Updated: May 8, 2021
There was a time when my paints remained unused. When my camera was shoved in a closet for months on end. When my sewing supplies & collage materials were forgotten in the basement. Basically anything artistic was viewed as inferior to more “enlightened” & “worthwhile” activities that directly related to discipleship, evangelism, or missions.
How wrong I was. And (dare I say it?) how misled many of us in a “well intentioned” evangelical Christian community were. But isn’t that how is often happens? Our intentions are good, but misguided, misinformed or taken to an extreme.
I still see it today: an overemphasis on the “left-brain,” logical, knowledge-based ministries & activities in the church. The belief that knowing the right things about God are more highly valued than experiencing him.
Experiencing God requires the use of our right brains, the part of us that is relational, intuitive, emotional, and expressive.
Knowing the right things does not bring soul transformation. Experiencing them is what enables us to change and grow.
It took awhile for my mindset to shift. I am still a work in process. It helped to be around other people who understood the value of the arts in the spiritual life. Who understood that encountering God & truth & grace is more than memorizing the right verses, or preaching the right principles.
The people who helped me understand the value of the arts in a worship setting were the “creative ones.” The ones who wrote poetry, directed plays, danced in worship, painted profound scenes of beauty, and created wonder-filled experiences that allowed truth & grace to be FELT with the heart.
Now I take time to connect with God through creativity.
The more I have become open to right-brain experiences, and created space for even small acts of expression, the more I have experienced God in a relational, transformative way.
When I am feeling closed off to God’s love, mercy, tenderness, and compassion, it is usually because I have not connected with him through creative means.
We need both halves of our brain to live the abundant spiritual life. The key to a “whole-brained” spiritual journey is to be open to both.