Book Review: Called to Create

As a creator and aspiring entrepreneur who gets to work a day job supporting other creators, I was so excited to get my hands on Jordan Raynor’s book Called to Create, out this month from Baker Publishing.

Raynor presents the biblical case for creators, innovators, and risk takers to fulfill their callings not just in service, but in the marketplace.

I have been blessed to be part of creative Christian community that has fostered many of the concepts Raynor discusses as I’ve developed as a writer and content creator. Many are not as fortunate because, frankly, the evangelical church is not always the most encouraging a creative pursuits. The misconception that to serve God, you must be in full time ministry is tossed out Raynor’s front door on it’s ear before his introduction really gets rolling. What replaces it is the beautiful truth that God is a creator and therefore, we are also called to create.

Raynor writes in a simple and to-the-point fashion that can easily encourage and equip those for whom the discussion of creativity and innovation are not as encouraged, especially from a Christian perspective.

I thoroughly enjoyed the interviews and input from the likes of classic writers as well as successful business people and entrepreneurs. C.S. Lewis and Chick-Fil-A in the same book is always a win.

The book is broken up into four parts: calling, creating, challenges, and charge. Each unpacks a discussion about the philosophy and reality of the creative life. He addresses the need for risk-takers and innovators from the church. The book is a call to rally, renew, and flourish as artists, entrepreneurs, innovators, and world-changers. I was encouraged and empowered by Raynor’s book and I am so thankful.

I would recommend Called to Create for those who don’t yet have or are looking to foster a creative Christian community. I also think Raynor speaks firmly but encouragingly to the struggling innovator.

Filled with inspiration, experience, and evidence, Called to Create will have you ready to dig your hands into your next project.

Read an excerpt here.

Get your copy here.

Being present

photo-1431069767777-c37892aa0a07Instagram is the platform I’ve decided to stick with post-hiatus. It’s simple and visual and doesn’t take up too much of my time.

That said, I think our image-driven culture has created a new philosophical dilemma. Namely:

If a girl goes to a thing but doesn’t photograph it, was she really there?

I didn’t really think about it until I was at my first concert while on hiatus. And I enjoyed the whole thing. Including my favorite song.

Usually, attending a concert would be a huge social marketing undertaking in promoting myself and the fact that I would be present and whatever event.

There is the bought-the-“tix”-shot. (Seriously. “Tix.”)

And then the waiting-for-the-event-to-start-selfie…which actually does serve a purpose because what else are you going to do while you’re waiting? Conversing can be difficult in loud venues and selfies take no words!…
Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 10.44.51 PM
And finally the during-the-event photo or video. If you’re at a concert, video is expected, though possibly frowned upon by both copyright and the poor person trying to enjoy the concert behind you. But you have to capture your favorite song because if you don’t, is it really your favorite?!?!?!?!?

This is from a book signing, but same concept at play here...
This is from a book signing, but same concept at play here…

At this first hiatus concert, the artist started playing my favorite song and I got to really take in the moment. There wasn’t the mad grab for my bag during the intro and the struggle to get a good shot around that jerk in front with his selfie stick. No. While everyone around me was doing that, I was enjoying a song I loved with the artist right there playing right then. There was no screen between him and I. Just good music.

Because what is the point of going to a show if you’re going to spend it on your phone? You could see hours of that on YouTube. And are you going to tell me you’re actually going to excitedly sit down to watch that concert back with poor audio on that tiny screen? And I don’t care what improvements Apple makes to video, it’s still not going to be the same.

Don’t miss the moment because you are trying to capture it. Take it in. Savor it. Let it go.  I promise, it makes the special moments that much richer.

Carbonated Holiness Among Other Things

I had the privileged of attending the Festival of Faith and Writing hosted by Calvin College two weeks ago. What a wonderful opportunity to be refreshed and taught by so many amazing writers. It was also great to connect with old writing friends and make some new ones. Plus there were some networking opportunities… ew. Networking.

Coming away from such a very full weekend, I discovered I had a lot of things to process, notes to sift through, and books to read. I am now excited to share with you some of the pieces of wisdom I took from the weekend. The following quotes are either from speakers or where used by speakers throughout the weekend.Some of them may not make sense, I’ve tried my best to take them down in context… it also becomes the Anne Lamott show in the middle there…with closed captions provided by Bret Lott (serious gold coming from those two!). I hope you’re able to get a small piece of how wonderful the weekend was.  Enjoy!

Art gives us a map of who we are and where we fit. The next generation will need that map.
–Gene Luen Yang

Make good friends with really accomplished dead people.
–Scott Cairns on reading well 

We are people of the word. Words matter because they carry ideas and ideas rule the world.
–Richard Foster

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is like the difference between lightening and a lightening bug.
–Mark Twain

And What I believed in I wished to behold
–Charlotte Bronte 

It was the stuff I needed to write to get what I was after
–Anne Lamott

I all have to offer as a writer–as a Christian–is my version of things.
–Anne Lamott

You don’t take God to the lovely living room. You welcome him into the bedroom and say ‘I think there’s a couple drawers you need to see.’

Laughter is carbonated holiness.
–Anne Lamott 

To be a writer you have to be a good liar. So how do you lie for Christ? You must write with the integrity of Christ. You must write the truth–in love and compassion, but with dark reality.
–Bret Lott

I thought what you did was a tool–a utility. I had the idea that art was a utility; it wasn’t a manifestation of God. Our creativity is a manifestation of God’s image.
–Bret Lott 

The self-importance of being ‘a writer’ leads to the arrogance of metaphor and similie and overly adjectived sentences. The author’s gotta be the last person you hear from.
–Bret Lott

You strip out everything you think the story should be about and write the story. We must be humble before the story–humble before the words.
–Bret Lott. 

There something about writing fiction that is like wearing your underwear in front of the world
–Suzanne Woods Fisher (This was the second time I had heard this sentiment, the first was from a friend and fellow fiction writer–One of those moments of ‘what have I gotten myself into.’)

The poet’s eye, in a fine frenzy rolling, doth glance from heaven to Earth, from Earth to heaven; and as imagination bodies forth the forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen turns them to shape and gives to airy nothing a local habitation and a name.
–William Shakespeare