One example of Jesus’ unique approach to healing and teaching involved an incident where scribes and Pharisees brought to him a woman caught breaking the law by committing adultery (see John 8:2-11). Looking for a way to accuse him, they said that Moses wrote in the law that such people should be stoned. He finally answered, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” It was not the answer they expected, but it was one that penetrated their hardened hearts and self-serving motives. I can only imagine what each of the scribes and Pharisees were thinking as they left one by one while the woman stood there uncondemned. To me the creativity in this account involved turning human thinking on its head. Jesus’ answer, which came from an entirely different perspective of his deep unity with God and His goodness, defused the conflict and saved everyone from the cruelty and inhumanity that were waiting to erupt.
Mary Baker Eddy, the author of “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” – and a must-read for all spiritual seekers – elucidates Jesus’ ministry throughout her book. In one place, she wrote: “Physical causation was put aside from first to last by this original man, Jesus. He knew that the divine Principle, Love, creates and governs all that is real” (p. 286). Jesus taught that forsaking all causation that doesn’t come from God, our divine origin, makes us truly useful to those whose lives we touch. It opens the way for original solutions to appear.
Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
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