DAY 7: CHRISTIAN INNOVATION
By: Gabriela Yareliz Gonzalez, Editor of Modern Witnesses
It’s our last theme day of gratitude for 2019. I pray this has been inspiring for you, and that you have shared in this experience with us. It has been such a fun community experience both here and on Instagram, where so many of you have shared. I am so moved that you would do this with me.
We are ending with a bit of an unexpected theme– Christian Innovation. What does that mean? And what role do we play in it? We will be exploring all of that next.
Don’t forget to share your thoughts with us. Thank you so much for giving me your time and for sharing your heart. This has become one of my favorite times of the year because of this experience.
Keep your focus on the One who is Righteous and all that is right. As always, I am grateful for you. I hope those of you outside of the United States participate and learn why so many of us love the holiday of Thanksgiving.
Wishing all of you a beautiful season of gratitude.
DAY 7: CHRISTIAN INNOVATION
INNOVATION: a new idea, method, or device.
“The Christian is the one whose imagination should fly beyond the stars.” Francis A. Shaeffer
“What makes innovation Christian innovation? As Francis Schaeffer said of art, ‘The factor which makes art Christian is not that it necessarily deals with religious subject matter.’ It also is not because the innovation was accomplished by a professing Christian. Instead, innovation is Christian when it is ultimately aligned with God’s purposes and methods.”
Oster writes: “Innovation may be redemptive. Scripture and the personal experience of Christians worldwide show that God uses innovation for humans to know more of Him, to communicate with Him, and to ultimately accomplish His earthly will for mankind.”
R. Grudin writes– cited by Oster: “Creativity is worship insofar as it is, at its essence, a response… In the call to be creative, a call that goes out to all God’s children, we sense the call to listen to Him and, in childlike naiveté, to imitate our Father by creating works that will magnify His praise.”
Nelson Mandela, Michelangelo, Sir Francis Bacon, George Washington Carver, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Blaise Pascal, Isaac Newton, Martin Luther King, Jr., Stephen Colbert, Tom Hanks, Elvis Presley, Tyler Perry, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Abraham Lincoln, G.K. Chesterton– the list goes on. Influential Christians.
Christians have been changing the world in every era and every decade. These people are not just important because of who they were but because of who they followed; their inspiration was Christ.
Jesus was the innovator. Jesus turned this world upside down. Jesus was counter-cultural. Jesus was always showing us the profound meaning behind the scriptures. Jesus was showing us that everything starts with our hearts. Jesus. It’s Jesus. It’s all about Jesus.
The House of Medici was a banking family in Italy with money and power, in the late 14th century. They are known for putting their wealth toward “sponsorship of art and architecture, mainly early and High Renaissance art and architecture.”
The family sponsored Michelangelo, da Vinci and Galileo himself. Christian art and expression influenced entire fields of study– from art to philosophy, from writing to science. Oxford was the center of religious and political debates. The Oxford University coat of arms says, “God is my light.”
Religion was a lot less taboo back then. “God is my light” was written on the gates people walked through. Today, it’s a lot less acceptable. To be religious is to be thought a fanatic, a bigot, an intolerant person, a close-minded person– but we are not.
Through devoted Christians who spent time with God, the world was impacted. It was changed. Men who gave us scientific discoveries. Women who raised leaders. Writers who were lights during the darkest wars. Politicians who shaped the world’s history. Men who stood up for justice and led movements when everything was against them.
None of these people were perfect. I am not, either.
I believe that we are in an age of Christian Innovation. And I want to be a part of it. This means pointing people to Jesus in a real way. It means being transformed from the inside out. It requires standards. It requires boldness and a connectedness to the source of all wisdom, God our Father. It requires radical love.
I think some of our time’s greatest Christian innovators are people who are widely criticized. Jesus was also widely criticized. He went against religion, tradition and establishment and fulfilled it in love, while calling out sin, without exception. God’s goal has always been to transform us and have us reflect His holy image.
Kanye West has been in the news a lot, lately. People have been deciding whether or not his conversion is genuine. It’s ridiculous. We are called to have discernment, but who are we to think that we can know a person’s heart or experience? We have no say in that, just as people have no right to judge our own journey.
Below are people who have really made me think about Christian Innovation. Creatives that have broken through all of the traditional lines. Brothers and sisters who are boldly proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ, no matter what anyone thinks of them. It’s what all of us should be doing.
God always used flawed individuals in the past, and He will continue to use whomever is willing.
Leaving our mark can get a little messy. It requires the boldness to cover your hands in the blood of Christ and cover the world in it. We are called to be His hands and feet.
Her voice is GORGEOUS. Her talent is off the charts. I hope I get the opportunity to interview her because her music has moved me so much. Some have said she sounds like a Christian music Adele. She took a lot of heat for appearances on mainstream television, but handled it like a boss.
“I think the second we start drawing lines around which people are able to be approached and which aren’t, we’ve already completely missed the heart of God,” Daigle said.
“I don’t have all the answers in life and I’m definitely not gonna act like I do, but the one thing that I know for sure is I can’t choose who I’m supposed to be kind to and who I’m supposed to show love to and who I’m not, because that’s the mission right?” she continued.
“Be who Christ was to everyone.”
I had to include my favorite writer. He may not be with us now, but his writings continue to cut through our hearts like a spear. From Mere Christianity, which came from his talks on the radio for soldiers fighting in World War II, to his Chronicles of Narnia– he reminds us of God’s immeasurable love. He always leaves us with the confession of his transformation– he was an atheist changed by the blood of a Savior whose love he spent the rest of his life trying to explain to us.
“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
“If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.”
I heard an interview of Kanye with Jimmy Kimmel. He talked about Christian Innovation, and he said this is the time. I want Kanye to be right, but that responsibility rests with each one of us.
Kanye’s album, Jesus is King, has been playing everywhere. He is unabashedly declaring the name of Christ.
Let’s let people change because God is changing us. It’s about who we are becoming, not about who we have been. Healing is real. God is real.
“This ain’t ’bout a […] religion– Jesus brought a revolution.”
I don’t think I have been moved by a pastor quite as much as Erwin McManus’ words have moved me. God has used him powerfully, and continues to do so. He speaks so openly about where he has come from, what he has healed from, and the fact that he is a changed man because Jesus found Him along the way.
“I became a Christian because I met God.”
“Jesus’s early followers formed a movement of dreamers and visionaries.”
“Since part of our creative responsibility is to move from imagination to image, we need to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ and allow our imagination once again to be the playground of God. And once our dreams and visions are the material that has been passed on to us by a divine imagination, then it is time to dream, to risk, and to create.”
Erwin McManus once said, “Whoever tells the best story shapes the culture.”
I pray that every day, we can allow God to write the best story– through us. Let’s shape our culture. Who are your favorite innovators? How do you see yourself in this moment of Christian Innovation? Pray about it.
“We’re a part of the insurrection, trying to turn Christianity upside down.” Erwin McManus
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16
MAKE YOUR LIST!
Share your lists with us on stories or post on IG, and tag us @modernwitnesses_ and #7daysofgratitude.
Today, tell someone about what the power of God is doing in your life, right now. The journey isn’t over. The transformation in our hearts starts now, if we let Him, and as it spills over, we declare to the world that there is power in the blood of Christ. Our Messiah. Our Savior. God with us.