I recently attended the Festival of Faith & Music at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Famed painter Makato Fujimara was there to present at the initial keynote session and he did a fine job setting the stage for the weekend’s proceedings.
Within his message, mostly tuned in to the passage on ‘extravagance’ found in Mark 14 where Mary unloads the jar of perfume on Jesus, Makato gave this quote:
“Every act of creativity is directly or indirectly an intuitive response to the Creator.”
When I heard that, I wrote it down. There was an instinctive response that said what he was saying was true, that this was some quote that would be used for inspirational quote books or something other quick buck-making gift book. I’ve turned this phrase over in my head a few times since that fateful Friday night, wondering what that means for me.
I guess the key question is: does this acknowledgement change the way that I go about creating? Does believing that as I’m creating make a difference in how I choose to apply myself in that moment of creating? Is it just a phrase I’m intended to nod and affirm as a “hrmmm….” moment?
Or, does that create or affirm a level of artistic responsibility? In other words, to personalize it, as as a writer, should I be focused on writing more of God has put within me to write versus writing for a magazine’s deadline and making the paycheck? Of course, there’s a never-ending tension there, but I have to admit that I can’t even remember the last time I wrote what *I* wanted to write. Is that a slap in the face of a statement like this?
I guess these are things I’m wrestling with. I wonder what to make of this statement, but, even more importantly, the consequences of this. I’d love to hear some thoughtful responses on this.
Matt Conner is a freelance writer and music journalist. As the founding pastor of The Mercy House, he led a church community for more than six years in intense community development across racial and socio-economic lines. As a writer, he’s interviewed thousands of musicians for multiple print and web-based publications.