For millions across North America, spring finally feels like a real possibility! And the challenge we face in tough times is finding those sparks of creativity that we can kindle into new life: new faith, new compassion, new energy to connect with others and build that new world we all hope will emerge.
Last week, we featured a giant in Christianity: N.T. Wright, who is saying exactly what I just said in a Christian context.
This week, we’re going to expand outward and showcase a host of very cool ideas from other sources: A Universal Flag and a creative children’s book. This week, we’ll also tell you about some other films and books and, on Wednesday, you’ll meet Joan Konner—a nationally known journalist and colleague of Bill Moyers who has written an entire book about … well, about the creative power of Nothing.
No kidding. You have to stay with us, this week, to see all of this creative stuff unfold. This is, after all, the 1st spring of a new decade in this Third Millennium. It’s high time we got moving, right?
COOL IDEA 1:
Brian McClure, “The Sun and the Moon”
… and the Universal Flag
Here’s a great example of an overlooked cool idea. Brian McClure has been traveling the world for a few years now, promoting his children’s books and his Universal Flag.
As someone powerfully plugged into new media for many years, I must confess that I completely overlooked McClure’s spark until now. That can happen with unusual new ideas. Out of the blue, a reader named Susan sent me a helpful Email about McClure and his body of work. Until that Email, there was no convenient window frame through which I would have spotted him. But, now, we’ve found him, his “Sun and Moon” book—and his flags.
We’re telling you about them today, because we really like this “The Sun and The Moon” children’s book—and, when I saw his flags online, I loved the design.
When I first visited Brian’s Web site to learn more about the Universal Flag, I quickly discovered that Brian describes this flag in terms that don’t come from my own religious tradition—and may not come from yours. But just look at that flag! It’s gorgeous. It makes me smile. I’d be happy to fly a flag like that just to spark creative thoughts in the people who glimpse its colors.
That’s what hooked me on “The Sun and the Moon.” Illustrator Buddy Plumlee plays freely with color in the book. There are several unusual double-page spreads that splash colors in all directions (a detail of one 2-page illustration is shown above).
The story? Well, the Sun and the Moon have a childish fight one day. They start arguing and, before you know it, the whole world is dark. That’s a big problem for everyone!
Things get worked out in the end and humans learn a few lessons, too, about the larger impact of fighting with others.
I have to say, the book does get a bit preachy in a couple of sections. I prefer children’s literature that teaches exclusively through the story and the imagery—and McClure couldn’t resist making the lesson crystal clear to readers.
But I can tell you as a parent who has logged thousands of hours of reading time, this book will be a hit. Plumlee’s illustrations are simply so creative that kids will enjoy reading this one, again and again.
Although the specific terms McClure uses to draw his conclusions aren’t from my own religious tradition—and may not be from yours—it’s a very cool book to have in your home library.
AND PLEASE: Come back every day this week for more Cool Ideas!
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(Originally published at https://readthespirit.com/)