Hunches and the Holy Spirit

Christian writers are always seeking inspiration to fuel our writing. We think it comes from God. But does God need to speak directly into our minds, or does he speak to us through people and circumstances?

The Source of Inspiration

Do ideas come to our minds in a bolt of lightening? Many people think so. Sometimes writers become paralyzed because an idea does not hit them when they need it. However, Steven Johnson has a different idea about how ideas are formed and he wrote about them in his book, Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation. In his book he suggests that ideas do not always come as an event, but are part of a larger process. This video above is a snapshot of his theory.  For a more detailed explanation of his perspective, watch his TED video.

Johnson talks about how hunches mature into ideas over time. That idea strikes a positive chord among Christians because that is how the Holy Spirit informs our understanding about life in general. We seek the “still small voice,” but as we mature in Christ, we realize that the Holy Spirit is constantly working in our lives, constantly speaking to us. Johnson may describe them as “hunches,” but Christians understand those mental nudges in a far different way than non-Christians.

The Cross-Pollination of Ideas

Johnson also talks about the cross-pollination of ideas. This idea fits very well with our idea of Christian community. Christians do not operate in isolation.  We are in a constant process of living our faith in fellowship, and this means an exchange of ideas about faith and life. It is a life of mutual affirmation. As Proverbs 27:17 says,  “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

Johnson has some great thoughts about where we get ideas and how we process them. They can be easily translated into a Christian idiom. He says hunches germinate ideas. Christian writers will recognize those hunches as the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

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