God’s Invitation to Creative Play

By Jesse White. Pendle Hill Pamphlets (number 468), 2021. 34 pages. $7.50/pamphlet or eBook.

Jesse White’s new pamphlet compares the creative process to the act of spiritual centering and connecting with the Divine. She illustrates how the two are almost one and the same in young children, and invites adults back into a playful relationship with both creativity and spirituality. As she says, “Creative expression is a means to return to centeredness and to a personal relationship with the Divine.” She walks readers through the process of creating, from contemplation to creation to reflection. Along the way, White addresses potential barriers for readers: such as not considering themselves to be creative or artistic, and facing fears and shame. 

A Quaker artist and expressive arts therapist, White employs research, personal anecdotes, spiritual texts, and queries to guide the reader to a place of readiness to create in all aspects of our lives; to play; and to welcome Spirit into the process, thus expanding our worship to be unceasing, as described by Thomas R. Kelly, a Quaker mid-twentieth-century mystic. While this idea is appealing, she doesn’t deny the real obstacles that keep many of us from making time for play, for creativity, and for spirituality. White addresses them throughout the pamphlet, allowing the hesitant reader to continue to move forward (or backward) to that creative spiritual life that they enjoyed as a child.

Having read many books about creativity and the creative process and spirituality—especially Quaker spirituality—I found White’s pamphlet to be a refreshingly clear, poignant, and simple reminder that creativity and spirituality are accessible to everyone every day. And, even more important and exciting, they are worth taking the time to access. She reminds us that life is richer, deeper, and more valuable with daily creativity and spirituality, whether journaling, sketching, cooking, creating a spreadsheet, clerking a meeting, or sitting in worship.

Leona Morrison attends South Mountain Meeting in Ashland, Ore. She is a writer and coach who works with artists, writers, musicians, and wellness professionals to help them make a living, make a life, and make a difference. She also helps run a farm animal sanctuary. Find more at linktr.ee/PatriciaMorrison.

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