Are you a right-brained Christian who enjoys change for the sake of change and likes to experiment with new things? Or are you a left-brained Christian who wants things to stay the same forever because something new feels threatening?
If you’re a right-brained Christian, are you stuck in a church that feels like itchy clothes that don’t fit? Or have you left the church in frustration because the church minimizes your talents, tells you to “conform” to the body of Christ, and makes you feel guilty for wanting something more?
I can say from personal experience how challenging—almost impossible—it is for right-brained Christians to feel comfortable and accepted in churches today. I have begun writing about left and right brained approaches to the Bible and my heart is moving in this direction to help educate the church. That’s why I was excited to discover Leonard Sweet has recognized the same trend and is speaking out about it.
Churches and Right-Brained People
Take a listen to Leonard Sweet describe why churches are afraid of right-brained people.
By the way, I really liked how that video was produced with the collage of video clips throughout. That is right-brained creativity at work and it can be used for the glory of God in so many ways, but the church is too reluctant to let right-brained Christians thrive.
It’s not like there should be a massive divide. After all, we all use both sides of our brain. Take a look at this example guaranteed to make you smile.
When we kiss someone, we don’t left brain it; we right brain a kiss. We don’t analyze a kiss before we do it, or plan it out according to some rule of thumb. We just make it up as we go along, following the signs, signals, and feedback loops of the one we’re kissing. We “kiss” life the same way.
–Leonard Sweet, The Well-Played Life, page 86.
The following excerpt from Leonard Sweet’s book, The Well-Played Life: Why Pleasing God Doesn’t Have to Be Such Hard Work, describes how much celebration was part of Jesus’ ministry and how Christianity used to be a celebratory culture of carnivals and festivities.
Jesus set up a party theme early in his ministry, with his coming-out miracle at the wedding in Cana and with a slew of party-crashing and missed-party stories.
The Gospels serve up a feast of feast stories. Is it even possible to read them without getting hungry? Jesus always seems to have food in his hands—from his first wedding feast to his last supper . . . and then those Resurrection meals. The Gospels are one giant block party. In many of these party scenes, Jesus eats as readily with publicans and prostitutes as with the cocky Pharisees and the colossally rich. You might even say he came to cross party lines with party times. If we deleted all the parties from the Gospel of Luke, where “the Son of Man came eating and drinking,” it would be a mighty thin book. One of the (many) criticisms of Jesus was that he enjoyed life a little too much. Have you been criticized for excessive celebration recently? Is it possible that God moves as much at a party or barbecue as at an ecclesiastical service?
I suspect that a prime reason why Bethany was Jesus’ favorite place on earth was because he enjoyed Martha’s cooking. The problem was that feeding Jesus had become work for Martha, not play. . . .
. . .
Before much of the church sold out to a muted and moderate Gutenberg culture of words and propositions, Christianity itself was a celebratory culture of feast days and carnivals and festivities where artists of various media were employed to design architectural settings, paintings, music, clothes, food, sporting events, dancing, speeches, liturgy, movement. Festivals were as dynamic and dramatic, authentic and lunatic, noisome and fulsome as life itself. When people think of plays, they think of somber, serious stage presentations. But “plays” were festivals. After Shakespeare’s plays, even performances of Julius Caesar and Richard III, people in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries left Shakespeare’s Globe Theater clapping, tapping their feet, and dancing along with the players. If life is played with adventure and a partying spirit, life itself becomes a festival culture, a fandango of faith, where we leave our seats skipping and dancing to the tune of the Creator.
. . .
Celebrating the joy of everyday living is only the beginning of our adventure with the Lord of all life.
–Leonard Sweet, The Well-Played Life, pages 82-84.
It makes me think of how the Church commissioned Leonardo da Vinci and other artists to paint marvelously intricate depictions of Bible stories on the walls and even the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Churches often paid artists to paint, sculpt, or create stained-glass windows because it was one way to introduce the population to the beauty of art (they lived drab, difficult lives back then). Plus, the Church of that generation recognized that the way to honor the Creator is through creation. Artists have an ability to honor God and draw others into worship by performing the art they were gifted to create.
Stifling art does not honor God. It does not edify the Church. And it causes creative souls to wither and die inside.
I pray for the day that churches will have an “author in residence” who is paid by the church to write for the glory of God and the edification of the saints. Likewise, churches could have an “artist in residence” who is paid to create beautiful hand-painted scenes on the church walls.
Does this spark any ideas for you? How could churches be more supportive of right-brained Christians?
Check out Leonard Sweet’s book, The Well-Played Life: Why Pleasing God Doesn’t Have to Be Such Hard Work. It is available from Amazon in paperback or Kindle editions or from Christianbook.com in paperback or ePub.
|The Well-Played Life: Why Pleasing God Doesn’t Have to Be Such Hard WorkBy Leonard Sweet / Tyndale House
Are you clutching life’s wheel too hard? Are you so busy sitting in the driver’s seat that you fail to recognize the Well-Played Life God wants to share with you? Leonard Sweet helps you unclench your teeth, loosen your grip, and embark on an adventure filled with the fruitfulness and creativity of living in God’s pleasure! 240 pages, softcover, Tyndale.
This post is part of the Virtual Book Fair: Christian Authors A to Z. See the list of other authors featured in the Virtual Book Fair.