“Then the one seated on the throne said, ‘Look! I’m making all things new,’” (Revelation 21:5).

Innovation is critical to life and growth and success in pretty much anything we care about, from relationships to learning to business to recreation to cooking to our lives of faith and more.

It’s one of the reasons I find reformed theology so compelling. Not just reformed but reforming. The great irony, of course, is that many ‘reformed’ congregations are so stuck and resistant to innovation that they are well on the way to rigor mortis.

This is why Rebekah and I enjoyed our recent visit to the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation so much. The collections powerfully illustrated just how critical imagination and reinvention has always been to the American experience.

Hence my thoughts around reformed theology. When Rebekah became an ordained minister she promised to lead with “energy, intelligence, imagination and love.” There sure was a boatload of intelligence and imagination on display at the Ford museum in Detroit.

I’m not sure what captured me the most; I was blown away by so many of the innovations on display. All represented breakthroughs and new ways of thinking. Breakthroughs come in response to real world challenges plus the application of imagination, hard work, creativity and innovation.

Curating such a collection involves asking a lot more questions than simply, “Is it old?” or “Is it of historical significance?”, but also taking into account the story of innovation. It’s a narrative the Christian Church must learn — and embrace — if it is to be at all relevant in the future.

Rebekah and I could easily have wandered around the exhibits for another day or two. We’re the people who tend to read the background material too, and it’s not hard to become so engrossed we stay in one section for an hour or more.

Regardless, I am inspired to ask hard questions when it comes to applying the lessons of creativity, imagination and innovation to the way I live out — and communicate — my faith in Jesus.

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Derek Maul
Derek Maul has written for many news outlets, including the Tampa Tribune, The United Methodist News Service, All Pro Dad, FOCUS Magazine, Newsweek, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, Presbyterians Today, Guideposts, Chicken Soup for the Soul and many other publications. Read Derek Maul’s daily blog posts at www.derekmaul.wordpress.com.