Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Artist's Way

I've started working through Julia Cameron's book, The Artist's Way. I'm finding it to be intriguing with ideas worth sharing. As a Christian I'm intrigued at how creativity and spirituality are linked. This dovetails with a study I did long ago about gifts that God gave his people when they were building the tabernacle. From Exodus 35:35: "The Lord has given them special skills as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple, and scarlet thread on fine linen cloth, and weavers. They excel as craftsmen and as designers. " While this scripture is referring to the builders of God's Tabernacle, I have to believe that God gave us our creative abilities and that he wants us to use them to His glory.

The Bible tells us that we are made in the image of God. Genesis 1:26 "Then God said, Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us." God is the creator of the universe. If we are truly like him, then we have been given the desire to create beautiful and useful things.

As I work through this book over the next few weeks, I'll be sharing things I am finding useful.

From The Artist's Way: Basic Principles:

1. Creativity is the natural order of life. Life is energy: pure creative energy.

2. There is an underlying, in-dwelling creative force infusing all of life - including ourselves.

3. When we open ourselves to our creativity, we open ourselves to the creator's creativity within us and our lives.

4. We are, ourselves, creations. And we, in turn, are meant to continue creativity by being creative ourselves.

5. Creativity is God's gift to us. Using our creativity is our gift back to God.

6. The refusal to be creative is self-will and is counter to our true nature.

7. When we open ourselves to exploring our creativity, we open ourselves to God; good orderly direction.

8. As we open our creative channel to the creator, many gentle but powerful changes are to be expected.

9. It is safe to open ourselves up to greater and greater creativity.

10. Our creative dreams and yearnings come from a divine source. As we move toward our dreams, we move toward our divinity.


Anonymous said...

I look forward to your comments & thots on the Artist's Way...I have been facilitating small groups using the book and have found that it has deeply affected my world view as an artist & a Christian.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mary Ann,

I am pleased to see that you are trying to understand the connection between your creativity and your relationship with your GOD.

That said, please be careful about the subtle but dangerous new age ideas in the book.

In reading the basic principles of the book you outlined, I see traces of Pantheism (God is in everything - all of nature or all is GOD.
I also see eastern (non-christian) ideas about energy and divinity inconsistent with the bible.

For instance, one principle states that we can "move toward" our divinity. We have no divinity in of ourselves to move toward by any means. Our only link to divinity is the bridge (the way) that is JESUS - not art, not creativity.

There is no force permeating all of creation, except for the breath of life and the life in the blood (oxygen).

Which is a gift from GOD. This life has no "creative ability" or ability to create; creativity resides in the creator, GOD himself.

To attribute creativity to "a force" is to suggest that the force is personal. And if the force is in everything including us, then surely this has a pantheistic element which must be rejected.

Some of the ideas for sure are applicable to Christian thought but we ought not to overlook the subtle but important differences.

We must be careful to guard our hearts. I am a Christian and Graphic Designer (10 years), painter, poet and songwriter so much like you I want to know more about how I can glorify my GOD by being creative.

Let us be careful to do so without losing ground in our progress to towards maturity in our faith.