Fuel for the Imagination

Erik Cooper —  July 29, 2009 — 4 Comments

This is an entry from a previous blog I thought was worth re-posting in this new format.  Love to create some dialog around this topic.  What do you think?

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to play golf with the principal of Ben Davis High School. Not only is BD one of the largest high schools in Indiana, it is also my alma mater (purple and white class of ’92 baby!). Ben Davis is a quality institution and really a hub of life and culture on the west side of Indianapolis. So as much as I wanted to make the day just about golf, the spiritual leader in me had to utilize the opportunity to explore the mind of this man who daily interacts with thousands of students that represent the future of this community.

“What is the biggest challenge you see for our city through the lives of your students?” I asked. The dialog didn’t last long but it was amazingly insightful. The answer: loss of hope. “Many of these kids do not see a future for themselves beyond high school,” he said. “When they look out past year 12 there’s simply nothing there.” When hope for the future is gone we begin to live for the moment, or worse yet, we stop living altogether.

The imagination is the birthplace of creativity, but loss of hope kills the imagination. Reality swallows potential and dreams shrivel. And when dreams die, imagination disappears; creativity becomes non-existent, and life loses purpose.

Vision is the birthplace of hope.
Hope is the fuel of imagination.
Imagination is the seed of creativity.
And creativity is the breath of life.

The very first expression we see of God in His Word is as the Creator. “God created human beings; he created them godlike, reflecting God’s nature.” (Gen. 1:27 MSG). Creativity is a signal that the very nature of God resides in us. I firmly believe that The Church should be the most creative entity on planet earth! So why is that rarely true?

Because churches drift. We lose focus. Vision becomes blurry and hope begins to die. Our imaginations grow cobwebs and creativity for the future gives way to memories of the past. We become just like those high school students that see no picture for their lives beyond senior year. God’s church and God’s people, the hope of the world, becomes lifeless and predictable. Hardly a picture that rightly represents the everlasting God of the universe. So what do we do?

Vision is everything. If you are a community leader, creative leader, church leader, a mom or dad (if anyone is following you in any way), clear and compelling vision must be your mantra. When you look out beyond tomorrow for your life, your community, your church, your family, whatever you lead…what do you see? What picture has God painted on your heart? Share it!  Again, and again, and again, and again.  That vision becomes the birthplace of hope that will lead to unbridled imagination and creativity. It will lead to life.

4 responses to Fuel for the Imagination

  1. That is so well said and I couldn’t agree more. The church should be a melting pot of creative ideas and expression. No where on earth should God’s creative nature be more visible than in and through the local church. That’s what He has called us to be. It’s in our nature He created us to reflect HIS nature. His creativity.

    As you know, I always get fired up about this topic. 🙂

    Great post. This kind of passion and creativity will propel this new generation of churches to do amazing things.

  2. Indeed, this is an ongoing problem that I witness with some of my minor-aged clients in psychotherapy…………..”loss of hope.” Only during those times in which I can motivate them to dream, is when I begin to see real breakthrough within their therapeutic process.

  3. Creativity, Vision, Faith, a powerful post my friend.

  4. Erik, I would assert that it is a mis-placed hope that has led to the loss of hope that you describe. Whereas Jesus said “hope in God; hope also in me”, recent generations (including my own) have placed hope in materialism, capitalism, hedonism, human potential and/or government. Today’s youth are correctly finding these sought after sources of hope to be dry wells. Why? I see at least two reasons. Firstly, there is the darkness of each human heart … our innate sin condition called selfishness. We are prone to take what God meant for good and turn it to evil through mis-use. Closely related to this is the simple fact that we have pursued all these created things and not the Creator. (Paul has lots to say about this in Romans 1.) As a result these false sources of hope do not satisfy, and many feel hopeless.

    The remedy? I’d be interested in your and others’ opinions. Thanks for stirring the pot.

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