David Baroni has written an interesting book called Creative in the Image of God.
I caught up with David to talk about his new book.
Instead of asking, “what is your book about,” I’m going to ask the question that’s behind that question. And that unspoken question is, “how are readers going to benefit from reading your book?”
David Baroni: I believe readers will be encouraged, inspired and even exhilarated as they are reminded of who the Creator is, who He is in us and who we are in Him. The arts are wonderful gifts to communicate and “re-present” Him.
We, God’s sons and daughters, have access to the unlimited ocean of His creativity. As readers avail themselves more fully of that flow (and I give some practical tips in the book) they will realize that the Living Water that we are flowing in is flowing through us! I describe my journey of 30+ years as a recording artist, songwriter, musician and worship leader, and tell about some of the watershed moments when I was profoundly impacted by Jesus.
He poured into and through me in supernatural ways, yet thoroughly grounded in the Scriptures. I want others to know that He will flow through them powerfully too. They will see that God’s grace and resurrection life is real and available to them today!
I love the title. Explain it a bit.
David Baroni: Thank you Frank, I am glad you like it! I would love to say that I worked hard to come up with the title, but it just came to me as I was in the process of writing this book.
To me it captures the main themes of the book: The privilege of our relationship with the Creator, the source of creativity (Creative…) and our new identity in Christ (…in the image of God.) For a time I was tempted to call the book “The Genesis Revelation” because of some things in the early chapters, but thankfully I got over that.
Who are your writing for exactly? Who is your target audience?
David Baroni: There is the obvious appeal to creative types; artists, authors, worship leaders, songwriters, musicians, playwrights, any creative person that is either curious about the Source of their creativity or already believes that God is that Source.
When I told a friend about the book, he got super excited and said “This will be a great legacy when you are gone!” I must confess it took me a few moments to get excited about that as well, because, God willing, I think I still have many years of productivity ahead of me. The more I thought about it though, I realized he was right. This book is a way to share my experiences and God’s dealings with me through an amazing journey. “Creative In The Image of God” is not just for creative types, however.
There is an important theme of sonship, a sense of awe in His Presence paired with incredible gratitude that through Christ we have been granted access. This book is for worshipers and for those curious about the things of God.
Give us two or three insights into creativity that my blog readers can use now.
David Baroni: One of the most important factors in being creative is having the ability to listen well. In the book I share how to listen: to God’s voice through the Scriptures, through creation, through a movie or a novel, through interaction with a child, a spouse or a stranger.
I describe an encounter where I “heard the inaudible” and a heavenly song was born. Part of learning to listen is merely believing that God speaks today (always consistent with the written scriptures).
If God loves, then He is passionate about relationship. If He is passionate about relationship, God is passionate about communication. One of the very names of Jesus is…THE WORD. God broke 400 years of silence from the heavens by sending His very VOICE. God speaks today. Audibly? Rarely. His voice is louder than that!
Another aspect of creativity is learning how to nourish ourselves with words and songs. There is a creative power inherent in the Word of God. Practice singing the Word. Open up to your favorite Psalm or scripture and read it out loud. Then SING it! You will be surprised at the life and the power of that. I go into that in much more detail in the book. The audiobook version has the actual recordings of some of my songs, it is an added dimension that I think listeners will appreciate.
We know that imagination can be a substitute for the Holy Spirit’s guidance. But what are the good uses of human imagination?
David Baroni: Children naturally use their imaginations in play and in life. Somehow we have gotten the idea that, except for a few eccentrics, grown-ups shouldn’t use their imaginations. I have good news: We don’t have to outgrow our imaginations! The gift of imagination helps us to “see the invisible.”
For example, when I am singing a song about the majesty of Jesus, I can envision the Lord the King walking on the red carpet that my praise has become. Now, I know that He is already here with me and in me, but my imagination helps make the encounter more real to me.
The apostle Paul encourages us to “look at the things that are unseen.” A faith-infused imagination grounded in our relationship with God and the scriptures enables us to relate with and interact with God and others in powerful ways.
In the book I relate that many times I will play the keyboard spontaneously, following the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, while people listen with their eyes closed. This has helped many to hear the whispers of God through the music, sometimes with dramatic results. Imagination is a God-given gift to help us “see” and “hear” His voice.
What has the book made possible to readers that weren’t possible to them before they came into contact with it?
David Baroni: More than anything else, I hope that readers are reminded of their identity in Christ and the creative potential they have as sons and daughters of the Creator. I trust that some of the stories I share from my own spiritual journey will build faith and increase the readers’ capacity to hear God’s Voice. In one chapter I write about a threefold prayer:
- To see God as He really is (and when that happens, we can’t help but be transformed) 2nd Cor. 3:17 “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (ESV)
- To see ourselves as our Heavenly Father sees us. I believe there is grace to teach us to love ourselves because God values us. In the book I talk about I song I wrote called “If You Knew.” Hear your Heavenly Father sing to you:
“If you knew how beautiful you are, how beautiful you are to me If you knew how beautiful you are
You would never be afraid, you would never be ashamed
You would rest here in my love, and you’d never run away
If you knew how beautiful you are to Me”
- To see others through the eyes of Jesus We don’t have to be afraid of “scary sinners.”
The second verse of “If You Knew:”
“If you knew how beautiful they are, how beautiful they are to me
If you knew how beautiful they are
You would run into my world, you would love them with my heart
You would teach them how to trust, and you’d show them who they are
If you knew how beautiful they are to Me”
What else would you like to say about the book?
David Baroni: I am so grateful for the opportunity to share some things that I have learned in my walk as a worshiper, a songwriter for Integrity Music, a minister of the gospel in 30 nations, and especially as a son.
Because of abuse in my childhood and other things, it has taken me a long time, even as a believer, to realize that I am not an orphan. I trust others will be encouraged to value their sonship (you too, ladies!) That it is available in paperback, e-book and I am particularly pleased with the audiobook version on audible.com, amazon and iTunes.
In my fifties, and not done with my own race, I am in the process of passing the baton, the torch to the next generations. This book is a good way to do that. So grateful, Frank, for your ministry and for helping spread the word about “Creative In The Image of God.”