We’re going to talk about creativity tonight on our first Internet talk radio show with one of the most creative guys around, so I thought it would be good to get ready for the topic by sharing some of my own thoughts on the subject.
I don’t think creativity is as much about originality as it is about juxtaposition. It’s putting things together in different ways than we are used to seeing them, and in doing so, it leads us to discovering things we haven’t seen before.
In the gospel of Mark, Jesus healed a blind man of his blindness in two stages. Now as far as I know, Jesus never did anything for no reason, so I’ve always wondered about this passage.
He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”
He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”
Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. (Mark 8:23-25)
Why this is here, I don’t know. Jesus certainly could have healed him completely the first time. I doubt that this blindness was particularly hard to cure so it took two times to get rid of it. Did Jesus know this healing was going to come in two stages? Was He as surprised as we are about the fact that the first time didn’t quite do it? Were He and His Father not on the same page at that time? None of these answers seem to fit the one who has power over all things — who created us and gave us sight in the first place.
Perhaps Jesus is trying to tell us that our own healing sometimes will come in stages. I haven’t gotten the prophetic word on this, but I do sometimes wonder if Jesus might have been just a little bit pleased about that first stage. Whether it’s meant to be this or not, it’s certainly a creative way to see men as walking trees. Both Lewis and Tolkein have walking trees in their fantasy writing.
Creativity is a different kind of sight. It’s looking at things from another angle. A creative mind would be a pliable mind — one that is not set in only one way of looking at everything. Creative problem solving is the guy who thinks of letting the air out of the tires of the truck that’s stuck under a bridge. “Creative” people are ones who think sideways or diagonally when everyone else is thinking up and down.
Seeing people as trees walking is pretty cool. Kids understand things like that because their brains are still being formed. They’re not stuck in only one way of looking at things like we are. The grooves in our brains wear deep over time, but that doesn’t mean we can’t blaze some new pathways we haven’t done before. Drive home a different way just to do it. It might take longer. So what? You might notice something you’ve never noticed before.
Only God can create something out of nothing; that’s why we worship Him. But we can create something out of something. That’s what we’re all about. He gave us a mind with a world of things to work with. I think this might be part of what God had in mind when He created Adam and Eve and told them to “subdue the earth.” It’s like we are small “c” creators working with what the big “C” Creator gave us. Something out of something.
For more trees walking and something out of something, join us for our first episode of BlogTalkRadio tonight at 6 p.m. Pacific, 9 p.m. Eastern. And there’s no World Series game tonight either. We planned it that way.