Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Future of Creativity

The Utne Reader has a cover article that caught my attention called The Future of Creativity. Chapter 3 of my book Experiential Storytelling is on creativity and is probably one of the most important chapters for me because I believe that the church has lagged in this area for a long time. So I'm very interested in anything that speaks to creativity, especially where things are heading.

It's funny though, one of their first stories basically repeats what I wrote in the book- "try thinking or doing as a child would." It seems that maybe the future of creativity lies in the past. But there were some interesting finds in the magazine.

1. We are not doing a great job with fostering creativity in our children.

By pawning off the task of imagination to commercial manufacturers of marketing and entertainment. 44.5 hours behind "screens" doesn't help.

And we no longer allow kids "free and unstructured play time". Because of this, the America's Promise Alliance stated "a large percentage of the children and youth who will enter the workforce ... are lacking enough of the 'soft' or applied skills- such as teamwork, decision making, and communication- that will help them be effective employees and managers."

2. Society needs better writing with larger truths but is weary of these truths.

Writing has suffered because "the smarter and more intellectual we count ourselves, the more adamantly we insist that there is no such thing as truth, no such thing as general human experience, that everything is plural and relative and therefore undiscussable." Hmmm.

3. Art + Science = Inspiration

Science and technology is affecting us in exponential ways (see wired petabyte blog). Rather than the world of art and science remaining separate, the future will bring these two worlds together to provide for a new creative frontier.

The articles were not very indepth but were provocative. I have often wondered what affect our technology will have on us. If we no longer need to struggle and think for ourselves, will this lead to a less creative culture?

And will our "culture of fear" also curb the creative process? We want to protect and cocoon ourselves when we sense danger, but does this lead us to more homogenous group-think?

How have these changes in culture also affected the church? It seems that there has been a creativity rennaissance within many churches, but is it only in the hands of those delivering the message? Are the people sitting in the services using their God-given creativity in their own missional environments? Or are they simply "pawning off the task of imagination to commercial manufacturers of marketing and entertainment?"