Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

God and Disney World: Not Even a Thank You

Posted: June 24, 2011 by clairer in Creativity, Pride

Disney’s park Epcot is, in many ways, a celebration of the achievements of mankind. In one area of the park, Future World, there are attractions that show cutting-edge scientific discoveries to improve agriculture. There is a 4D movie theater in which you can soar over wonders of the world, feeling like you’re actually there. There is a ride that claims to be the “longest, fastest attraction in Disney history!” And Future World’s most prominent feature Spaceship Earth: a ride that drives you through a world of animatronics documenting the rise and progression of communication throughout history.

While these things were fascinating and fun to see, there was a distinct feeling that something was missing in all of these displays and shows. Disney, like much of American society, was celebrating all these achievements — these gifts from God — without acknowledgement of the Giver. In fact, many times it celebrated these things while blatantly denying the Creator.

For example, Spaceship Earth’s “History of Communication” display was a really interesting survey of history…except that the starting point was a less-than evolved civilization that lived in caves and spoke through grunts to one another. Not only is this a complete denial of the intelligence and dignity that God gave each human from the beginning of the world, but the display also completely rejects the role that God had in creating the world. As if that’s not enough, the narrator on the ride goes on to talk about the advances in technology and communication as if we, mankind, did it entirely on our own through our innate intelligence. We invented the alphabet. We discovered paper. We invented the printing press. And we “sailed into a bold, new era of communication bringing an explosion of tools and technologies which would bridge people around the world as never before.”

True, from a human perspective, “we” did all this. The Phoenicians invented the alphabet, the Egyptians discovered papyrus, and Gutenberg manufactured the first printing press. However, from a Christian perspective, we’re aware that God was behind all of these discoveries and inventions. God was the one who created humans “in His image,” with the intellect and reasoning ability to create and explore. God was the one who created the rules language…and the one who confused man’s language at the Tower of Babel. God was the creator of papyrus, of the wood and metal that the printing press was made from, and the materials we use today to communicate with one another. God was the one who inspired the minds of those who created these means of communication.

And yet, when we’re celebrating that gift — the technological advances of mankind — how do we thank the Giver? How do we show our thankfulness to the one who created and inspired us? We ignore him. Worse, we deny His existence and take credit for these advances ourselves.

I don’t think Disney is the only culprit here. Too often, I take the gift and forget to acknowledge the Giver. How often have I been praised for my talents, giftings, and abilities and merely accepted those compliments without giving credit to God or without Him even entering my thoughts? How often do I wake up in the morning and go about my day without pausing to thank God for the everyday blessings — breath, food, shelter, family, freedom, and education — that He has provided for me? How often do I pray for something and then forget to return to thank God for the answer to prayer (much like nine of the ten leapers that Jesus healed)?

Christians, in particular, should be the most thankful people on earth. Not only does God provide for all our needs, but he has also solved our greatest problem — He saved us from our sins and gave us eternal life with Him. Do we stop each day and thank Him for that? Or is the gospel something we take for granted?

Our thankfulness and acknowledgement of God doesn’t have to be cumbersome or flashy. It should be an attitude that we adopt. Living thankfully doesn’t mean that every time someone compliments us, we say, “Oh, you should thank God; it’s not me.” But that should be the attitude in our hearts whenever someone praises us. We should view praise and compliments as a reflection on God’s creativity and strength, not our abilities achieved through our hard work. Instead of pridefully allowing such compliments to make us feel good, we should use those occasions to humbly (and often, quietly) thank God for the gifts he has given us.

Living in this manner not only glorifies God (because it acknowledges His power and His creativity over our own), but it also gives us joy in our lives. If we view each blessing (even everyday ones) as an undeserved gift from God, our day is full of joyful celebrations. If we’re focused on thanking God for the blessings that God has given us, our minds will be too occupied by these gifts to think about the things we’re not content with. It transforms our complaining hearts to gratified hearts.

So, as you go through your day, try to take time to notice the gifts that God has surrounded you with and take a moment to just pause and thank Him. If you can take time to write a thank you note to someone who gives you a gift for your birthday, can’t you take just a moment to thank the God who gives you life?

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God and Disney World: Creativity

Posted: June 22, 2011 by clairer in Creativity

We had beautiful weather for my family’s 10-day vacation in Florida. The sun shone, the sky stayed blue and cloudless, and even the temperature generally stayed below 100 degrees. It was perfect…except for the night when we were supposed to attend the sound and lights water show at the Hollywood Studios Disney park. Then the storm came. As we drove back to our hotel amid the rumbles of thunder, the spectacular flashes of lighting, and the pouring rain, my brother made an interesting comment: We may have missed out on Disney’s show, but we were getting a magnificent sound and lights water show from God — on a far greater scale than Disney could ever accomplish.

As I reflected on that comment, I realized how true that was of so much of Disney World. I loved the Disney attractions. I enjoyed the boat rides that took me through worlds of animatronics, the safaris that drove me through the “plains of Africa,” and the rides that flew me over the canyons and forests of the world and through waterfalls and jungles. All these things were fun to see and do, but none of these attractions were real. They were all copies and simulations of the real thing. They were replications of the real world that God created.

I think it’s interesting that one of the most creative companies in the world still could not even come close to the creativity and ingenuity of our Creator. True, Disney could make human being animatronics, but these “humans” were stiff, robotic, brainless, and only a shadow of the beauty and creativity of true living humans that God has fashioned. Disney could take tourists through rain forests of the Amazon and desserts of Africa, but only by means of fake plastic plants and gigantic movie screens. Even the attractions with living creatures — like the Safari in Animal Kingdom — was a simulation of the greater natural and free creation God made in the real African plains. In the end, the best that Disney could offer its visitors was a shallow and condensed reflection of God’s world.

This really shows the wonderful power and creativity of our God. Mankind’s power to create is limited. We may think we’re creative, inventive, and powerful, but in the end, our best is easily beat by God. Think of all the greatest accomplishments that mankind has achieved. We are able to communicate with each other from around the world without wires. God was able to communicate from heaven to earth starting in Genesis. We are able to send men into space to explore planets, stars, moons, and galaxies (although we have yet to land on a planet or go very far into our own galaxy). God created the universe and knows each star by name. We are discovering cures to a whole host of diseases. God has been healing people throughout history.

Ultimately, the greatest things we do as mankind are dim reflections of the beauty, creativity, ingenuity, and power that our sovereign God has already displayed. In fact, the most creative and brilliant minds that are a part of Disney…those minds were hand-crafted by the ultimate Creator.