Orlando and a Call to Creativity

canstockphoto5737580We have to do something.

If all we do is square off in our respective corners—Christian/Muslim, gay/straight, gun control/right-to-bear-arms, Democrat/Republican—then all that will happen is we’ll shout at and past each other, no one will win, everyone will lose, and it will happen again.

After a while we’ll get used to it.

Shake our heads, say a prayer, have a moment of silence, then switch over to Fallon’s monologue.

There is a stink of futility that’s in the air after every one of these slaughters. The hatred is too deep, the fear too strong, the discourse too corrosive to allow any hope that something can be done that will lessen or prevent these mass shootings.

It’s happened again, and nothing can be done. There’s nothing we can do.

Hopelessness. As Americans, it’s treasonous. If there is anything we do better than anyone, it’s pulling victory out of hopeless causes.

But as Christians, hopelessness is anti-Christ. It is a denial of the One who faced death and overcame it.

No one saw the resurrection coming, not even those Jews who believed in a general resurrection of the dead, when all the righteous dead would come back to life.

One man rising? Unprecedented, unanticipated, unforeseen.

Even when Jesus said it would happen, no one was waiting for it.

The disciples just huddled in a room, frightened, defeated, and hopeless.

Then Hope walked through the door. Literally, through the door.

Christians aren’t supposed to do hopeless. Why are we doing it now?

We can do better.

It’s actually in our nature to do better.

In the first creation story in Genesis 1, God creates humanity, male and female, in his image and likeness. Whatever else that means—and it means a lot of things—it at least means that we are imbued with a creativity that is divine in its origins.

In the first chapter of the entire Bible, God’s creativity is on full display, speaking light into being, separating waters and gathering waters and making land appear, filling oceans with all manner of creatures and the land with a vast, unending variety of living things.

He places lights in the sky and mountain grandeur on the horizons.

He makes growing things that provide food without anything having to die.

Think about it: you pull an apple off the tree and nourish yourself with it, and rather than harming the tree you propagate its life when you throw the core to the ground and the seeds fall into the soil.


And here’s the thing:

God not only used his creative genius to make us but he put that same creative genius in us!

That creative genius is fully on display everywhere you go. Go to the National Gallery and stand in front of a DaVinci, a Rembrandt, or a Picasso.

Read a Frost, a Wordsworth, or an Angelou.

Listen to a Mozart, a Dylan, or a T-Bone Walker.

Or just look at your smartphone. Send a text to a friend and in a few seconds she’ll have it, and you are connected with another human being miles away!

We think of most genius as being as rare as an Einstein or an Edison.

But creative genius is everywhere. Just watch a 3-year-old playing with a toy telephone. They will have whole conversations with people who aren’t even real! Whole worlds are being summoned in the minds of children at play!

It’s who we are. It’s what we do.

Sometimes, though, when we listen to the demons of fear, distrust, and greed, our creative genius manifests itself darkly. Throughout our history humans have shown endless creativity in coming up with ways to kill each other.

There was a time when killing large numbers of people took at lot of time, a lot of energy, and a lot of people. Have you seen some of the swords they used to use? Those things were huge! And heavy!

Hack a few people to death and you gotta stop and catch your breath. If there were a lot of people to kill you needed a lot of people to do it.

Now one person can do it in just a few minutes.

A couple of people with the right codes can obliterate whole cities, whole countries.

The entire earth.

My God we have gotten really good at killing each other.

My God.

But have we gotten to the point where we can only use our collective creative genius to find new ways to destroy one another?

Have we come to believe that St. John was an idealistic fool for declaring that the darkness can never overcome the Light?

Are we at the point where we are forced to admit that the darkness has indeed overcome the world and there is nothing we can do about it?

I refuse to believe it.

I believe that light is greater than darkness, that good is greater than evil, that love is greater than hate, that hope is greater than despair, that unity is greater than division, that reconciliation is greater than alienation, and faith is greater than fear.

I cannot but believe that if all of us were to not care about who is right and who is wrong, and if we didn’t define winning as beating the other guy so that our side gains power, that if we were to get together and combine our creative genius we could come up with some way to keep these mass shootings from happening.

Or at least make them so rare that we can find the capacity to be truly horrified by them.

I believe that if Christians and Muslims, gun advocates and gun detractors, Republicans and Democrats, LGBTQ+ and straight were to combine our collective creative genius, we could find a solution.

This is how God created us. This is what God created us for.

We have the means. We have the creativity.

All we lack is the will.

Photo by © Can Stock Photo Inc. / openlens

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