Monday, February 17, 2014

Deep Thought-y Gumbo - a sneak peek!

from my column for Power Source Magazine, UNCOMMON SENSE: God's Gift of Creativity, for publication in the April 2014 Issue.

I’ve been captivated with this thought lately: We become what we behold.
I know. It’s deep and thought-y, but I didn’t come up with it. It just keeps showing up in whatever I read, whatever I watch, and I cannot ignore it. It’s like the Holy Spirit comes at me with a can of spray paint and writes it in graffiti across my mind so I’ll have to consider it.

I heard it first from a mathematician.  Odd. Or was it even…? Then from a theologian. Then it came up in a movie I was watching, and then I heard it in a sermon. Okay God, I’m listening.

I remember another phrase of the same ilk that came to me in much the same way about twenty years ago, before I could understand how true it was:  That which you take, takes you.

Both concepts are made from the same roux. Deep thought-y gumbo.

Stop looking at me that way, and think about it. Let’s work backwards. That which you take, takes you.   Know much about addiction? Makes sense in that context. Take hold of a thing and it takes hold of you. Reminds me of June bugs. Ever picked one up? They fling themselves into the porch light, hurl themselves furiously away from the shock of the intense bright heat, and land disoriented on your shirt.  Grasp it off, and six creepy legs wrap around your finger.  That which you take, takes you.

So take God.

Better yet, behold God.  THAT, my dear Watson, is the great secret; the secret of creativity, the secret of love, the secret of life. Don’t be waiting around for Revelation to fire up and Sandy Patti to sing another Dottie Rambo song as you parade through the pearly gates.

Behold now.

The place of prayer is a beautiful way to begin to behold. The Bible beholds, too, if you behold it for what it is. Just read it. You know? Like, try to read it like it’s a book, a really great book. You can’t, of course, but this will help you shut up all the bad teaching in your head for a minute, and you’ll be amazed.

Behold the Word, and it will behold you, and you might be surprised by what a beautiful creation YOU are!

It’s Easter. Permission to behold granted. Behold the cross. Do you see you? Have you become the broken sufferer? Behold the grave. Have you died to the desires and ambitions and to the pride with which you tried so many times to offer up Cain’s sacrifice? Remember that story? God wasn’t pleased with Cain. He did all the right stuff for all the wrong reasons.

You’ve got to behold the Lamb, before you can rise again in His likeness.

Ever met those very cool couples who have been married forever and they look like each other? They sound alike, use the same mannerisms, laugh at the same awkward moments? You become what you behold.  Pinocchio should take a lesson! He beheld a bunch of donkeys, and…well, after that his hats never fit right again.

What’s this got to do with God’s gift of creativity? I’m wondering if we might say: We create what we behold?

Every song you write is already written. You just have to find it. You find it by beholding. Some call it staring into space. I call it staring into Heaven. Staring into the space that is here and eternal, the place where dimensions meet and time travels. The place where children imagine and days dream.

For all you songwriters: Want me to stop preaching and give you a pro-songwriting tip?  When you write, start with a title. Almost daily, someone plays me a new song and when I ask the title the response is “I don’t know yet.” I know it will be a weak song; vibe-y and vague.  Sure, there are exceptions; so become an exceptional writer and then you can break all the rules.

Here. Write this:  Love Only Knows.

Free of charge. I gave you a hook. Now develop the concept and write it. 

Happy Easter. God Loves You!

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