In Defense of Creatives

There’s been a backlash to the use of the term “creative” as a title (e.g., “He’s a creative.”) It’s simply another way of saying that somebody is creative. Some of this backlash has come from people I truly admire. And I get their point. The reasoning goes something like this. God is creative. We see it in His creation, and that act of creativity is the first thing we see mentioned about God in the Bible. It’s right there in Genesis 1:1. “In the beginning God CREATED the heavens and the earth.” (NIV, emphasis mine.) Creativity is an attribute of God. As each of us is made in God’s image, each of us is also creative. Therefore calling somebody a creative denies the creativity built into everybody, and calling yourself a creative is arrogant.

Let’s back up. Yes, God is creative. This is a no brainer. If there ever was “a creative,” it’s God, and no creativity we can muster here on earth is going to compare. In fact, our creations are all derived from His creation. Yes, creativity is an attribute of God. So is patience. But is every one of us patient? That’s the question at hand. Patience is an attribute of God and we are made in His image. So are all of us patient?

Surely we all have the capacity for patience. And we all exercise it to some degree. But does the potential for patience and the occasional exercise of patience enough of a reason to call somebody patient? I would say no.

On the other hand we all know people who we would consider patient. They seem to have this attribute built into them, though they don’t show it at all times and fall far short of God’s standard. But we would call these people patient. They have made patience a part of their lives.

Life is a constant act of creativity. The whole process of human speech requires a creative combining of words and inflections. The planning and execution of your day makes use of all types of creativity you’re not even aware of. So yes, we all are creative. But we all know people who make creativity a priority in their life. It’s a conscious effort that gets exercised to the point that even their subconscious routines seem to take on a creative flair that sets them apart from the average person. And that’s not necessarily for the better.

And that’s where my analogy breaks down a bit. For patience is good. It’s listed as a fruit of the Spirit. Creativity is not in that list. Is creativity inherently good? And is non-creativity bad? Something tells we don’t have a universal answer for those questions.

I would submit that creativity done well is always a good thing. What do I mean by “creativity done well.” Good question. Exploring answers to that question is a main goal of this blog. Just keep in mind that creative does not mean different. We know people who always try to do things differently, often for the sake of being different. The end results are often described as obnoxious. But true creativity can be simple. It can be beautiful. It can be quiet. Sadly, it can also be self serving—but only God sees the heart. Creativity, like everything else, can be abused and used for self glorification.

The first “creative” I knew was my fifth grade teacher. Everything about him had a style of its own. It was a way of life for him. I never remember him being boastful about it. But he looked for creativity in others and he saw it in me, and encouraged it in me. He was a huge influence in my life.

Do I consider myself a creative? I admit that I do. Creativity is a conscious process I utilize in many areas of my life. I don’t hide that. It’s something I enjoy. It’s how I make a living. It’s also something I fail at—a lot. And way too often I exercise it to seek attention. I’m painfully aware of this. Pride rears its head in all aspects of our lives, especially through our strengths. But despite my shortcomings, my goal is to simply enjoy the process of creativity, learn from and share with those around me—all the while using these things to bring glory to God. How does one do that? Exploring answers to that question is the other main goal of this blog. Keep reading…

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