Developing Interdisciplinary Creativity and Wisdom
I continue to be in awe regarding the subject of creativity. From my perspective, God is the fountainhead of creation and creativity. and God has distributed this gift freely to the just and the unjust. Some of the most influential people alive today and in history have developed creative and interdisciplinary roles in life. For example, the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas studied film production and architecture, founded a magazine and graphics company and was basically hired to help "redesign" Europe in accordance with the Roadmap 2050 project. Koolhaas is also in demand as a teacher by academic institutions around the world. Koolhaas is quoted as saying, "I'd say that my profession ends where architectural
thinking ends - architectural thinking in terms of thinking about
programs and organizational structure. These abstractions play a role in
many other disciplines, and those disciplines are now defining their
'architectures' as well."
When I graduated from the Cooper Union architecture college, I didn't realize at the time I would end up serving as a missionary for 10 years, that I would produce 3 music CDs, and that I would develop a love for journalism, logic and philosophy. But, as a Christian, I've found that God often has plans that are not necessarily what we would have designed or dreamed of. And no matter what we may be doing specifically in our lives, we may seek to grow in wisdom, which will influence all that we do. God's wisdom and guidance tend to allow for a wider perspective and view of life.
I've done some foolish things in life. I've acted impulsively and let my emotions rule. But when I've sought God for specific answers to specific questions, I've noticed that God does provide such answers. As I've been living in Ukraine, people have asked me to teach at economic and business schools so that I may help with English, and also because the content of the lessons has been interesting. As a pastor of a small church, I've loved to teach on spiritual themes. But I also love to teach on business, marketing, design and creativity. And I've had the opportunity to teach on these types of subjects at colleges and institutes while in Ukraine
David and Solomon exemplify creative interdisciplinary wisdom
Though they made their share of mistakes, the lives of Kings David and Solomon are good examples of how God may develop interdisciplinary creativity and broaden one's horizons. David, the second king of Israel, began with the role of a shepherd as a young boy. But throughout his life he would serve in a number of overlapping roles, including military commander, king, writer, musician, craftsman and architect. Many of the lessons David learned as a young shepherd were useful later in life as his leadership roles grew and diversified.
David himself noted how certain experiences in one phase of life prepared him for the next series of challenges. For example, when David was preparing to take on Goliath the giant warrior, David explained that killing lions and bears as a shepherd had prepared him for this challenge, as noted in 1 Samuel 17. 33-37. David's role as a shepherd was also helpful as a means of understanding and portraying theological knowledge. David's 23rd Psalm is incredibly powerful because it portrays deep insights about our relationship with God in the language of a shepherd who understands the true nature of a sincere shepherd in relation to his flock. Though David fulfilled a number of roles, he was remembered in his eulogy ultimately as "the sweet Psalmist of Israel" in 2 Samuel 23.1.
David's sense of awe in worshiping God may well have been developed as he spent so many hours and days out in the beauty of nature. His writing captures this sense of awe and it seems this love of worship enabled him to become an avid worship leader and the one who first organized and trained the many worship teams that would occupy the temple of Jerusalem. 1 Chronicles 16: 4 – 6 outlines this while 1 Chronicles 25: 1 – 8 offers more detail:
"David, together with the commanders of the army, set apart some of the sons of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun for the ministry of prophesying, accompanied by harps, lyres and cymbals. Here is the list of the men who performed this service… All these men were under the supervision of their fathers for the music of the temple of the LORD, with cymbals, lyres and harps, for the ministry at the house of God. Asaph, Jeduthun and Heman were under the supervision of the king. Along with their relatives—all of them trained and skilled in music for the LORD -they numbered 288."
David was involved in craftsmanship as a means of creating musical instruments for worshiping God. "The priests took their positions, as did the Levites with the LORD's musical instruments, which King David had made for praising the LORD and which were used when he gave thanks, saying, "His love endures forever." Opposite the Levites, the priests blew their trumpets, and all the Israelites were standing.", as noted in 2 Chronicles 7.6 (NIV).
Though David did not construct the temple, God gave David insight for all the details of the building plans. David drew them up and had everything prepared for his son Solomon. "All this," David said, "I have in writing from the hand of the LORD upon me, and he gave me understanding in all the details of the plan.", described in 1 Chronicles 28.19 (NIV). This represents another characteristic of interdisciplinary thinkers, they often give credit to God for their insights.
King Solomon's multi-faceted wisdom
Solomon did not seem to be a leader with very much potential until he was zapped one night with wisdom endowed from God. In 1 Kings chapter 3 we see how King Solomon wasn't interested in money or power, but mainly desired wisdom so as to lead the people of Israel, and so God did give him wisdom. And God gave him great riches as well. The fact is that wisdom and creativity have great value in and of themselves. For example, a single catchy song can be worth quite a bit. Microsoft allegedly paid the Rolling Stones $9 million to use their hit “Start
Me Up” in its Windows 95 advertisements. Also, advertising companies make a fortune coming up with catchy ad phrases and ad campaigns.
After Solomon had his wisdom zap, he was basically wisdom unchained. Wisdom seemed to flow out in every direction. Solomon's wisdom was on display immediately after this experience when he perceived an insightful solution to an argument between two mothers over the ownership of a child described in 1 Kings 3.16-22. We see the scope of Solomon's wisdom displayed in the vastness of his writings, the growth of his renown and his growing reputation as the foremost biologist and botanist in the land as described in 1 Kings 4:29-34:
"God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment; the breadth of his understanding was as infinite as the sand on the seashore. 30 Solomon was wiser than all the men of the east and all the sages of Egypt. He was wiser than any man, including Ethan the Ezrahite or Heman, Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol. He was famous in all the neighboring nations. He composed three thousand proverbs and a thousand and five songs. He produced manuals on botany, describing every kind of plant, from the cedars of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows on walls. He also produced manuals on biology, describing animals, birds, insects, and fish. 34 People from all nations came to hear Solomon’s display of wisdom; they came from all the kings of the earth who heard of his wisdom."
Like his father David, Solomon gave credit to God for his insight as noted in Proverbs 8.12: "I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions."(KJV). And Solomon's book Ecclesiastes is a testimony of his philosophical discernment. Though Solomon began his reign as king well, he gradually lost sight of the fact that God is the reference point of all truth and his life became a bit miserable as he fell into idolatry. His unchained wisdom turned into wisdom in chains, so to speak.
Though we can neither gain certain gifts and talents at will, nor can we simply choose to be zapped by God's wisdom, we do have the choice develop a worshipful lifestyle and an unselfish servant's heart. If we seek God with all our hearts and seek to grow in wisdom day by day as we study God's word, then God's wisdom will grow in us day by day.
As David was willing to use his talents for God's glory, God gradually increased the scope of David's life and work to the point where he was serving in many different roles. And when Solomon asked for wisdom unselfishly for the purpose of helping to lead others, God gave it to him and his wisdom overflowed into many interdisciplinary functions. The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart.
Tags: David as an object lesson, David as worship leader, David as instrument maker, David as architect, Solomon as biologist, Solomon as botanist, Solomon as philosopher, the value of creativity, how to be creative, how to find wisdom, lateral thinking, multi-dimensional life, how to invent a new idea or product, interdisciplinary learning methods, interdisciplinary teaching methods, multitasking vs interdisciplinary roles
Contact address: rickwarden *at* writeme.com