What does a Christian Creative do with their gift?
This is the question that Irrevocable Gifts, a collection of essays by six Christian creative practitioners, addresses.
“Creating is making meaning of life,” Dawn Fung writes in the Introduction. “For Christians, the process and fruit are meditative, so much that we often blur the lines between divinity and expression.” Often, they are torn between staying true to biblical principles while expressing themselves freely.
The book title is based on Romans 11:29: that whatever the gifts God has given you, they are irrevocable. The six creatives—Dawn, a songwriter; Bernice Lee, an editor; Emily Lim-Leh, a children’s book author; Madeline Ang, a poet; Favian Ee, an artist; and Calvin Chong, a musician—lay bare their struggles to reconcile their gifts with their calling in life.
Creativity is sometimes not just an art, but a science, as told by Calvin, who is a keen collector of ethnic flutes from the world over. Being able to play requires not just passion, but technical know-how. “Good art,” he relates, “like good ministry, requires much preparation, patience, and persistence.”
Especially touching is the chapter by Emily, an award-winning children’s book writer who lost her voice to a rare disorder and was later diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer in 2016. But in losing her ability to articulate vocally, she discovered a gift for storytelling that helped her and her family through the difficult period of cancer recovery.
While the book arrives at no simple answers, it closes with reflection questions crafted by each the authors for readers to come up with their own. Whether the reader’s spiritual gift is of the creative variety or otherwise, the writers hope that their sharing will stimulate deep conversations in readers’ lives and ministry.
Sheri Goh is the Editor of Methodist Message.
Book cover visual courtesy of The Group