Thursday, March 17, 2011

Creative Energy

One of my favorite things to do these days is check out TedTalks on Hulu or YouTube.  Scientists and Artists from all over the world give powerful lectures with interactive powerpoint presentations telling of innovative ways to change the world.  This last week I watched a fantastic speech about Creativity by Amy Tan, Chinese-American author, business consultant and historian.

She began by seeing the possibilities which rise out of nothing, because out of that nothing rises something.  My favorite thing she said was this: "There is uncertainty in everything and that is good, because then I will discover something new."  It made me laugh to think of how much we yearn for closure and certainty, when there is so much freedom in openness and so many possibilities in uncertainty. 

Then this week I've been reading a book called "Amnesty of Grace" by Elsa Tamez for our World Christianity class.  In this book, she offers some of the liberation theologians' description of grace as creativity.  That the truth that we are saved by grace and not by our actions is not a dismissal of the importance of human action, but rather it is a liberation from the human condition which keeps us from acting.
"Faced with a capitalistic, utilitarian and meritocratic society, Silvio Meincke analyzes justification by faith in relation to the open spaces of life that are constantly being increasingly restricted by our society.  He shows how justification by grace and faith opens those spaces in order that people can live life and how, at the same time, it motivates them to promote the same kind of open space for their neighbors as well."(35)

I think we are so quick to read Paul's letters as rules to live our life by.  Here in her writings and in several other scholarly books I've been reading lately, we are called to read for the gift of God's liberation and empowerment to live free from sin and the boundaries of the law.  Not that we should continue sinning, but so that we can live and share with others in life. The goal is not to follow all of the rules, but to live out the gospel message of God's love and forgiveness for all human beings.

Suddenly, I feel like Jesus is not just my savior from sin, but also from perfection and the pressure to be innovative.  It's like we are freed from the anxieties of the world to be the best, so that we can be the best version of the selves we were created to be.  Freedom from filling this expectation, so that we can exceed all expectations.  Sure this throws us into the uncertainty of "how must we live", but God has already given us that guidance, "To act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God." Those were not commandments for control but empowerments for action in the world. We may be saved by grace and not works, but we are also saved by grace so that we can work for God.