Book Review: Create Vs. Copy

Create Vs. Copy, by Ken Wytsma

[Note:  This book was provided free of charge by Moody Publishers.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

I have a sort of love-hate relationship with this author’s work [1], and this book is no different.  On the one hand, I really love what the author chooses to write about.  I know that he and I have an interest in similar topics ranging from justice to practical Christian living to the paradoxical nature of God’s workings to the theological significance of creativity.  Yet although I love the topics that the author writes about, he has an infuriatingly superficial and ephemeral approach to so much of what he writes about, and this book is no different there either.  If I were an adherent to the social gospel like the author was, and if I had the same sort of love for pop culture reference and an avoidance of what was lasting and eternal about human nature in exchange for that which was shiny and new and temporary, I would like this book a lot more.  It appears as if the author wants to write about significant things, but he does not have an understanding about what remains true regardless of cultural trends and so he does not write in such a way that will help him and his works to last, which is probably why he thinks himself an expert on Christianity despite living in one of the most unchurched areas of the United States.

This book of a bit under 200 pages is divided into two parts.  After a short introduction the author encourages the reader to think about creativity (I).  He notes, correctly, that to create is divine (1), that creativity should be a continuous aspect of our lives (2), that creation should be redemptive in helping to bring God’s blessing to others (3), and that we should expand our horizons (4).  Then the author gets into full social gospel mode in talking about how to practice creativity (II).  Here the author encourages the reader to recapture one’s imagination (5), compares and contrasts imagination and innovation (6), looks at how creativity can become intentional instead of rare and accidental (7), and how it can be generous (8).  After this the author writes about a new song in the conclusion and provides acknowledgements and notes.  Towards the end of the book, I felt a bit personally aggrieved because of the author’s harsh comments on critics, which seemed a bit unjust since it is my purpose in reading the book to be a critic of it, more signs of the author’s general tone deafness as a writer.

I hope that it is clearly understood that I believe the author has written about an important subject here.  As God is a creator, so too we are a greater in imitatio Dei, subcreators in the manner that Tolkien defended the legitimacy of his own creations.  Yet while this world could use more books that help defend the legitimacy of creativity among Christians, it is highly doubtful that the author is the best person to write such books.  After all, the author has a malign political agenda that seeps through in all of his works, and has an unquenchable tendency to talk himself up as some kind of expert when he fails at the most basic aspects of presenting eternal biblical truth rather than pop culture fads in this and his other volumes.  For the author to write truly worthwhile books, it would be necessary for him to talk less about himself and be a much more knowledgeable exegete of the Bible.  As it is, there are some things to appreciate about this book, but to wish that one was reading a book by a better author.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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