J Scott McElroy

Posts Tagged ‘Finding Divine Inspiration’

Every Blog Has its Day

In Christian Art, Uncategorized on October 3, 2014 at 5:37 pm

The Finding Divine Inspiration blog is moving! Well, Sort of.  This site will still be up as an archive, but I’m now blogging at my primary website, JScottMcElroy.com, as part of a grand plan to consolidate websites and blogs. The FindingDivineInspiration.com book site is also now consolidated into JScottMcElroy.com, and when The Creative Church Handbook: Releasing the Power of the Arts in Your Congregation (IVP) releases in 2015, it will be hosted on the main site, as well.

The revamped JScottMcElroy.com site is still under construction, so its  a little rough, but the blog is live there. So come on over and join me! If you’ve subscribed to this site, you’ve already been added to the new site! But if you are new, just fill in the info next to the “Subscribe” button in the sidebar on the new site.  Also, I’ll be sharing thoughts much more regularly than in the past.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you soon at the new site!

 

Advertisements

Insightful Thoughts on Writing

In Creativity, Writing on May 30, 2013 at 4:31 pm

(Note: You’ve come upon an archive site. Scott is now blogging at JScottMcElroy.com. These and fresh posts can be seen there! )

Though I do feel “compelled” or “called” to write, much of what Jennifer Grant says in this blog post really resonates with me. In fact, so much so that I printed this out for my wife so she might get a little more insight into this writing life.

I would add to this list: Reason #4. The joy of collaborating with God.  We were all created for good works (and work) which He prepared in advance for us to do. I find when I move forward into what He is calling me to do–in this case, writing–and push past fear and procrastination, I’ll often experience moments of joy as I listen to His voice and guidance, then try to translate it into written word. Not that everything I write comes directly from God’s mouth to the page. Certainly not. My imperfect humanity is fully involved in the process.  But even in that, He is allowing me to collaborate with Him, and sometimes I am filled with joy in the process.

This post comes from Tim Fall’s blog  Just One Train Wreck After Another.

Why I Write? (Hint: Not Because I “Must”) – a guest post from Jennifer Grant

[Today’s guest post is from Jennifer Grant, a wonderful writer and an outstanding encourager, who brings both to bear in this piece on writing. How can you not enjoy reading someone who can put the Rolling Stones, Star Trek and a dog named Shiloh all into one article? ]

***

Not Because I Must

Some writers talk about their chosen profession as though it’s better described as a compulsion:

“I write because I must,” they sigh.

My dog Shiloh seems to understand his habit of chasing squirrels in the same way; when he sees one nosing around the yard, he must try to catch it.

A Star Trek devotee might explain the need to attend a convention by saying he must (boldly) go.

Chided for drenched wet socks and shoes, children may defend their choice to jump in rain puddles by saying they “just had to.”

But the writer who “must” write is expressing something qualitatively different than the dog, the Trekkie, or the puddle-jumping child. In short, the “I must write” writer seems to be wearily obeying an internal directive and lacks the panting, the giggles, and the joy.

Writers, including myself, are arguably happier (or at least less uneasy) when we are regularly practicing our craft. Some of us – again, myself included – routinely confess that we can’t begin to understand something until we write about it.

But the idea that we must write? I don’t think it’s true. If we stopped, would the sun still rise? Would human hearts, including our own, continue to reoxygenate blood? Would Adam Levine continue to insist that he has the moves, like, well you-know?

(Um, yep. On all three counts.)

If It’s Not that I “Must,” Why Do I Keep Writing?

Here are three reasons I write, in order of most to least mundane:

1.      I write because I can do it from home. (Or, “It fits with my other vocation: parenting.”)

2.      I write because I like my colleagues. (Or, “Writers are soulful folks to know.”)

3.      I write because it’s how I make sense of life. (Or, “I can only figure stuff out when I write about it.”)

Read the rest of this insightful post HERE.

The Finding Divine Inspiration 1-Day Creativity Workshop, April 14th!

In Art, Arts Conferences, Christian Art, Christian Arts Conference, Creativity, Uncategorized on February 23, 2012 at 6:07 pm

We recently announced the Finding Divine Inspiration 1-Day Creativity Workshop, April 14th in Indianapolis. It’s a full day of inspiration, creative activation, and collaboration with God. These are always a blast, and its especially fun to present this at my home church, Indy Vineyard.  Some of the details: 10am-4pm, Saturday, April 14th, Indy Vineyard Church, 8383 Craig Street, Indianapolis.  Click on the link below to register and for more info.(By the way, there is inexpensive lodging within walking distance for out-of-towners.)

And, we should have another announcement soon about a creative worship blowout after the workshop that evening! Stay tuned.

If you’d like to host a Finding Divine Inspiration Creativity Workshop in your area, contact us at: Seminars@FindingDivineInspiration.com

Getting Unstuck in 2012

In Art, Christian Art, Creativity, Uncategorized, Writing on January 6, 2012 at 6:20 pm

If you’ve read Finding Divine Inspiration or been to one of our events you know that I’m a big advocate of journaling. I’ve often said that God used it to save my life during the darkest days.  The wonderful conversational relationship He has developed and nurtured with me through the practice of journaling is a treasure.

So recently as I sat with journal open, asking God for direction for the upcoming year, it was a bit of a surprise to hear Him whisper that I should study my journal pages from last year. Not what I had in mind.  I was looking for a fresh start for 2012, not a rehash of the roller coaster ride of 2011. There were some wonderful highs like speaking at Bethel’s Creativity School and leading the spiritual formation track at the CIVA Conference, but also the heartbreaking lows of dealing with focal dystonia, a condition that impeded my ability to do voiceover and provide financially.

I hope to move past those struggles in 2012, plus I’ll turn 50 in October.  I have a tendency to attach a lot of significance to age milestones and there are a few things to accomplish before that magic number hits, you know?  “Riiight”, God seemed to say. “How ‘bout we just start by reviewing last year.”

I began by going through every journal entry from 2011, looking for some specific bits of direction that He seemed to speak throughout the days and weeks. I wrote those down on in a fresh sketchbook and then looked for the common themes. Those old words of encouragement jumped off the page, appearing even stronger in this condensed form.  Then, voila! I saw that over and over again He had spoken to me to write, to keep writing, and that I rarely followed through. I’ve known for years that I’m called to write. I also know that my skills in the craft of writing need to develop. Sometimes—well, often—that has slowed me down. God seemed to be showing me that my hesitancy to practice this calling—which is disobedience, really—was the reason I’d been feeling stuck from time to time.

The new book God’s got me working on is easily the most difficult thing I’ve ever written. It’s on a monumental subject, the arts in the Church. On one of those days when I was pushing into the writing, something extraordinary happened. I was working in my spot at home upstairs when our beloved dog Eleanor came galloping up, comically indignant and agitated by something outside. She wanted to go on the deck, but when I let her out she lost the scent of whatever had driven her outside. We both stood there blankly blinking in the sun.  It was a nice day, so I leaned against the rail to enjoy the unexpected break.  Just then a brown hummingbird buzzed out of the trees directly at me and hovered within 3 feet, facing me. He dipped forward a few inches, hovered some more then flew away. It was one of those instances when you know something wonderful, something from God, has happened. In all the years we’ve lived here I’ve never seen a hummingbird in the neighborhood.  I stood there in giddy shock for a moment, then went inside and immediately looked up the meaning of a hummingbird. The very first entry I pulled up said this: “It is a symbol for accomplishing that which seems impossible and will teach you how to find the miracle of joyful living from your own life circumstances.”

You’d think that would do it, that that would be all I’d need to press forward on this project and into my call. And for a few days it was. But after the initial excitement the experience faded from my memory, languishing in the pages of my journal.

Now through this process of review, God in His mercy had led to me to find that story and all the other encouraging words He’d given throughout 2011. And He used them to shine light on my path for the year ahead.  In response, I’ve resolved to produce some form of writing every day. Even the writing of this blog entry is an act of obedience.

Is there something that God has clearly called you to, but it sometimes seems impossible to accomplish? Have you shied away from it because you’re just not sure you have what it takes? Maybe you feel stuck as a result. Read the rest of this entry »