Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Mind of the Maker

Dorothy Sayers wrote a book by this post's title, in which she suggests that man's primary means of imaging God is in his creativity.  Man is inherently a creative being and is at his best and most joyful when his mind and hand are engaged in creative work.

The world lost two men this week who, whether or not they intended to, beautifully reflected the mind of the Maker in their creative pursuits. 

Steve Jobs is a household name and most of us are not only aware of his creative contributions to the world of technology, but have had our daily lives impacted by them.  He made the world a better place to live by imagining what could envisioning that which had never before existed, then bringing it into existence for the benefit of others.  He may not have done it in submission to God, but that doesn't mean his works and legacy are fruitless.  Just as the children of God used the creative works of Cain's descendants (bronze tools, musical instruments) to beautify and glorify the worship of God, we too should delight and rejoice in man's creative works, redeeming them for the sake of the Gospel.

But St. Louis lost another creative genius whose name is not remotely close to being a household name.  Bob Cassilly died this week.  Have you ever heard of Bob Cassilly?  Probably not.  But I guarantee, if you live in St. Louis, his work has brought you moments of great delight.  You see, he was the mind (and the money) behind The City Museum, an unparalleled haven of creativity!

This place never fails to astonish me on so many levels.  First of all, it is a playground for kids of all ages that openly defies the modern tendency to remove every element of risk.  One can walk through a pitch black cavern where the ground is uneven and the "danger" of tripping and falling is significant!!  Can you believe that?!  Somebody might get HURT! 

This playground is non-traditional in other ways too.  You will find no pre-fab plastic slides here and no formulaic play spaces that dictate exactly how one ought to use them.  Everything is constructed from someone else's garbage. The building itself was an abandoned warehouse whose usefulness and beauty had been overlooked.  Now, discarded yet important pieces of St. Louis's architectural history have been preserved for posterity.  Cases of unused watch bands beautify a column.  Scrap metal is twisted into spiral tunnels which tower 2 stories above ground.  Broken shards of pottery line the floors in fantastical designs.  The entire place, from floor to ceiling offers an indescribable feast for the eyes and the imagination.

I don't know what Mr. Cassilly believed, but I can tell you that his creative works are reflective of God's image.  Not only in their originality, but especially in their nature.  How much more godlike action is there than to rescue that which has been cast aside, deemed useless and unworthy...mere trash...and transform it into a thing of beauty which brings delight to all who experience its transformation?!  Our God delights in creating beauty from reclaiming and restoring broken, ugly, abandoned people for himself. 

I hope you rejoice and give thanks with me for the lives of these men who, at least in this one aspect, reflected the glory of man as made in the image of God.

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