Welcome Wednesday: Honoring God-Given Creativity with Laura Bartnick

Author: Laura Bartnick

Genre: Christian Living

Book: Welcome to the Shivoo!

WELCOME TO THE SHIVOO is a gift you give yourself. Writers and artists, celebrate and prioritize your creativity. It comes from your creator-God Who is thoroughly creative. Believe Him. #writers #artists #creativity @CaptureBooks

Honoring God-Given Creativity

Interview by Jenny Fulton

Welcome to the Shivoo! What is a shivoo?

From the book, Welcome to the Shivoo! “The term shivoo is borrowed from Australian lingo meaning a boisterous party. It depicts not only the sounds and tastes of a world of imaginative processes, but it also depicts the finale, the glorification of the Christian creatives and our artwork – when our words and worlds collide together – with our creator in glory.”

Here to welcome you to the shivoo is Laura Bartnick, a Christian Living author with degrees in Bible, music, contemporary composition, and paralegal studies. These days, she is also the manager of Capture Books, a boutique publishing and marketing hybrid group.

Laura’s book Welcome to the Shivoo! offers a Christian-based message to creative people, especially writers. It encourages them to understand how and why their flow of creativity should be celebrated and prioritized. Since God is creative in nature, creativity is a priority to Him and is given by Him to be used and enjoyed.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Writers, YOU were created from the beginning with a part of God’s own inspiration and creativity and purpose! #WelcometotheShivoo

“Where did the idea for this book begin?” I asked.

“I was a conflicted person,” Laura shared.  “I’m a conservative Christian, and creativity runs in my blood.  I’d never read or studied any theology about human creativity, and in my past I sometimes heard Christians sully the work of creatives or downplay it as unimportant or volunteerism at best. 

“One time, the book of Genesis began flashing lights into my mind. I looked around, and every morning, every evening, every season, and even my comical dog shouted praises to God about His unending creativity.  I thought, now is the time to do some theological housecleaning.  I needed to take inventory and sort out the truth from fiction so I could find a Godly basis for who I was and am today. 

“I wrestled with questions about why my teachers and pastors never talked about our creativity as a valued reflection of God’s creativity. Jeremiah says, ‘But God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding’ (10:12).

“I think God didn’t think we’d need chapter and verse to comprehend that the source of humor is His own character. He loves to laugh and smile and chuckle.  Our abilities to do these things comes from our Father God. The source of innovation is godly. It doesn’t require a biblical stamp of approval, but here’s one anyway. ‘He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them skilled workers and designers,’ Exodus 35:35. What a grand shivoo it should be, right?

“The source of wisdom and craftiness in theater and application of knowledge is His purpose for us creatives to get His purposes embedded into hearts and fired up in minds.”

Welcome to the Shivoo! “He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them skilled workers and designers” (Exodus 35:35). #creatives #theology #creativity

As she wrote this book, Laura pulled from her personal theological experience and joined it with what she was learning from scripture.

“The Shivoo is basically a theological analysis of creativity,” Laura said. “It is part memoir and part scripture. All my life I had wrestled with doing and hearing formulaic contemporary evangelism messages like, ‘Jesus loves you.  He died for your sins so that you could go to heaven and live with Him forever.’ I knew this was true, but it didn’t define Jesus for people.  It didn’t define real love for an individual. It didn’t define the legal reasons Christ had to die or why sin has to separate us from God. I felt guilty for not wanting to say such things, but when I really began to analyze it, I realized I was always talking to people about Jesus as God, Savior, and Lord.  I was always trying to give them a bigger picture of WHO this Jesus is who died for them.” 

Context means everything to Laura and she easily recognizes she’s not a soundbite girl.

“Colossians 3 has a passage that acts like an electric jolt every time I read it or think about it. It says, ‘Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.’ (ESV)

“So Jesus is Creator.  He’s the glue that holds it all together, and this Creator is the head of the body, the church, so I think that means we ought to make creativity a priority just as God did.”

As Laura thought more about this idea, she realized that the creativity of God came before the plan of salvation. 

“Creativity is in God’s character, His nature. And so, when we are reconciled to the Father in Christ, we get Perspective and Spirit and the powerful Word shot back into our veins. His purposes become clear to our creative processes. Or Romans 12:2, ‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.’

“I finally matured as a Christian when I understood more of God’s creativity. I can’t tell you how taking the time to marinate my mind and spirit in these truths, connecting these dots, allowed me to shed my guilt and live fully and creatively in Christ. I found myself and came into my own calling.”

“How did writing this book change or impact you?” I asked.

“It just did,” she said. “My whole life is changed. My whole perspective on what God wants for us changed.  The sunrise and sunset became sacred to me. A rainstorm and a blizzard can make me cry. The hard work I did as an editor and marketing manager at Capture Books became my life’s work in Christ. I was willing to do the hard work, but also began measuring the time I spent on it so I could rest and enjoy life living and traveling with my husband and with friends.  I began to wonder how anyone could ever have a disbelief in the goodness of God. It changed me profoundly.”

Welcome to the Shivoo! addresses creation in spirals and suggests rules to live by at the end of each chapter: awe, breathing, measuring your steps and limitations, legalities, gratitude, giving honor, giving just payment, mentoring, the necessity of teamwork, parts of a book, marketing, giving back, exploration and innovation, considering the sciences and nature’s rules, doing our research, and winging It with prayer.

“Genesis one through John one,” Laura said. “‘In the beginning was the Word, the Word was God, and nothing exists that does exist without the Word.’ I talk about the Logos, God’s best argument for everything He wants us to know about Himself, and I break that down into how a Christian communicator finds their place, their piece of God’s Logos, to communicate with confidence.  So, the book creates a funnel of understanding to application.”

“What do you hope readers come away with after reading your book?” I asked.

“I hope they feel jumping beans inside bursting to spill out of their minds and fingers, from voice boxes, and relationships.”

Altogether, this is an excellent gift for a pastor, Bible study leader, worship leader, writer, poet, artist, or burgeoning filmmaker.

Book Blurb for Welcome to the Shivoo

THIS IS A PARTY AND A PRAYER FOR THE CREATIVES IN TOWN. Bartnick helps creative people find where they belong and a strategy to arrive there safely. The impulse to create is a reflection of the Creator’s Own Image and energetic direction in us. Here, Bartnick untethers ten life-changing concepts that rule a creative’s party.

It’s easy to get lost in the winding, bumpy, intersecting paths of life. This book will provide a central creative axis. Innovation, ingenuity, and improvisation find their launchpad from the core. Does a hub for personal creativity even exist? Find out now.

This book explains why it matters that “In the beginning, God created.”

Do you find incredible value in your creativity? That is, could you never imagine giving up? Be inspired to understand the Maker’s priority of Creativity and the Maker’s priority in making a place for you to thrive.

Where does your creativity come from? The Creator’s ingenuity is expressed in the ongoing logos inside you. He has chosen to belong in you, thriving in speech, radiant in nature, just and merciful in His law. The logos is expressed in your human gifts, offices, and in the fruits of the Spirit in your community and in you.

Cerebral and inspiring, Bartnick builds a biblical and realistic theology for human creativity from traditional cornerstones and from the continuing revelation of the Creator’s expression. Chapters of this book are written to empower the creatives who are often marginalized, left out of the theological discussion. Find your voice in creationism and in the elephant in the room.

Through His artistic activity in nature, and through specific forms of His communication, the Logos welcomed human beings and expressed Himself as their place of belonging. And, He has chosen to belong with us . . . in us.

The Creator’s ingenuity is expressed in the ever-living logos, which is thriving in analytical, imaginative thought. His Spirit makes all communication of Him, to live with purpose.

Whether you consider yourself a creative, or whether you are attached to one through bloodline or through other ties or links, these ten stage rules will be an inspiration.

Nevertheless, the stakes are high.

Book Excerpt from Welcome to the Shivoo!

Purchase the Book: Welcome to the Shivoo!

Connect with Laura

3 comments

  1. The Shivoo is a manifesto of creativity. It guides, explores and inspires creatives from all walks of life. Delve in to discover why we create and how to live with creativity as a priority.

    Liked by 1 person

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