Do you know what shapes you?

— Andy Wade —

Imagination and innovation have become buzz words these days. But much of what we see really isn’t all that imaginative or innovative at all. I’ve been wondering about why this is. Why do we see so called “new things” that are really old things dressed up in new clothes?

I wonder why I can read in scripture, “if anyone is in Christ – new creation!” and yet my “new creation” is often the same old me with a bit of Jesus tossed on top? Literally, to be in Christ means to “repent”, to turn 180 degrees and face God. But I find it’s really much easier to keep walking the same direction but include more spiritual talk, thus convincing myself that all things really are new.

Innovation or imagination which sprouts from the same soil as the problems they seek to address are often really not all that new or effective. So what is it that keeps us planting in the same nutrient-deprived earth?

The old saying, “you are what you eat”, seems like a good place to start. What is it we consume that shapes our thinking, our creativity? In the Tedx talk below, Bassam Salem explores the influence of media on how we see the world; the crisis, the “problems”, the “solutions”, even our neighbors. This is such an important consideration.

Before we even begin to discuss what the problem is, let alone the solution, we have to dig beneath our perceptions to discover where that perception comes from. How was it shaped? Is it accurate? How does it agree or conflict with the vision of God’s kingdom we’re called to live into?

It’s just too easy to react to situations around us, believing that, because we read the right books, go to church, and call ourselves Christian (progressive, conservative, third-way), our reactions are in line with the purposes of God. I know I’m guilty of such knee-jerk reactions! The more difficult work is discernment and that discernment must begin with God’s healing, restorative purposes, not with political, cultural, or even denominational ideology.

Take a listen to Bassam’s talk. Are you guilty of any of the narrow perspectives he mentions? How might this shape your ability to be truly innovative?