"From cradle to grave, the pressure is on: BE NORMAL. Those who somehow side-step that pressure and let their genius show are customarily ridiculed, reviled or otherwise discountenanced." —Gordon MacKenzie, Orbiting the Giant Hairball.
By Scoti Springfield Domeij
Sometimes it's nice to know that other creative souls understand the discrimination I've felt through the years. 1 Corinthians 12 states, "Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons" Yet, often organized religion harbors and promotes intolerance. Their internal political machines demand that members march in lock step herd mentality with their theology, their beliefs, their mantras, and their causes.
How Often Have You Heard?
- "You're not a fit. Maybe you need to leave." (Translation: Or we will get rid of you, even if we have to slander or lie about you.")
- "You're rebellious." (Translation: What's wrong with you? We can't control you. Why can't you follow our man-made rules?)
- "You're too edgy." (Translation: You're too honest. Our most strident followers don't do vulnerable.)
- "You're a loose cannon." (Translation: Your questions or insight make us too uncomfortable. We're comfortable with the status quo.)
No Brain. No Drain. No Gain.
Believing their actions were for my own good, many religionists shot cannonballs through my heart, tearing gaping holes in my self-esteem, calling and faith. Too often religious folks prefer to discard those with whom they disagree rather than pursuing biblical resolution of conflicts, reconciling differences of opinion, or respectfully agreeing to disagree. Many religious people claim they do not believe in divorce, but in reality, they do. In defense of their theological, philosophical, or ideological preferences, it's easier and more expedient to build impenetrable, unforgiving walls to toss relationships over and out of their lives.
And we wonder why some form opinions that Christians are hypocrites.
For years, I've asked myself these questions, If Christ is so powerful, why doesn't he change the people who claim to know him?Why do religious people prefer religion to relationship with God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and their fellow man? I think the answer is simple.
Fear of commitment, intimacy, and being real. Pride makes it too difficult to allow Christ to recreate us in his image. Too much open heart surgery.
Danger! Are You a Conformity Hazard?
Critical and creative thinking is discouraged and demeaned. It's a threat.
To what? Some claim to the truths of God's Word.
Why disturb beliefs in pet theologies? Why encourage people to think richly and deeply about their faith, when you can cling to rigidity. Black—White. Wrong—Right? When we close our eyes, we're all the same.
Sinful. Accepted. Loved. Forgiven. Gifted. Empowered.
Cloning vs. Body Building
A religious organization attracted creative, thoughtful people of faith. Yet many creatives did not feel supported or understood. Some left discouraged, stripped of their confidence in the way God created them to function and contribute within the body of Christ. Others lost their faith. The grinding corporate political infrastructure commanded allegiance to the founder—to the point of idolatry. Without question, the head honcho's views were correct—always.
Can anyone say "cult?" And some wonder why there are no C.S. Lewis or G. K. Chesterton's today.
No human, I repeat, no individual's beliefs are correct all the time. Not mine. Not yours. Not anyone's. Blind holes occur in every one's judgment. If the scholars are unable to agree about theology, what makes me think I'm "the" expert?
I wondered, Why do some leaders want clones, instead of mentees? Not one person is spiritually-identical to another. My spiritual DNA longs to replicate my Creator. Why not adopt a win-win attitude towards encouraging everyone's God-given spiritual and creative passions? How much better equipped would the corporate body of Christ be able to reach into all aspects of culture with God's good news? Enclosing the God-breathed creativity of others within a rigid theological and ideological grid is about as effective as herding cats.
Give Your Creativity Life
Writing provides a safe, quiet, and hidden place to express what I think, feel, and observe. After I survived the hurts inflicted by religionists, I became stronger in the Lord. I no longer believe naysayers. I study God's Word so I can ignore the roar of the herd and hear God's breath in my heart, soul, mind, and writing. I also have learned to surround my heart with friends who understand and encourage who God created me to be. Our friendships are more than cheering sections. I can count on them to hold me accountable. Gloria has cheered me on for years. And Beth has been my Velveteen Rabbit. Both are creativity healers.
Who has trampled or shamed your God-given abilities? What do you need to do to overcome the "shoulds" to break from the herd?