Christians ought to be leading the way in creativity, but we rarely do.
God is the Creator of all things, and He created us in His image. Creativity is woven into the very fabric of our humanity. Therefore, Christians should value and champion creativity as a vital part of our image-bearing role. Instead Christians often don’t know what to do with creatives and creatives don’t know what to do with Christianity. On one side you have Christians who neglect or discount art, imagination, and beauty altogether. On the other, you have artists who make idols out of each of these good things.
Ryan Lister, a theology professor, and Thomas Terry, a spoken word artist and founder of Humble Beast, team up to help restore the connection between creativity and theology. Images & Idols is a theological and artistic exploration of creativity in the Christian life. It will help creatives build a strong theological foundation for their art, while challenging the church to embrace a theology of beauty and creativity.
About the Author
THOMAS J. TERRY is the founder and executive director of Humble Beast, a record label and ministry in Portland, Oregon. As a spoken word artist and a member of Beautiful Eulogy, he seeks to bring creativity and theology together to glorify the Lord who created them both. Thomas lives with his wife, Heather, and two boys, Tobin and Kuyper, and serves as the Executive Pastor at Trinity Church of Portland.
RYAN LISTER is a professor of theology at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon. He is the author of The Presence of God: Its Place in the Story of Scripture and the Story of Our Lives and serves as Director of Doctrine & Discipleship for Humble Beast, where he helped start the Canvas Conference. He lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife, Chase, and their four children.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is absolutely amazing. The authors were able to clearly articulate the awesome, creative God we have and how He has endowed us with a creative spirit, to be creative for Him and His people, His world. The following are some quotations that I considered salient: "God not only demonstrates His creativity in creation but also uses His creation to form the images by which we understand Him as Creator" (28). Deep. "We begin to plan in light of His plans and create in light of His architectural genius. We become junior partners in His architectural firm and help build the kingdom of God through the creativity He has given us" (31). He works in us and through us. Yes. "Sure, we can be creative outside of Christianity, without recognizing the origin of our creativity, but our work can’t help but fall short of its full (and eternal) potential and purpose when we do. God made everything—including His creation and, dare we say, the work of our own hands—to point back to Himself. Creativity makes sense only when it does what it was meant to do" (29). "We cannot know ourselves, therefore, without knowing God." "Sin, then, is loving something other than God more than God. When we rebel against God, we become less human; we blur His image and distort our God-given reason for existence. Idolaters slowly become the idols they serve: low budget, hollow replicas of the beautiful image they once reflected (see Ps. 115:8). "When we look at our smartphones or at the movie screen, we are from time to time looking for answers. We want omniscience and salvation. In short, we can use our creativity to create the gods we want rather than the God we need." "Creativity wasn’t built for your kingdom, it was built for God’s. When you unplug your creativity from God, it becomes powerless; and when you plug it into your own idolatry 'outlet,' it will eventually blow the fuse." I love the beautiful language that is used to describe our almighty Creator.
Few books have given me context from the beginning of time, helped me see my purpose now, given me deep hope for the future beyond this life and inspired me to actively work toward Jesus’ glory through every aspect of my life, like this books has helped me to see. We look at our lives and think we don’t have anything of value to contribute to this world but God has creatively breathed you into existence as His very own work of art. God is using you to point this chaotic world towards Glory with everything you have, including your creativity! As you pick up this book the first thing you see is the detailed cover with the beautiful lithographed ridges and furrows. The texture of the book in your hand inspires you to open its pages to see if the rest of the book lives up to the cover. Maybe you are skeptical like me about a book about creativity and Christianity. As I started to read this book my skepticism turned into inspiration. There is so much to quote in the first chapter alone but don’t get me wrong this isn’t just a book full of good quotes and tweetable phrases. Its a well-crafted book that gives you a theological foundation while simultaneously interweaving a fictional story that anchors your emotions around the truth that was shared. It’s a scriptural and inspirational journey that captures your mind, your heart and excites your spirit to be in wonder and awe of The One Uncreated Creator of the cosmos. Thomas J. Terry & Ryan Lister have done a wonderful job in writing this book in an engaging, creative way that brings God glory and has been good for my soul. Thank you guys for the hard work you have put into studying, writing and fashioning something that has inspired me greatly. As I finished this book and set it down I felt encouraged and spurred on in my love and worship for Jesus and the creative good that God has given me to do in this world. This quote from the book sums it all up for me. "We can rejoice in this: God is the artist who is making us worthy to stand in the gallery of His new creation, to point to Him as our Creator and Redeemer with our life, worship, and, yes, still our creativity."