I get tickled now when I think about all the things I never noticed in the Bible. I’ve been one of the worst for falling prey to the “lullaby effect” as Rabbi David Fohrman calls it.
When we know a story “too well”, we become easy prey to a syndrome I like to call “The Lullaby Effect”. The lullaby effect retards our ability to ask — even to see — the really important questions that the Bible begs us to ask of it. The “Lullaby Effect” anesthetizes us through the stupefying effects of familiarity.
One of so many things I failed to see or notice or question for years was the creative nature of God. I mean, Genesis tells us They created everything. Every bit of everything. I’m not much for world building myself…in writing or art…so it sounds like a pretty ovewhelming task that would take boundless creative juice.
I love some of those initial images of the creation from Genesis…
2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
Listening to The Bible Project and BEMA Discipleship podcasts over the last year has reminded me time and again that 1) God is creative and 2) as the image of God, we are creative. God says, “Hey humans, let’s take this good creation somewhere. I’m creative and you’re my image, and let’s create. Let’s get this process going.”
This hits home especially close to my heart since I’m a very creative person. I feel closest, most open, most accessible to God when I’m making something whether it’s writing, painting, listening to music, crocheting, or some combo thereof. I mean, I do this stuff all the time. All. The. Time. I don’t even think I realized how integral a part of my life creativity is until my coworkers and students started to comment on my creative endeavors. I usually have a few hours to kill before class every Tuesday and Thursday night, and it’s become something of a guessing game among my peers to figure out what I’ll have with me to work on every week.
So while creativity is an everyday part of my life, I’m also keenly aware that in giving us the creative impulse, God opened us up, as They did in so many ways, to make really wonderful and really terrible choices. Watching the ways humans can creatively destroy one another and our planet is almost enough to bend me in half and cow me down in pain every day. Empathy is a blessing and a burden.
In those moments, I cleave to the fact that we are a good creation. God says so over and over again. Our creativity is a good creation and there’s a new creation ahead.