Cultural Mandate

You, Me, Philip Yancey and God: Finishing the World!

Leslie + Phillip Y closeup.jpg

Last week in Denver, Phillip Yancey and I had a blast.  We were talking about one of our favorite subjects: Creativity.  It went beautifully well (except I was having a bad hair night and was trying to ignore a raging sore throat.)         

(Phillip and I will be teaching together at the next Harvester Island Wilderness Workshop.)


There’s SO much I want to sing and dance about this topic----but who has five years right now? So----let me give you this, just this, because you need to know it. Because it will make your day brighter, and you will make someone else’s day (life??) more radiant.

You do know, don’t you, that the world needs you? 


Shall I prove it? Listen: God spoke and created All That Is: Let there Be: and bing-bang-baboom-Look! The violent blooming of Life Everywhere!! Then He spoke again, this time, admiring, announcing it was all “VERY GOOD.” 


Why only “VERY GOOD”? Why not “Perfect”!?? Why isn’t all that God made in that Genesis explosion of striped beasts, white roses, elephants, kangaroo mice, Fir trees and fin whales----why wasn’t this oh-so-holy just-made shiny creation named------PERFECT? After all, HE had made it; No human had yet marred or disturbed it with their clumsy, imperfect efforts.



But that’s exactly what God wanted. He wanted our clumsy hands, our awkward feet in the ground, on his peach trees, pruning his roses. He wanted First Man’s and First Woman’s eyes, taste, thought, measurement,  to take the “very goodness” of what was given to make it better!! To Make it ----yes, perfect. Not perfect aesthetically----were they capable of this? Are we? But perfect as in: finished. God and man, art-crafting together, in the light of one another, co-creators delighting one another with their handiwork. All of it done out of love and joy. And, I am sure, a lot of laughter and fun. (Can you see this?)


So we’re all farmers.  We’re all cultivators, we humans made of humus. We’re all made-in-the-likeness-of-God artists and creators, designed and charged to make something out-of-this-world beautiful out of all the stuff of this world. This is who we are! We who are ourselves God’s poeima, God’s poem.




But----where is our joy? Our creativity? Sometimes Christians are so engaged and enraged in the Culture Wars, we destroy more than we create. (Because it’s easier? Yes. Because we think we’re the moral police-of-the-world? Yes.) Why aren't we tending Creation rather than rending it?

Imagine what would happen if we were known for what we create rather than for what we crush?!?


Imagine what could happen if we were known for what we design rather than for what we destroy!


Imagine being known for what we joyfully proclaim rather than what we angrily denounce?


Imagine being known for our imagination rather than our condemnation?


Look how many are already doing this!

Max McClean in The Screwtape Letters

Max McClean in The Screwtape Letters

Return of the Prodigal Son by Carravaggio

Return of the Prodigal Son by Carravaggio

Because, if we don’t sing out----if we don’t paint, write, weave, dig, draw, bake, woodwork, carve, dance, garden, build,---all to the glory of our Creating God, we’ll miss it. We’ll miss joining the chorus of all Creation which is already singing, shouting, clapping, creating; for the heavens themselves are declaring the glory of God; day by day pouring forth speech.”  When WE don’t proclaim the coming of the Lord to every area of Life and Creation, the rocks themselves will shout out!!

Don’t make the rocks grow tongues and hands. Use yours!

God values our human making. He asks us all to make something beautiful of the world he has given to us---for our joy, for His delight, for the "perfecting" of Creation. And yes, even for the "perfecting" of ourselves.

 Go forth this week and bloom beauty into this undone world!


Naphtali yoga iwth mountains.jpeg

What will you bring into bloom this week?