Courting Imagination

— Andy Wade —

Photo by Andy WadeFollowing on my last post, “Stop Stimulating Me!“, it seemed appropriate to talk about foreplay. At least that’s how Janine Benyus talks about much of the amazing creation that goes on continually right under our noses (video below).

The area of bio-mimicry is one that is truly fascinating and is finally beginning to get the attention it deserves. As a God-imagined source for stimulating our own creativity, bio-mimicry presents our greatest resource for moving into a healthier, more sustainable future.

For those who don’t know, bio-mimicry in it’s simplest form is simply looking at nature, how it functions, how it creates, how it becomes sustainable, and then transferring those ideas or methods to issues that we face. Or as Benyus puts it, “biomimicry is the conscious emulation of life’s genius.”

In a very basic sense, this is how permaculture developed. Permaculture is simply recreating in our gardens or farms the conditions which naturally occur in the wild which result in sustainable, healthy soils and plants. (OK, that’s a bit of an over-simplification, but you get the idea).

There is a wonderful line in the letter to the Romans that is often lost in the larger discussion of sin and judgement:

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.  (Romans 1:21)

Nature cries out the glory, majesty, power, and amazing creative imagination of God… but we often fail to even notice. When we destroy nature by bending it to our consumeristic desires, we create an idol of our greed even as nature groans and bears testimony against us.

But what if we stopped, un-caged our senses, and began to learn from the master designer?  As Benyus states, “Learning about the natural world is one thing. Learning from the natural world, that’s the profound switch.”  I contend that learning from the natural world is simply another avenue to learning from God.

The Ted Talk below is from 2007 but it’s a great introduction to a new way of looking at the world. As I listened to this talk and reflected on my own inspiration from God through nature in the garden, I began to see how important it is to pay attention to what stimulates our imaginations. There are, after all, healthy and unhealthy sources of creative stimulation.

Watch the video then take some time to walk out into God’s creation. Look closely, listen, smell, touch, learn. Then take some time to reflect:

  • Can you identify the positive and negative stimuli in your life?
  • Can you see ways where your lifestyle has diminished your ability to hear God’s voice, God’s lessons from creation?
  • Looking at the passage from Romans in this light, can you identify ways in which the lifestyle choices you make could actually be considered idolatrous?
  • How could you make learning from God’s creative genius in nature a regular routine in your life?