THE ARTISAN SOUL: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art is a new book by Erwin Raphael McManus and I was blessed to receive an advance copy. The book is now available in hard cover and electronically, but more on that later.
As I read this book, I was so impressed by the fact that McManus was taking up so many of the themes that have been core to my message, and key areas that God has been growing in me for the last couple years.
Each chapter brings brilliant light to aspects of every life, and God’s hand not only in our design but in the execution of that design, what McManus refers to as craftsmanship.
Right out of the gate, in his first chapter “Soul, the essence of art,” he talks about how folks look for God, and find religious systems that, rather than leading them to what it means to be fully human, they are driven into conformity.
“Far too often spirituality has been replaced with standardization, and discovering the unique divine image within each person is replaced with a version of discipleship from the Industrial Revolution.” (Page 16)
What is needed is rather the intimacy depicted even in our creation. Again from McManus:
“Our story begins with a kiss, mouth to mouth resuscitation. God pressing against us. We begin when God exhales and we inhale. This is the level of intimacy and synchronicity for which we were always intended.” (Page 23)
He brought out how important community is to creativity as well. We were created not just for intimacy with the Father, but with a need and desire for community.
Throughout the work, McManus is drawing us to understand that 1) each of us is an artisan – created to create and 2) each of us is a work of art.
One of the most striking illustrations he makes later in the book is in a discussion of Jesus’ first miracle, the turning of water to wine at the wedding in Cana. He draws our attention to the fact that it was remarkable to the guests when rather than bring out cheap wine when the guests had been drinking, he saved the best wine for last.
Can you imagine in any universe that the Creator of the entire cosmos would put His signature on anything less than the most extraordinary expression of His work? You don’t speak light into existence and then create a $3 bottle of Sangria. (Page 176) [Tweet This]
This calls deep within me and says, God put His signature on you son, on you daughter, and you are not a $3 bottle of Sangria – You are a work of art.
The book is not just theory either. The last section is a working appendix of “practices to guide you through the creative process.”
This was a great read, and has stirred me up on a number of levels.
About the author:
Erwin Raphael McManus is an iconoclast known as a cultural pioneer for this integration of creativity and spirituality. He is the founder of MOSAIC, a community of faith in Los Angeles, California. McManus is the author of Soul Cravings, Chasing Daylight, and other leading books on spirituality and creativity. McManus has a bachelor of arts in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, A master’s of divinity from Southwestern Theological Seminary and a doctorate of humane letters from Southeastern University. Visit the author on line at www.erwinmcmanus.com.
You can purchase your copy at the author's page, or at my affiliate link below: