Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
"But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing." (James 1:25)
I have the heart of an artist. I was raised in the collaborative community of the theater. I received professional training as a theater director. The culture of creativity I come from encouraged, rather than criticized, the exercise of intuition and initiative. This may seem foreign to the dominant cultural/religious paradigm of social control, where defined processes regulate individual and group behavior to gain conformity and compliance to the rules of a society or group. So I sometimes find my creative impulses shot down, and wounded, by a left-brained culture. Sometimes the exercise of my intuition and creative impulses are misinterpreted. The law of liberty from where I persevere comes from a spirit of love and service guided by the principle that seeks to do no harm.
In making a commitment to the growth of God’s family through exercising my Spiritual gifts, I am called to nurture my creativity, and a ministry of outreach/evangelism, in community and in the power of the Spirit. “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Tim 1:7) And where there is the Spirit, there is freedom. (2 Cor 3:17)
Every human act is a creative act, every event imagined into existence. Building a Spiritual community is a creative act – and we are all artists, then, seeking for the Spirit to find expression among us. When I can not let go of the control that my critical judgments hold over the creative process, I am probably locked into the stranglehold of ego. Clutching too tightly to the intellect asphyxiates creative endeavors like building God’s family.
Friends, I may go contrary to the norms of Quakerism, but I firmly believe in the concept of positation. We could consider practicing this discipline as a community, that is not to limit the creative agency or autonomy of anyone guided by the freedom and liberty that is a blessing of God. What is that?
“By the principle of positation we say yes to every creative idea. We accept this principle as a discipline because we have found that doing so yields practical results…We do not say yes to everything for virtue’s sake. We say yes because we understand that to do so is the practical way of sending a message to the intuition that every creative idea will be valued, respected, and used; and when the intuition gets that message often enough, it will send us its most perfect and its most pure creative ideas. That is why, whether we like it or not, saying yes to everything is the most creative technique an artist can employ.” - William Ball, A Sense of Direction
Even when an idea seems unworkable or unwanted by some, a mature community can live with it for a time, because "a bad idea will eventually fall out of orbit by its own weight." All creativity is provided by Nature, and in agreeing to use all that Nature provides, we are trusting God, the Author of life.
"Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God." (1 Peter 2:16 )
"For you were called to freedom, [brothers]. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another." (Galatians 5:13 )
"That the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God." (Romans 8:21 )