To Create or Destroy?

Michelangelo once said that the best way to critique is to create. We’ve lost that. This guy painted the Sistine Chapel and has famed sculptures littering museums throughout the world. And yet we live in a world that continually critiques by destroying. We write blogs or tweets in order to bring people and their work down. If we don’t agree with what someone is saying, even if we don’t agree with what we think someone is saying, we immediately discredit them as not knowing anything and completely tearing them down. I think this happens in the church almost more than it does outside of it. And I’m just as guilty of it as anyone else.

As any high school science student can tell us, for every action, there is a reaction. This is how the world works. We push and we pull. We live and we die. And this is often descriptive of our approach to culture as well. We watch the news, absorb (sometimes reject) the information and then we react, sometimes quite strongly. Our knee-jerk reaction as a society is to react to anything we disagree with by destroying it. Anytime someone says something that we disagree with, or (and I’m quoting multiple people in various congregations I’ve been in) “starts talking like they’re crazy”, we stop paying any attention to them. Instead of engaging, we withdraw, destroy, and condemn. But what if there is another way forward? What if everyone vowed to change the way we critique one another?

Here are three reasons why we ought to critique by creating.

1. We live in the reality of a creating God. The very creator of the universe was brutally killed on a hill, yet instead of letting that be the last word, he created life out of death. God sets us on the path of creation by saying that he came not to condemn the world but to redeem it. Instead of reacting to the crucifixion by sending down lightning bolts and a whole new plague, God chose to create something entirely new: resurrection.

2. It changes the way we interact with everyone around us. Instead of trying to drive out hate with hate, and lowering yourself to the level of those who hate, create a better conversation. Acknowledge the disagreement but find ways to forge new ground of co-existence with one another.

3. It allows us a different and more life-giving way forward. It’s easy to pick a fight with strong-willed people who you disagree with, but it’s hard to argue with kindness. It’s difficult to disagree with love. The work of Christ is a continual creation, and we can create numerous opportunities to join in it.

So start creating! Tell a story. Write some music. Make a dinner for family and friends. Start finding those small cracks in your life where the light of creativity can shine through.

You won’t regret it.

Cheers,
Eric

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Comments

  1. Eric – Great post. I completely agree. One question I have, and this has been coming up again and again in the congregations I have been a part of, is how? What I mean is we have, as a culture and a church, lost our imaginations and visions of creation, at least on a micro scale. How do we create? How do we encourage others to create? What do you do when the invitation for creation is given and there are literally blank stares like deer in the headlights? Again great post, glad to have you back!

  2. Hey Craig — Thanks for the response. I think the “how” question is one that comes up. I wonder if it’s more of an individualized kind of a thing. For instance, I know a friend of mine had a kid in Sunday school who was always drawing. One Sunday, he asked him if he could draw a picture of an angel wrestling with a man on a hill. My friend was going to preach on Jacob’s wrestling and now had cover art for the bulletin. It’s certainly not a sweeping tale that brings instant creativity to the church as a whole, but I think if we can play the role of identifier and encourager, it may bring us quite a ways.

Please keep your comments positive. I reserve the right to delete rude or insulting comments. If your comment is critical, please make sure it is also constructive. Thank you.

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