Traits of creative folk

Are you creative?  Or maybe just think you are?  Or wish you were?  I’ve always been fascinated by the whole concept of creativity.  It is clearly closely aligned with problem solving — starting of course with the problem and then navigating one’s way into an at least partially intellectual and partly inspirational process to reach a solution.  To me the creativity is that distance between a present state and the desired condition.  If the path from the present to the goal were known then there wouldn’t be a problem an therefore no need for creativity.  But then, of course, creativity entails more than just a problem to be overcome.  E.g., when you have a blank page and would like to fill it with something the essence of which is as yet but vaporous urges and yearnings.  I suppose that what most intrigues me about creativity is that the quality is a major element of God’s character or one of His attributes.  ‘Cause right from the beginning He was in the creating business.  And I can only suppose that the feeling I have when I solve a problem by some clever maneuver or flash of insight is akin to the feeling that God had when He created the heavens and the earth and all that exists and said that it was good. Be all that as it may, here is a neat article describing the unique characteristics the author has observed in creative people. The article by Carolyn Gregoire, a features writer for the Huffington Post, appeared HERE.  RMF

18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently

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 Carolyn Gregoire

Creativity works in mysterious and often paradoxical ways. Creative thinking is a stable, defining characteristic in some personalities, but it may also change based on situation and context. Inspiration and ideas often arise seemingly out of nowhere and then fail to show up when we most need them, and creative thinking requires complex cognition yet is completely distinct from the thinking process.

Neuroscience paints a complicated picture of creativity. As scientists now understand it, creativity is far more complex than the right-left brain distinction would have us think (the theory being that left brain = rational and analytical, right brain = creative and emotional). In fact, creativity is thought to involve a number of cognitive processes, neural pathways and emotions, and we still don’t have the full picture of how the imaginative mind works.

And psychologically speaking, creative personality types are difficult to pin down, largely because they’re complex, paradoxical and tend to avoid habit or routine. And it’s not just a stereotype of the “tortured artist” — artists really may be more complicated people. Research has suggested that creativity involves the coming together of a multitude of traits, behaviors and social influences in a single person.

“It’s actually hard for creative people to know themselves because the creative self is more complex than the non-creative self,” Scott Barry Kaufman, a psychologist at New York University who has spent years researching creativity, told The Huffington Post. “The things that stand out the most are the paradoxes of the creative self … Imaginative people have messier minds.”

While there’s no “typical” creative type, there are some tell-tale characteristics and behaviors of highly creative people. Here are 18 things they do differently.
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Gerson’s take on two current “biblical” movies

Here Michael Gerson comments on Noah and God’s Not Dead, a couple of current “religious” movies.  People can come to different conclusions regarding such movies and art in general (duh!) and I believe it is worthwhile to listen to folks who seem to have their acts together describe their views.  Michael Gerson, a writer I respect, is such a person.  Full disclosure – I haven’t seen Noah so far but intend to.  I have not and don’t intend to see God’s Not Dead.  Having seen interviews of Darren Aronofsky, Noah’s director, and Russell Crowe, and having read other reviews of it, I’m inclined to believe Noah is probably a bit better than portrayed by Gerson.  Now, the fact is that what I think will have nothing to do with what you think about these particular religious movies or movies in general.  But Gerson does us a service by comparing these movies with others with a religious theme and articulating the rational for his preferences.  Anyway, here is what Gerson allows.  HERE is a link to Mr. Gerson’s article as it appeared in the Washington Post on 4/1/14.  RMF

‘Noah’ and ‘God’s Not Dead’: Graceless and clueless

Michael Gerson

Michael Gerson

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Part of this year’s Lenten discipline for many religious people has been to see two bad religious movies, “Noah” and “God’s Not Dead.” Both left me longing for the comparative moral simplicity and integrity of “The Wolf of Wall Street.”In “Noah,” the main character is a brooding, misanthropic vegan. One hopes that Russell Crowe, a fine actor, does not end up being typecast a la Charlton Heston. There just aren’t many parts for brooding, misanthropic vegans. The movie itself consists of tedium punctuated by anachronism, sanctimony and animated rock people. It contains just enough spiritual pretention to make you wonder afterward if you have missed something important. You haven’t. The movie’s guiding philosophy — civilization bad, nature good — is as complex as the one in Disney’s “Pocahontas.” With worse music and more cannibalism.

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World Vision does About-Face

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This is simply to bring things up to date regarding World Vision.  They have now reversed their position on employing same-sex married folks.  There will be tons of folks unhappy either way but WV has taken the more conservative approach.  RMF

Here is the link to an article describing the reversal.

 

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Be Careful Little Mouth What You Say….

The following article is by one of my fave authors, James Watkins.  It appeared in Insight Edition for Prayer, the newsletter of the Presidential Prayer Team. Mr. Watkins has a gift of being able to present truth in an entertaining, interesting, and winsome manner and this article is a great example of that gift.  RMF

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Jesting With The Lord’s Name

ViewpointPraying for late-night comics

By James N. Watkins

Talk show host Bill Maher recently called God a “psychotic mass murderer” for initiating the Great Flood. It’s not the first time Maher has mocked God. Some of his classic lines include, “I think religion is a neurological disorder,” “The Bible looks like it started out as a game of Mad Libs,” and “Let’s face it; God has a big ego problem. Why do we always have to worship him?”

In 2008, Maher took all his atheistic anger and channeled it into a feature-length mock-umentary, Religulous. He concluded the film by saying, “The irony of religion is that because of its power to divert man to destructive courses, the world could actually come to an end. The plain fact is, religion must die for mankind to live.”

Maher, of course, is not alone in taunting God. There’s atheist Richard Dawkins, the late Madalyn Murray O’Hair and Carl Sagan, as well as the fictional Sheldon Cooper on TV’s hit show “The Big Bang Theory.” Continue reading

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World Vision Gone Worldly?

World Vision gone worldly?  It won’t take you long in reading the following article by Kevin DeYoung to figure out his opinion.  I’ve been a supporter of World Vision and sponsor a World Vision child in Chad.  Now I need to decide if the policy/doctrinal decision by that organization with respect to homosexual behavior will or should change or impact my contributions to them.  I’m convinced that the work they do to aid those in need of support is quality support and that their influence on behalf of Christ and His church has been significant.  Anyway, you can imagine how fractious and divisive the whole issue is.  And, I’m sure that there are sincere Christians lining up on both sides of the issue and both sides will have powerful arguments to buttress their stances.  There are surely those who will never again support World Vision because of their position on the issue.  And, there are surely those who will want to know why it has taken so long for World Vision to act as they have.  But, there is truth and all followers of Jesus are called upon to follow His teaching and to love with His heart.  That is what I’m wanting to do.  How about you?  This Kevin DeYoung article appeared in The Gospel Coalition Blog.  RMF

The Worldliness in World Vision’s New Hiring Policy

by Kevin DeYoung

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World Vision, one of America’s largest Christian charities, is now open to hiring gays and lesbians. In yesterday’s surprise announcement, first reported by Christianity Today in an exclusive interview with World Vision U.S. president Richard Stearns, the Christian humanitarian organization explained that it will no longer prohibit its more than 1,100 American employees from homosexual activity, provided same-sex intercourse happens in the context of a legal marriage (as is sanctioned by the state of Washington where World Vision is headquartered).

According to Stearns, the move amounts to nothing more than a “very narrow policy change” which was not motivated by any outside pressure, only a desire to foster Christian unity. For Stearns and World Vision, the issue of homosexuality is something good Christians disagree on, just like they disagree on whether to dunk or sprinkle in baptism. “I think you have to be neutral on hundreds of doctrinal issues that could divide an organization like World Vision,” Stearns explained.

“Denominations disagree on many, many things: on divorce and remarriage, modes of baptism, women in leadership roles in the church, beliefs on evolution, etc.,” he said. “So our practice has always been to defer to the authority and autonomy of local churches and denominational bodies on matters of doctrine that go beyond the Apostles’ Creed and our statement of faith. We unite around our [Trinitarian beliefs], and we have always deferred to the local church on these other matters.”

The reason the prohibition existed in the first place? “It’s kind of a historical issue,” said Stearns. “Same-sex marriage has only been a huge issue in the church in the last decade or so. There used to be much more unity among churches on this issue, and that’s changed.”

And the change has been painful to watch. “It’s been heartbreaking to watch this issue rip through the church,” he said. “It’s tearing churches apart, tearing denominations apart, tearing Christian colleges apart, and even tearing families apart. Our board felt we cannot jump into the fight on one side or another on this issue. We’ve got to focus on our mission. We are determined to find unity in our diversity.”

The about face in World Vision’s hiring policy deserves comment both because their reasons for the switch will become terribly common and because the reasons themselves are so terrifically thin. Serving in a mainline denomination I’ve heard all the assurances and euphemisms before: “We still affirm traditional marriage. We aren’t taking sides. This is only a narrow change. We are trying to find common ground. This is about unity. It’s all about staying on mission.” But of course, there is nothing neutral about the policy at all. The new policy makes no sense if World Vision thinks homosexual behavior is a sin, which is, after all, how it views fornication and adultery. There are no allowances for their employees to solemnize other transgressions of the law of God.

To be sure, like many evangelical parachurch organizations, World Vision allows for diversity in millennial views, sacramental views, soteriological views, and any numbers of doctrinal issues which distinguish denomination from denomination. Stearns would have us believe that homosexuality is just another one of these issues, no different from determining whether the water in baptism can be measured by liters or milliliters. But the analogy does not work. Unlike the differences concerning the mode of baptism, there is no long historical record of the church debating whether men can marry men. In fact, there is no record of the church debating anything of the sort until the last forty or fifty years. And more to the point, there is nothing in the Bible to suggest that getting the mode of baptism wrong puts your eternal soul in jeopardy, when there are plenty of verses to suggest that living in unrepentant sexual sin will do just that (Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Jude 5-7).

We are entering the days and the decade of a great shifting and sifting of evangelicalism. The capitulation will not happen all at once. The camel of compromise will poke its nose into the tent little by little. We will hear about the unity of the church, as if Christ in John 17 were interested in a unity indifferent to the truth (John 17:17). We will hear about the reputation of the church, as if Christ promised that everyone would love us as long as we meant well (John 15:18-19). We will hear urgent pleas to stay on mission and not be distracted by controversy, as if Christ’s gospel of the kingdom had little to do with actually repenting and believing in the gospel (Mark 1:15). We will hear—in a hundred ways from a thousand voices in a million devilish disguises—the siren song that beckons the church to change or die, as if we could rescue Christianity by saving it from itself.

The issues surrounding World Vision’s new hiring policy will be debated and dissected for the next days and weeks. There is much we could comment on. We could talk about the assertion that World Vision is only an operational arm of the church and doesn’t try to make theological judgments (when their statement of Core Values already draws a number of doctrinal boundaries). We could talk about the folly in surrendering an issue every time Christian thinking is not uniform (when, in fact, every major doctrine is disputed). We could talk about the urgent pleas which are sure to come that we should not put our theological niceties above serving the poor (when there is no reason to think the pool of evangelical Christians wanting to do social justice work is so shallow that World Vision had to broaden their hiring policy). Like I said, there is plenty that can and will be said.

But the overriding issue is this: World Vision has decided that to be a practicing homosexual and a practicing Christian is no contradiction in terms. Despite the claims of neutrality, Richard Stearns and World Vision are not neutral. They believe what the Bible calls an abomination is not a big deal, not a serious issue like adultery, not a life threatening concern like malnutrition, not something that the Bible addresses clearly or warns against urgently. Before we get embroiled in a throw down about whether Jesus would love to take coffee breaks with World Vision employees, before we allow the issue to be reframed as “Jesus was nice; the Pharisees were mean; you are mean and not nice; so you are a Pharisee and not like Jesus,” before we accept that calling someone a bigot is the same as making an argument, before we write off every opponent of this policy as a Calvinist fundie inhabiting a hermetically sealed little house on a Christian prairie somewhere in flyover country, let us establish if the following is true:

Jesus Christ is coming again to judge the living and the dead (Acts 17:31; Rev. 19:11-21). Those who repent of their sins and believe in Christ (Mark 1:15; Acts 2:38; 17:30) and those who overcome (Rev. 21:7) will live forever in eternal bliss with God in his holy heaven (Rev. 21:1-27) through the atoning work of Christ on the cross (Mark 10:45; Rom. 5:1-21; Cor. 5:21). Those who are not born again (John 3:5), do not believe in Christ (John 3:18), and continue to make practice of sinning (1 John 3:4-10) will face eternal punishment and the just wrath of God in hell (John 3:36; 5:29). Among those who will face the second death in the lake that burns with fire are the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, the murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars (Rev. 21:8), and among the sins included in the category of sexual immorality is unrepentant sexual intercourse between persons of the same sex (Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Jude 5-7).

I realize a paragraph like this has become highly controversial, even offensive, perhaps someday criminal. But the question for the Christian is whether the Bible teaches it. If the Bible does not teach these things, or if we no longer have the courage to believe them, let us say so openly and make the case why the whole history of the Christian church has been so wrong for so long. But if the Bible does teach the paragraph above, how can we be casual about such a serious matter or think that Jesus would be so indifferent to the celebration of the same?

The good news of the gospel is that the sin of exchanging natural relations for those that are contrary to nature, like every other sin, can be forgiven, and that homosexual offenders, like every other kind of sinner, of which I am profoundly one, can receive grace, mercy, and peace in the name of Jesus Christ and be justified, sanctified and glorified by the power of God. To treat these straightforward truths as beyond the ability of confident hermeneutical inquiry or altogether as a thing indifferent is not to unify Christians in the gospel but to sacrifice the gospel for a togetherness that will not hold and a shortsighted vision that is sure to fail.

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Noah – To see or not to see the Hollywood spectacular

Here is an opinion I greatly value. RMF

Why I’ll see Noah

by Pat Furgerson

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I’ve heard a lot of buzz about the new movie Noah. In case you haven’t, it’s a much anticipated Hollywood take on the biblical account of Noah as recorded in Genesis 6 and following.

Many Christians have responded about how there are inaccuracies in the movie and we should  boycott it and boycott it vocally. I don’t agree. Boycotts more often tend to make us sound judgmental and close minded. As if people don’t already think that about Christians. While I’m not in favor of embracing things that dis-honor God, I do think we need to look to see if and how we can redeem things we disagree with rather than simply boycotting them. Continue reading

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Continuationist or Cessationist — Two Views

I have my views and you likely have yours.  What do you believe and how do you support your position?  Here you have a couple of very well considered position papers supporting firmly and honestly held beliefs about the way God is operating in His Kingdom today.  Both writers clearly love the Lord and wish to serve Him faithfully.  The views were expressed on The Gospel Coalition website and you can get to the original postings at: HERE (the Continuationist view by Sam Storms)  and HERE (the Cessationist view by Thomas Schreiner).  RMF

Why I Am a Continuationist by Sam Storms

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So, why am I a continuationist? My reasons follow. (Please note that I’ve written several articles that provide more extensive evidence for the points I make, but space limitations permit me only to mention them by name. All of them are found at my website.)

Let me begin with the consistent, indeed pervasive, and altogether positive presence throughout the New Testament (NT) of all spiritual gifts. The problems that emerged in the church at Corinth were not due to spiritual gifts, but to immature people. It wasn’t the gifts of God but the childish, ambitious, and prideful distortion of gifts on the part of some that accounts for Paul’s corrective comments. Continue reading

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