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Ice Cream Creativity

Ice CreamWould you carry ice-cream in your pocket? Before you say “No”, consider the possibilities of how you could do that.  “Imagination is the one weapon in the war against reality.” (Gaultier)

 Caterina abandoned her baby Leonard to her boyfriend, moved away and married someone else. Neither she nor her boyfriend wanted to give the baby their family name, so he grew up with the surname of a nearby mountain: Leonard Albano.

Leonard was an unwanted child, left to grow up in a remote region without comic books or video games. He spent his time roaming the forests and mountains and falling in love with animals. People laughed at him so he secluded himself from them. He had estranged parents, a broken home and odd people relationships so he replaced them by taking deep journeys into his mind and scribbling random thoughts into notebooks. Socially, he was severely disabled but he had a vivid imagination. No publisher has willingly published his scribbles but Bill Gates recently paid $30 million for just one of Leonard’s notebooks.

Leonard was quite clever but was easily distracted. He struggled to stay focused long enough to finish anything. Infinitely curious, he grew up becoming an inventor, architect, anatomist, sculptor, engineer, geometer, futurist, and painter. Sigmund Freud said: “Leonard was like a man who awoke too early in the darkness while everyone else was still asleep.” When he became an adult he lost the surname of the mountain and was known by the village he came from: Leonard of Vinci.

Leonardo conceived ideas of things ahead of his time: helicopter, military tank, calculator, double hull ships, theory of plate tectonics, and the use of concentrated solar power. Very few of his designs were feasible during his lifetime, so they were not constructed. The greatness of his ideas was not recognized. That would be a traumatic disability in itself, but he was not hung up on details nor was he driven by a need to prove or disprove his observations. If he had, he probably would never have been able to contribute such a vast array of knowledge in the fields of anatomy, astronomy, civil engineering, optics, and hydrodynamics.

People Secretly Fear Creative Ideas

Someone took me aside one time and suggested that I carefully think about the consequences of my own creativity. Until that time I had never seriously considered myself as being particularly creative. I just did things! Often I heard statements like: “off the wall” or “out of the box”. It wasn’t that my ideas and actions were wrong BUT that they were scaring the colleagues I was working alongside!

Do you really value creativity? Folks say they want more creative people, more creative ideas, creative solutions, but do they really? We say: “Creativity is good, we want more of it!” but we actually reject creative ideas as being impractical. That is because creativity requires uncertainty. Creativity is trying to do something that hasn’t been done before. Actually, creativity is an inherent quality given to each of us by our Creator. But because it includes uncertainty, we unlearn it. Uncertainty is a state that we try to escape from. We say to ourselves: “we know how to do things that we’ve done before, but new things are mysterious. How will we achieve it? Is it practical? What could go wrong?” And the feelings of uncertainty make it harder to turn loose a creative idea. We end up doing the same old things just to avoid feeling uncertain.

For all the talk of creativity in business AND churches, there is strong evidence that it is discouraged. Leaders say they want creative ideas, but surveys indicate that creativity gets rejected in favour of conformity and uniformity. I know! I’ve tried it! But I will confess that creativity does have more of a free reign in a less-Satan infected heritage than in any other culture. Amen for that.

So would you take your ice cream home in your pocket? My sister, Cathy, has a fabulous recipe for gourmet ice-cream. You can read about it on her web site  It is so good that I tell people all around the world about it. And of course, they jokingly ask for some. No problem! I just send it to them in the mail! Check her web and discover the creative solution. THEN APPLY YOUR CREATIVITY AND ORDER SOME!

I’ve been home for three weeks and it feels so good to settle into routine! (At home, I’m in control of the uncertainty!) But on Easter Monday I leave for India, the beginning of six weeks travel around Asia and Africa.

Equipping remote saints through creativity … john


(original e-newsletter post –  April 4, 2012)


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