Friday, August 14, 2009

Creative Confusion

It was my turn to lead discussion for class on Tuesday. The topic assigned to me was "creativity" and we had just finished reading several research papers on creativity and motivation. In earlier discussion of the research I had expressed my dismay at what was deemed creative behavior. The action of creativity had been divided up into small parts and students were assumed to be creative if they could write several different titles for stories. Their creativity was simply the generation of ideas. My interpretation: the students were simply taught an interesting game.

I began my discussion by talking about the action of riding a bike. In riding a bike the whole is more than the sum of the parts. If you teach a child to ride a bike by having him practice on a bike that is propped up on its kickstand, that child will not be learning what is necessary to actually ride. You have to learn to ride a bike by actually riding it. I believe the same is true of creativity. If you want to understand that amazing process, you have to watch it while it is happening. You cannot recreate it in a lab, and test it a small piece at a time. You will be looking at the parts, but not understanding the whole.

Apparently, many educational psychologists disagree with me. Oh, well.

This weekend a group of atheists and agnostics are having a conference on UNL's city campus. UNL has made it clear it is not sponsoring the group. A representative for Campus Crusade for Christ has announced they have no intention, or reason, to protest, and would hope this group would not protest their future gathering. Have you ever thought about what you would say to a group of non-believers? I am intrigued by how they like to divide faith in God, into teeny tiny parts that then can be discredited. This somehow brings them comfort, or perhaps a sense of control. In one sense they are correct; if you divide faith into small parts it is ridiculous and incredulous.

The problem is, this analysis does not bring understanding; it only creates confusion. God cannot be reduced to thought molecules that can be examined under an electron microscope. He is God. He is not parts; He is Alpha and Omega. Likewise, faith cannot be divided up and scrutinized, either. Faith comes from God. It is whole. It is living. It is efficacious. It is our personal part of God's love. It is beyond analysis.

Just as researchers are not learning about creativity by putting the behavior of "brainstorming" under the microscope, atheists are not learning about what faith really is by making lists of why it cannot be true. You must see faith in action, you must experience faith, you must be blessed by faith, and even then you do not understand it. But, in that action you become a precious child of God and that is enough.

God is not a God of confusion but of peace. I Corinthians 14:33

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. James 1:5

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3: 17-19

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