Who doesn’t love the cows that advertise the food service franchise built on Christian principles of “hard work and creativity”? So to honor them once each summer (this year it was July 12th) Chick-Fil-A invites customers to experience the power of generosity and creativity to change your day.
We stumbled into Cow Appreciation Day four years ago. Walked in looking for one of their new desserts and cracked up at all the “cow-like” people—some in T-shirts colored with black spots, others fully decked out in cow ears to hooves–all rewarded with free food.
Some floppy cow ears dangled earrings. One guy, a youth pastor (somehow not surprising) spouted udders on his lower abdomen. “You can pull down templates off the web,” two cow-Moms and 4 cow-kids told me. And evidently they had spent some time printing and tracing, coloring, cutting and pasting. One boy had combined a Luke Skywalker outfit with the cow motif. Wish I’d gotten a picture of his Star Wars helmet with a cow nose pasted on it, winning a meal and a new dessert.
Ah what creativity (and free food) does for the energy level. Customers who didn’t know each other were laughing and talking. Comparing costume stories. We, who had unwittingly dropped by for a new brownie sundae, laughed and visited and snapped pictures.
Creativity generates life and laughter. It reminds me of what one of our contributors to Faith and Culture said at an International Arts Movement conference about giving art as a gift. Christian artist Mako Fujimura inspired his audience:
In the midst of fear. In the midst of material and emotional scarcity. In the midst of the world’s collapsing idols, Mako encouraged the Church to draw on the Giver / Artist, and to let His creative Spirit spill over into a hurting world. Creating living art, out of love, in the form of kindnesses (whether friendship, food, hospitality, music, dance, painting, flower-arranging, whatever our gifts…). Spiritual, emotional and material generosity is surprising in an age of perceived scarcity; therefore, we, the Church, can rise to the occasion. We create art not as commodity, but as a gift. Just as the Gospel is not commodity, but Gift.
Three cheers for Truett Cathy and all the folks at Chick-Fil-A for challenging people to create art (even cow art) and generously giving away food. It *is* surprising. And it does give life and point to the author of real life, when done in his name.
Maybe we can take a cue from the Cathys and the “cows” and instead of hunkering down in the AC in front of flickering screens…turn them OFF. Find resources to do creative things (Ann Voskamp offers dozens of links at www.aholyexperience.com, search key word “creativity”). Or simply google “creative ideas for summer.”
Here are three more from me: Make a meal of all-fresh summer veggies and fruits, zucchini lasagna, stuffed bell peppers, exotic salads, fresh peaches in poppy seed dressing. Enjoy with friends or take to someone who needs your life-giving art of a meal. More creative cooking ideas at www.welaughwecrywecook.com.
Take your summer pictures to www.shutterfly.com and make a calendar or photo book of gratitude and celebration. Or print them and buy a photo album to hand make the entire project. Sprinkle with scrapbooking decals from Michael’s or Hobby Lobby. Make two and send one to friends or relatives far away. My Mom appreciates her Shutterfly books more than I will ever know, keeping them by her chair and leafing through them often.
Celebrate a Jesus Appreciation Day with no computers, no cell phones, TV’s or i-anything. Read the Amazon reviews of Gary Thomas Sacred Pathways and clarify how you best enjoy God. Design a day reading theology or adoring God through praise and contemplation or out in nature (in the early morning), or in the company of a friend or husband.
To create something new, to give generously is to live in the image of our Father who brings light out of darkness and life out of sloths stuck in front of screens.
Share your ideas–how can we give gifts of creativity, generosity and living art to others?