My teaching this week, at various places, is inviting me to consider together discipleship and the creative process: what it means to be a faithful follower of Christ, to somehow participate in the realization of the "dream of God" (AKA "the kingdom of God") but also what it means to be a part of an ongoing creative process and to participate in that process, as part of who I am as a human being. The two things go together, and I've been trying to find ways to talk about that.
Reminded in my reading today of one of Evelyn Underhill's wonderful homely analogies -- this one from The School of Charity, her book on the Christian creed. Here's what she writes:
'The Kingdom of Heaven,' the supernatural order, is like yeast. And we are required to be part of the Kingdom of Heaven: sons and daughters of God. That means that we too have our share in the creative process. We live and die within the workshop, used as tools if we are merely dull and uninterested, but accepted as pupils and partners with our first movement of generosity in action, prayer of love. The implications of that truth must be worked out within each separate life; beginning where we are, content if our handful of meal can make a cottage loaf, not indulging spiritual vanity with large vague dreams about ovens full of beautiful brioches. Most of us when we were children managed sometimes to get into the kitchen; a wonderful experience with the right kind of cook. A whole world separated the cook who let us watch her make the cake, from the cook who let us make a little cake of our own. Then we were filled with solemn interest, completely satisfied, because we were anticipating the peculiar privilege of human beings; making something real, sharing the creative work of God. We, in our measure, are allowed to stand beside Him; making little things, contributing our action to His great action on life. So we must use the material of life faithfully, with a great sense of responsibility, and especially our energy of prayer, with a due remembrance of its awful power.
"the peculiar privilege of human beings; making something real, sharing the creative work of God." Walking with this thought today. Will have to see where it takes me.
- Kathleen Henderson Staudt
- I work as a teacher, poet and spiritual director at a number of institutions in the DC area. My teaching focuses in various ways on writing, poetry, Spirituality and Christian vocation and ministry - especially from the point of view of the laity. I also offer classes and retreats encouraging people to explore their inner lives, engage their creativity and reflect on their beliefs about God, vocation, and how we can discern and pursue new ways to transform our broken world. I enjoy speaking of faith in the secular academy as well as reminding those preparing for ministry in the Church that our primary purpose is to love and serve the world beyond the church's doors. I love helping people to grow in faith and to find their own voices, and I also love encouraging them to use their minds. I see no contradiction between these impulses, believing as I do that faith, reason and creativity work together.