Creative Ways – Devotional

I love the liberal arts. I don’t love the way parents tell their children not to major in philosophy or English or history because “they won’t be able to get a good job.” While that is not true—strong companies love to hire liberal arts majors—it has a ring of wise caution to it. Getting a “good” job is deemed more important than knowing how to curate beauty or make an argument or read a scam or know when someone is about to use you for their own purposes.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways my ways. – Isaiah 55:8 (KJV)

I love the way the liberal arts undercut idolatrous instrumentality. Most of our days are filled with “clients” or people we think we have to please. People pleasing dehumanizes, turning us all into objects instead of subjects.

When instrumentality reigns, the humanities suffer. Science and social sciences suffer as well, if less obviously. Intelligent well-placed suspicion of the monarch can dethrone them just often enough to preserve democracy and its beloved, freedom.

Community organizing for the sake of freedom is an aesthetic activity. We do it for the beauty of community. Yes, we prefer more forth than back. But victories are few and far between. We don’t organize to “win.” Winning is usually for people who misuse power, like the monarch.

God is not a winner. God wins by losing. God’s ways are not our ways. God is not a user. Imagine that.


Grant us the spiritual imagination we need and turn us liberally into artists of your great ways. Amen.

About the Author

Donna Schaper is Interim Minister at the United Congregational Church of Little Compton. Her latest book is Remove the Pews.