Are some people naturally more creative than others? Michael Gungor believes that whether we are writing songs, raising children or crunching numbers, creativity is central to what it means to be human. We are all involved in the creative work of ordering creation.
Michael Gungor is best known for his work with the musical collective Gungor, who have received several Grammy nominations. While it’s hard to pin his music down to any one genre, it has been called alternative, folk and experimental.
Michael Gungor is also the author of the book, The Crowd, The Critic and the Muse: A Book for Creators.
The book originally came out of a burnout, which he says resulted from his failure to nurture his soul. Gungor now believes creativity should be an overflow of the abundance of the soul. “I’ve found that for me, when I’m burning out, it’s to do with output versus input…You’ve got to be breathing in as much as you breathe out, otherwise you’ll burn out.”
AUDIO: Hear Michael Gungor talk to Katrina Roe about his book The Crowd, The Critic and the Muse: A Book for Creators.
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Gungor grew up in a fundamentalist church environment, which he said initially limited his creative vision.
“I was brought up with a lot of boundaries on what was appropriate to create... As I grew and as I began to travel and see the world outside my own little home town, the world got bigger. And I’ve started realising over the years that maybe God was bigger than some of the confines that I had limited him to. And maybe everything that’s beautiful belongs to him. If he’s the source of beauty and all that is good, maybe anything that is good and beautiful and true in some way speaks of, and reflects, God.”
Gungor believes one of the biggest barriers to creative expression is fear. “The crowd and the critic, both internal and external, can shut us down.”
“If you really do something good or beautiful or novel, it’s definitely going to have people that oppose it. Anything that makes waves is rocking somebody’s boat.”
“Through history, followers of Jesus did amazing things; they walked against the fear... They didn’t fall into line. Christianity has always been historically, especially in the early days, counter-cultural.”
Recently, after coming under attack for some of his personal views, Gungor wrote on his blog, “Faith is not something to be reduced to a set of propositions that we all agree about, but rather a surrender.”
When asked how he has coped with the criticism he has received, Gungor replied, “I can’t say that no part of it ever stings. I want people to like me.
“If I’m going to try to say things that are true and beautiful and good, there’s always going to be push back. It’s just a daily letting go, a surrender of ‘What am I going to base my heart and my life on today? Am I going to go search on line for my name and try to please the people who don’t like me or am I going to do what I do and be who I am and be okay with that?”