Catholic Creatives Summit 2018

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I spent the past weekend in Dallas, TX for the second annual Catholic Creatives Summit. This invite-only experience was a mash between a Christian retreat and a highly professional networking event; where artists, writers, filmmakers, photographers, entrepreneurs, marketers, singers, dancers, and more—united by our shared faith—could connect and learn from one another.

Catholic Creatives is a community of Christian “co-creators,” bound by the shared belief that we were designed by God with a specific purpose to reflect His creative essence.

We believe that every one of us is called to create. It is who we are because it is who God is. We believe that God is calling his Church to a culture of rebirth and creative energy, a New Renaissance in Catholic Culture to renew the world through the Catholic Imagination. Catholic Creatives is a community, an ecosystem, an ecology where that creative culture is being birthed every day.

 Me as a child, looking very much like me as an adult this weekend: free.

Me as a child, looking very much like me as an adult this weekend: free.

I actually had a lot of reservations going into the CC Summit. A large part of me felt like I was one of very few people who is passionate about and mature in my faith while able to appreciate and strive for secular standards of excellence in the creative works that I produce and consume. I can’t quite connect with the “creative type,” or rather, the creative stereotype, whose artwork is all about them and their self-expression; and I also struggle to connect with Christian artists who fail to appreciate or create any works that don’t explicitly reference and revere “Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” My goal is to create not just for myself but for others, and I’m most drawn to art and stories in which God can be experienced through sheer beauty that doesn’t need literal Biblical themes to speak volumes of truth.

My expectations were so far from the truth that it took me the first couple days of the Summit to really embrace the beautiful reality of the Catholic Creatives community. Despite my initial skepticism, I found it to be full of highly successful, motivated, professional, inspirational, faithful, imaginative, wholesome, genuine people that I quickly fell in love with! It’s been a long time since I felt so at home in my own skin. The Catholic Creatives Summit reconnected me with my essence—the things that make me who I am that have never changed as my career, location, and various situations have shifted and evolved over the years.

Through the conversations I shared, workshops I attended, talks I heard, and so on, I was challenged to raise the bar for my creative work. I was inspired to reevaluate my strengths and weaknesses so that I can bring on team members that will help me run my business more effectively. It showed me how vulnerability can be a catalyst for better artwork, design, photography, poetry, and story-telling. It took a lot of humility to admit that I had set my goals too low, resisted collaboration out of pride and fear, and hidden away the deepest parts of my humanity that have the power to change the world.

It’s been a long time since I felt so at home in my own skin. The Catholic Creatives Summit reconnected me with my essence.

The Catholic Creatives Summit was not a comfortable experience—growth never is—but it was fruitful. I often felt tired, grumpy, cynical, and more; but unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains but a seed. I died a little this weekend, and because of that, I now live more fully. Most importantly, I’m not alone. I have an army of other professionals running alongside me in the New Renaissance, striving to make God known through our creativity.

Here are a few nuggets that stuck with me from the Summit:

“Shame needs isolation to exist.” –Erica Tighe

"After the heartbreak comes the joy. After Good Friday comes Easter.” –Erica Tighe

“Build a business, not a job.” –JM Boyd

“Our fruitfulness is in direct correlation with our intimacy with God the Father.”

Wish you were there? Not to worry: you can access the live stream of the entire weekend for only $30! Or, watch some of Day 2 here. I personally recommend listening to Erica Tighe’s talk at 5:33:30.