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The Perils Of Creative Thinking — 26 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for this post! I have often noted that my mind sometimes sees thinks differently than the norm. I remember being told that I asked too many questions when I was a child. It turns out that I was simply very inquisitive and very creative. Today I thank God for google! Thank you for reminding me that God made me different to make a difference. God bless you.

  2. This post was for very inspiring because I always do things differently. My first question would be "will Jesus be happy with it?" If the answer is "yes", then the first problem is solved. Then, HE will give me wisdom to deal with the usual human opposition.

  3. I think that creative thinking is ok. However there is time and place for everything. If we are running a new member and/or non-member Sabbath Shool class (evangilism SS class). We would wanted to avoid speculative or theory discussion as a product of our creative thinking, to avoid distraction from evangelism. We come to SS and look the around room, and may decide to keep the creative thinking to ourselves.

    • There is a difference between creative thinking and speculative thinking. A creative thinker would be thinking how to engage the new-member or non-member with the Gospel. Often that involves thinking about new ways of communicating. Could be that we should even spend more time listing to new members than talking to them.

  4. Dear William
    Our church is very much in a box. Creativity is what makes life interesting, but some insist that we have always done things a certain way, we have to keep it that way. Sabbath School must start at 9:30
    even only a very few come at that hour. The Idea that there may be no independent thought is killing the church. Only old people are attending. Sincerely John

    • John, the only thing "killing" the church is unbelief. We need to make sure that our creative thought isn't expressing unbelief.

      It is sad that 9:30 AM is too early for so many these days, though they start their work days much earlier I would expect. We too have a very small group at the beginning of SS, but those truly interested are always on time and ready to start. I don't think catering to the indifferent is our need, nor will it fix the problem.

      Regarding independent thought, what does the Bible teach us?
      Deut 8:3
      Prov 3:5,6
      Prov 16:25
      2 Cor 10:5

      The Bible seems to guide us into submitting our independent thoughts and living by God's Word. We are sinners after all, and it was independent thought that led mankind into sin. It was independent thought that led Lucifer to rebel against the One who gave him Life, and sustains it.

      • Robert, it seems to me that what John is referring to is the tendency for some individuals to believe that their sense of propriety reflects the mind of God. While traditions are not necessarily bad, they do not originate from the mouth of God.

        That Sabbath School must start at 9:30 was not dictated by God, for instance. Nor was the order of service. Nor was any style of music. Nor was it dictated that Sabbath School must precede the church service. For parents with small children, for instance, a reversal of the order can be very helpful, because it is easier for small children to sit still for a while when they can look forward to an active time in Sabbath School.

        I do not understand how you consider the texts you cite to be related do the subject of William's post. We are to submit ourselves to God, but no man or woman is to submit their judgment to those who have a tendency to force their understanding of God's will on others.

        When we each submit our wills to God, He leads us in ways that may well bring us in conflict with those who consider themselves capable of being conscience for others. That's what happened to Jesus, and it still happens to His followers.

        • Inge, our church reversed the order and the result? Packed to over-flowing Sabbath School classes. It really works.

      • I like to think that independent thought or creative thinking also made Creation into being. I believe Jesus thought also out of the box when He planned to save mankind even before creating man so that we can be assured to be at His side no matter what happens. And who would have thought how Jesus would feed the 5,000 men (not counting women and children)? I think creative thinking has a definite place even in church when it is used to help clarify a lesson or help in a crisis.

      • I enjoyed this comment, at the end of the day we should surrender or thoughts to God, we should depend on Him to guide us through His Holy Spirit and Word. And if the word thinks we are odd then so be it... we thank God in everything and give Him glory.

  5. That was a brilliant and insightful piece of writing. The Bible is the Living Word, and as such it should come with freshness. This is no indictment however, on those who do not need the mental and spiritual stimulation, and prefer their nutrients served the same way, every day.

  6. Truly intense!Thanks for allowing God to use you to share such a great perspective. I pray that we may all give ourselves room to receive of the Mind of the Most creative One Who ever walked this earth - Jesus!

    • William I think there may be some similarities in our inquisitive minds. I have questions just about every week regarding something I am not completely clear about. Some of my understanding is outside the box that you mention, so when something that is represented as fact, may not be totally factual in my mind, it stimulates through investigation. At the same time I hate change for the sake of change. There has to be a need for me to accept change. I mentioned before that I try to stimulate class discussion in our SS classes, and thinking outside the box makes it easy.

  7. Thank you, brother Earnhardt, for giving permission for thinking out of the box. I know it is dangerous, but it is also dangerous to stay in the box and stagnate to the point of selfishness as the Jews had done at the time of Jesus' birth. I think we have the same condition possible today if we don't allow the Holy Spirit to be the motivation of our thoughts and feelings. Whether we are in the box or out of the box, truth comes from God. Our imaginations can be faulty and our orthodox (in the box) thinking can be faulty as well, but thank God He can bring all into truth and good order in our lives.

  8. I also think two things:

    1. We need to forbear with one another. In fact, we need to love one another. We need to resist the idea that people who think differently to ourselves are less logical or reasonable than we are.

    This is difficult.

    When you invest in an opinion, you don't desire to hold it "wishy-washily"--so you really think that is as close to absolute truth as it is possible to get. To admit otherwise would be to say that you cannot make sense of the world.

    Forbearance and love means that we can accept people even if we don't see things their way.

    2. Many people (myself included) have a tendency to do religion "by feel".
    Something has to "feel right" in order to be accepted.

    In a sense it is easier to do what is familiar if you already know it's "approved" by God--than to experiment and risk His burning wrath.

    Underlying this idea/feeling is a terrible view of the character of God--that has been long in dying (if we ever tried to kill it in the first place).
    The idea that God is demanding and arbitrary--and that He has a right to be.

    Some of it may even be pagan--i.e. the idea that if we do "these things"--which somehow please God--and do them in the right sequence and at the right times; then God will be at ease with us.
    The value of "these things" is never questioned. They are never evaluated on any other merit besides "God said so and how dare you?" (Real meaning: "This practice is so old/longstanding that God must have said so.")

    I know I said two--but one more thing:

    3. Right and wrong in "religion by feel" often tends to simply be "I grew up this way and therefore it must be correct."

    • Good points Andrew, and how important that we love each other no matter what our beliefs or opinions. Jesus was a creative thinker but still always Biblical. So we can be creative while still being Biblical.

  9. Your questions to me seem like rather natural questions and causes me to question if the teacher really understood the subject matter. If asked such a question I would attempt to explain how we determine if a land mass is an island or a continent. If I wasn't certain I would challenge the questioner and the class to find the answer. Your question was an opportunity to help students find the fun and the thrill of discovery and learning. I suspect the teacher had a lesson plan and the plan was more important than the student. Keep asking questions God is not bothered by it!

  10. THANK YOU FOR THIS! I am an out-of-the-box-thinker and I like to question and challenge every notion... which most church people think is heresy. How dare you think!!! But didn't God give me a working brain that thinks and wants to know?

    • Karina, I think God also says the same thing, "Come now, and let us reason together" (Isa. 1:18 NKJV). Jesus also wanted His disciples to think when he asked them, " What do you think" (Matt. 17:25 NKJV) which is found eight times in the gospels. Then there are the people of Berea who were not satisfied to simply accept everything told to them but rather they, "searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11 NKJV).

      As several people far more intelligent than me have said, "the Bible is a case book, not a code book." The Bible shows us applications of principles that we are to apply and that is something that requires thinking. Besides these obvious things why did God choose to put so much of the Bible in the form of symbolism which is sometimes somewhat ambiguous?

      • If God thought to restrict our thoughts He would have installed a limiter to our brains. However, we know God isn't that way. Can we then make a proposition,that If the Bible says it is God who is talking that we would be safe trusting His words 100% not because we have to but because we TRUST Him and His innate goodness. Everything else we keep an open mind to not simply to for the sake of being mavericks but because God wants us to use of the minds He gave us too?


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