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Why the "A" in STEAM is important

I am currently undertaking a project to transform my house’s last bedroom into something useful. It’s lived its life as a storage unit, as a haphazard guest room, as the living quarters for a third roommate, and for a couple weeks, even a poor man’s home gym. It’s time to take it and do something… intentional with it. So: an office it becomes! First, I cleaned it out. Progress! This past weekend I picked out paint colors for the walls, which are currently too drab and dark for such an admittedly poorly-lit room. I love doing this, because it means I get to bring out one of my silly joys: the encyclopedia of (probably ten year old) Sherwin Williams paint colors. Or at least I call it an encyclopedia. I don't know what it is actually called. My father gave it to me years ago, and it has been an integral part of my house decorating schemes ever since.


So many possibilities!



Despite the fact that this thing is likely ten years old, I have a hard time believing that there is any paint color that it doesn’t have. I love it and its seemingly infinite possibilities. This is in stark contrast to my best friend and roommate, who see the thing and are instantly overwhelmed. Too many possibilities. Too many things that all look basically the same! It’s… not for everybody.


So, as I was cutting-in/painting around the ceiling after I found the perfect off-white, that thought consumed me for a bit of time. How can I see the difference between this white that has slight blues to it, this white that has more red in it, and this pure white? After all, aren’t they all basically white?


These are very different whites.


It is my art background that has taught me to do this. Whether it is 2D art, 3D art, music, writing, or any other form or medium, art forces you to pay attention to the details. You notice that the proportions of the upper and lower ‘halves’ of your leg are important. A slightly different angle can make someone’s chin look like a perfect replica or a Halloween costume. The blue-gray of a cloudy afternoon is not the same as the gray that precedes a storm. One note off in a chord ruins the whole score. One word can build a reader up… or break them down. Every detail matters. Which… is very much how God feels when He creates, as well. An electron has very specific mass, energy, and spin. Our mitochondria have very specific jobs as the powerhouse of each cell. Many small animals and insects have very specific designs and coloring to confuse predators and protect them.


Look at this insect and its camouflage! So specific and so cool!


And you. You and everything about you is created specifically. Intentionally. Purposefully. Nothing about you is haphazard or accidental. Every detail about God’s creation is specific and intentional. Art, in all its forms, has taught me to pay attention to the details and the differences that others may miss. The application for this lesson started with painting, moved to music, expanded to science, and is continuing to grow every day. I notice and appreciate the details because He noticed and appreciated the details He created. God is a Creator. God is the preeminent scientist. God is also an artist.


STEM and STEAM

You’ll notice that I use the acronym STEM quite often. It stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, and it has been in my lexicon for most of my life. This is why I find myself using it most of the time.


We have previously covered what my high school art, mediocre as it was, taught me about God’s creation. It is because of this that I got really excited when I saw the movement to add an “A” for ‘art’ into STEM, making it STEAM. I 100% excitedly approve of the addition.


STEAM: a great way to make dumplings and an even better way to see God.


Yeah, that was bad. I just really like dumplings. And going to countries where they make dumplings really well. And seeing the details of His creation- the technical details (such as the electron) and the beautiful, artistic details (such as a sunset).


So, fellow explorers of the Created: let’s always appreciate how STEM shows us God. Let’s look at a biology textbook and read in awe of the one who thought all that up. Let’s perform some fun chemistry or physics experiments and laugh at the God who gave us such fun things to do. Let’s look at all the academic research that is published and marvel at the God who gave us such intricate brains and abilities to use them. But let’s never forget the “A”. Let’s notice the different colors in the sky above us. Let’s explore how a melody elicits feelings that well up inside us. Let’s hear how the right word can be used to build someone up exactly when they need it most. Let’s apply the same curiosity, the same attention to detail to all contributors to STEAM. In those, we’ll see God.


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