My history and connection with God have gone through different phases over the years. This article is ostensibly a book review for Matthew Fox’s Creativity: Where the Divine and Human Meet published in 2002, but I find that I have to start with where I am at in my life currently, which requires the context of where I’ve been. Growing up with my mom, I went to mass with my mom at Christ the King in Richland. As I got into High School, I got pretty lost in using drugs and alcohol. I lost interest in being involved in church. My mom even started paying cash (which unknown to her at the time I used to buy drugs) me to attend mass with her. After staying on in high school for the fifth year and being homeless, couch surfing, I ended up going to Jubilee Youth Ranch. At Jubilee, I had a pretty transformative experience based on accepting God into my life. You can read some of my story about going to Jubilee and some of the pain and difficulty I had a youth. Jubilee is no longer around in the form that it was when I graduated from High School there in 2001, but they still have a Facebook Page. Hagar (2008) writes about some of the effects of Jubilee shutting down. It appears that it has been taken over by West Master’s Ranch where you can still see the same facilities and what seems to be a reasonably similar program.
At Jubilee, I ended up having a decidedly radical conversion experience and desire to start following after God. I remember getting close to graduation and not being sure what I was supposed to do with my life. I was committed to wanting to find what God wanted for my life, and I remember the experience of fasting and going up to the top of this hill that overlooks the boy’s ranch to spend time praying and meditating over what I should do next. That summer, soon after graduation, I went with a group on a mission trip to Africa. I ended up enrolling in a program called the Master’s Commission. Before I started, I ended up going to Africa on a Mission Trip. It was a leadership training/discipleship school (kind of like a bible college but focused on service). My program was at Victory Faith Church, and while they don’t have a page talking about the Masters Commission anymore, they do still have a VF School of Leadership. I wrote about my experience some in an essay, The Path to the Ph.D.: Intertwining My Experiences and Research Topic.
During the time that I was in the Master’s Commission, I had a strong faith that was following. During my time there, being engaged with a group of other students working towards changing the world was a meaningful experience. It was a powerful experience. After spending two years in the Master’s Commission, I felt I knew a bit about what I wanted to do. I wanted to earn my Masters Degree in social work and work with kids who have been through painful and traumatic experiences. I wanted to work with the problematic kids that were making poor choices in their lives. I moved back in with my mom in the Tri-Cities and started attending community college at Columbia Basin College to earn my AA as a transfer degree. While I was working on my AA, I started working at Jubilee as a staff member. I was also highly involved in the Baptist Student Ministries student club at school. There was a time I was the president of the group and spent a lot of time doing outreach events, connecting with my fellow students of faith, and going on some mission trips to Vancouver Brittish Columbia. During the same timeframe is when I first started blogging and doing more activities online. My old posts are at a different website; they are still there.
I was still very connected to my faith community at this point. My blog during those days was called “My Life Crucified,” and I mostly wrote about some of my experiences, working, being in school, and other things that I found interesting. Many of the posts were about faith. As I moved away from the Tri-Cities and living on campus at Eastern Washington University in their Social Work program, I became less involved in a specific religious community. After earning my BASW and my MSW, I ended up traveling through South America. I moved back to the Tri-Cities, but for years I’ve not been involved in church or related activities much for many years. Sometimes I go to mass with my family or with my mom, but that is about it.
As a part of my coursework for Creativity and Personal Transformation at California Institute of Integral Studies, I recently finished reading Creativity: Where the Divine and Human Meet. It was a pretty compelling book. When I am around people talking about spirituality, I tend not to get very involved in the conversation. I’m kind of in a place where I’m not sure exactly where my faith is at currently. I’m not going to say this book has changed my perspectives or been life-changing or anything like that. I did find it engaging.
It seems that Fox’s primary argument is that there is a creativity that we can all tap into, and that creativity is connected to the divine. He says:
Creativity is not a noun or even a verb—it is a place, a space, a gathering, a union, a where—wherein the Divine powers of creativity and the human power of imagination join forces. Where the two come together is where beauty and grace happen and, indeed, explode. Creativity constitutes the ultimate in intimacy, for it is the place where the divine and the human are most destined to interact (p. 4).
I’ve not been exposed frequently to literature that sees the various religious beliefs as connected and sharing similar messages. Fox describes not just how creativity fits within a Christian tradition and in relationship to Jesus, but he also talks about buddha and other spiritual leaders. This creativity is seen at a cosmic level and individually. There are some examples of how we can connect creativity to education, our daily lives, relationships, and even politics. If you are interested in the intersection of spirituality and creativity, this is a pretty interesting book to check out.
Hagar, S. (2008, October 28). Jubilee’s closure news felt deeply. Walla Walla Union Bulletin. Retrieved from https://www.union-bulletin.com/news/education/jubilee-closure-news-felt-deeply/article_a92bf8f6-da44-11e8-a5a5-f73fcbf424de.html
Fox, M. (2002). Creativity: Where the divine and the human meet. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher.