This is a guest post by pastor and author, April Yamasaki. She is commissioned by Mennonite Women USA and Mennonite Women Canada to write the 2015 Bible Study Guide focused on creativity.
Five weeks ago, I posted Why Writers Should Stop Blogging, and decided to take my own advice by cutting back on blogging from three times a week to just once or twice. Just as I had hoped, this more flexible approach to blogging has felt freeing, and I’ve been able to use some of the extra time for other writing:
- a guest post for the Lenten series on Godspace – my post will go live during the fifth week of Lent when the focus will be the brokenness of God’s family; in the meantime, check out this week’s post on the brokenness of homelessness.
- an article for Purpose magazine on listening for God.
- my newest writing project is a Bible Study Guide for Mennonite Women Canada and USA on the theme of creativity, which is to be released in 2015. I’m honoured by the invitation to work on this, and so excited about this particular topic!
I’ve been interested in creating and the creative process ever since I wrote my first poems in elementary school, ever since I started experimenting with different recipes as a young bride, ever since I studied theology and reflected on God as our great Creator. Creativity was one of the first boards I started on Pinterest, with resources on creativity and wonderful quotes:
Creativity is intelligence having fun.
– from Albert Einstein.
You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.
– from Maya Angelou.
My first deadline for this project is the end of July, when the first Bible study and the outlines of the other twelve sessions are due. I’ve already happily started brainstorming:
God as the great creator and source of human creativity.
Creative arts in Scripture: music, singing, dancing, gardening, metal work, fabric arts, cookery, poetry, pottery, storytelling, architecture, others?
Jesus as creative storyteller who used everyday things like flour and yeast to teach about God.
Galatians 6:4-5 (The Message): “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.”
Walking On Water: Reflections On Faith & Art by Madeleine L’Engle,
The Mind of the Maker by Dorothy Sayers.
Questions (from the Bible Study Advisory Council):
Why are we creative beings? How do we unleash our creativity?
As I begin this project, I’d like to ask for your help. What questions do you have about creativity? What resources would you suggest? If you were looking for a Bible study on creativity, what texts and topics would you like to see addressed?
April Yamasaki is lead pastor of Emmanuel Mennonite Church in Abbotsford, British Columbia. She has published numerous articles and several books, most recently Sacred Pauses: Spiritual Practices for Personal Renewal (Herald Press, February 2013). Earlier books include Remember Lot’s Wife and Other Unnamed Women of the Bible(FaithQuest) and Making Disciples: A Manual for Baptism and Church Membership (Faith & Life Press). She has a bachelor of arts degree from the University of British Columbia and a master’s degree in Christian Studies from Regent College, Vancouver, B.C.
April has taught college-level courses in Bible and English, adult enrichment courses on prayer and journaling, and has led seminars and retreats on Christian living.
A third-generation Canadian of Chinese descent, she was born and raised in Vancouver, B.C. April lives in Abbotsford with her husband, Gary, who teaches biblical studies at Columbia Bible College.