I spotted an article yesterday celebrating the 30th birthday of the internet. A search quickly showed that the internet’s 30th birthday had been celebrated at least twice in the last ten years, with different starting points being identified and celebrated by different people and institutions.
The actual start date is hard to pin down because the development went through many phases. Did it start with the original idea? The first attempt at linking computers together? The first network of linked computers in one building? In one university? In one country? Across national boundaries?
Online Christian initiatives are often publicised by saying they’re the ‘first’ this or that. I find it hard to believe there are many ‘firsts’ left any more, given the number of Christians all over the world who are using new media for evangelism, teaching and pastoral care. So I take these claims with a huge pinch of salt. But thinking about Genesis for this month’s #digidisciple made me wonder why Christians working in the digital space are so impressed by being ‘first’ at something.
In the book of Genesis we get 2 accounts of the Creation. The first chapter tells us what God made and the order in which it was made, the second deals with the relationships between God, humankind and the rest of Creation. God starts the work of creation but it quickly becomes a collaboration.
The digital space frees us up to be creative in new ways, but creativity isn’t about being the first or only person to have an idea or create something new.
It’s equally creative to help someone else to develop their idea to help make it a reality, or to revisit a project to make it better in the light of experience, or to adapt what other people have created. The Christian faith has developed and survived through people responding to the traditions they inherit and creatively adapting them to their own context.
Creation is an ongoing process in which we’re all called to collaborate. We can’t all be the first, or the best – but we don’t need to be.
God is the originator of all creativity, the first and best of us all. Our creativity is from God and calls us to join in with God’s re-creation and restoration of the world.