I love The White Stripes. At their best, I feel like they capture the essence of great garage rock. It's gritty and exciting, and you can't help but dance.1
But what I love more than the great music are the band's self-imposed restrictions. They tend to limit their composition to three components (vocals, drums, guitar or vocal, drums, piano).2
At first you think a restriction like that will lead to a creative dead-end. You may not use a 6th grade recorder ensemble, but you want the option on the table. Most of us believe that greater creativity requires access to greater options.
But instead it forces you to think outside of the proverbial [and cliched] box. You realize that the boundaries everyone else believes are suffocating are in fact freeing. Instead of squelching creative freedom, the restrictions actually force it to the surface.
A lot of things are that way. Frugality forces you to find creative ways to make ends meet. Dietary restrictions force you to expand your recipe box. And I would add that Christian social ethics [how your faith influences your actions in this world] force you to reconsider what it means to be human and to step into a new and creative life oriented by hope.
It's easy to focus on what we're not supposed to do as Christians. But as my pastor, Jason Dorsey, mentioned this past Sunday, we have a different - an otherworldly - perspective. Christianity is not about being afraid of hell or being coerced by God. It is about stepping into a new identity - an identity of hope. That identity given by God is the only way to break free from the faux freedom of our sinful nature. It is the only way to become truly human.
Yes, that new identity will require being different, both in what we do and in what we don't do. The same cross that saves us, restricts us and calls us to live our lives with a different perspective. The world may not understand, but by the grace of God, our lives will be more dangerous, more creative, and more profound because of it. And people will want to know what it's all about.
1 Yes, I dance. No, I won't dance for you. But I dare you to listen to "My Doorbell" and not shake your booty just a little.
2 While they don't do this in 100% of their songs, it is a restriction that dominates the vast majority of their music.