Creative Ways
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways my ways.
—Isaiah 55:8 (KJV)
DONNA SCHAPER | 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.
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.
PRAYER Grant us the spiritual imagination we need and turn us liberally into artists of your great ways. Amen.About the Writer:
DONNA SCHAPER works nationally for Bricks and Mortals, a NYC-based organization that provides sustainable solutions for sacred sites. Her most recent book is Remove the Pews.

Source: “Running from Empty” | 2023 Lent Devotional by the Stillspeaking Writers’ Group, made up of United Church of Christ ministers and writers who collaborate on resources for people in the church, outside the church, and not sure about the church.