We take joy in God’s creation and find meaning, beauty, and inspiration when we engage with the Holy Spirit in acts of creativity.
On Thursday, our entire day was devoted to creativity. We first received a tour of Showman Fabricators. Showman Fabricators builds sets for TV and Broadway. Mark, our tour guide and the Vice President of the company, was a very gracious host. He gave us all sorts of information about what they do and showed us around the workshop. It was very cool to see all the machines, how things are made, and how they put things together. When we were there, they were putting together the set for the TV show, The View. Next, we went to 5th Avenue Presbyterian Church where our friend, Amanda Ashcraft, is a minister. We listened as Amanda told us about the work that the church does with the homeless population. Amanda showed us the shelter area that the church has created so that it may provide hospitality to folks who do not have a home. After our visit with Amanda, we met Lily at the Wintergarden Theater, where she works as the technical supervisor for the Broadway musical, Rocky. Lily gave us the backstage tour, showing us about how the set works and moves. We got to see dressing rooms, walk on the catwalk, go onstage, and even touch some of the props. We went in the basement and saw all the intricate cords and computers that make the whole system work. Lily was brilliant and gave us all sorts of really interesting information.
Here’s the thing….creativity often requires resources and most of the time, that means money. Jesus told the rich young ruler that the way to follow was to sell all his possessions and come follow me. So, what do we do with wealth? Resources? and creativity? What kinds of creativity are of the Spirit and what are not? How do you discern the best way to use resources?
At Showman Fabricators, Mark told us that one of their aims is to be a sustainable as possible. They recycle and reuse as many of their supplies as they can. Amanda, at 5th Ave Presbyterian, talked to us about the use of their church building and we wondered why about what more could be done with the many resources that the church has. How do we balance the beauty and creativity of the Broadway show with the desperate needs of the 50,000+ documented homeless in New York City? What role does art and entertainment have in faith practice?
These are questions I struggle with often, as I enjoy making things and creating art. I debate whether art making is a faithful endeavor given that it requires monetary resources and it results, most times, in waste. What are your thoughts?