Re:Creating Empathy

Randy Elrod is the passionate, artistic, creative entrepreneur who formed and shaped re:create, and has nurtured it over eleven years. In my continuing series of quotes from the re:create conference, this post is focused on Randy’s presentation about empathy. Believe me when I say that it generated much discussion at the conference.

Randy’s empathy was on display throughout the conference as he shed real, empathetic tears on more than one occasion. In other words, he knew that of which he was speaking.  Here are some quotes:

  • Ether = Quintessence = “The 5th Element”; Ether was known as the purest essence and was thought to permeate everything. We have a God who is “quintessence” in the greatest sense.
  • Use one word to describe yourself: that word is your brand; your “brand” is who you are not what you do.
  • The first verb of the Bible is “created”!
  • Empathy comes in three types: Cognitive, Emotional, and Compassionate.
  • Cognitive Empathy = To know another person’s feelings; to take them and use them for or against a person.
  • Emotional Empathy = To feel what another person feels.
  • Compassionate Empathy = To respond compassionately to another person’s distress.
  • The progression of these three types of empathy goes like this: I notice you…I feel with you…I act to help you (that’s what the Good Samaritan did).

Once we determine what type of empathy we most regularly practice, we can be aware of the gift from God that it is, and use it in service to ourself and to others.

  • The Creator God can recreate our past because He is the “quintessential” Father. He is ever-present in and through His Word.
  • When you feel yourself getting tense, assess it; you’re trying to be God in that moment.
  • The up side of being an empathetic person is passion, intuition, and communication.
  • The down side of being an empathetic person is that one can become an emotional sponge.
  • Be present to your God-given emotions “for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Phil. 2:13).

What does empathy have to do with creativity?

  • It helps to understand that even our minds have been redeemed; understanding the spiritual “mind” that has been placed in us is key to seeing life through the eyes of Christ.
  • Christian contemplation is a commendable practice.
  • Practice imagination!
  • Practice remembering what you’ve forgotten, a la Madeline L’Engle who reminds us that every child is an artist.
  • Practice charisma, that is “the ability to make people feel comfortable in an uncomfortable space.”
  • Give people the gift of God’s presence in you.
  • Be optimistic and curious.
  • Focus on others: Pay attention to the person in front of you (listen to listen…not to fix and solve).

People do their best work when they are allowed to make progress. Give the people around you the opportunity to make progress.

As a result of this talk I’m going to work on being a more empathetic person, being more “present” to those in my life. I also want to use the gift of empathy to foster my creative spirit (see the last group of bullet points).

How do empathy and creativity work together to produce art in your life?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “Re:Creating Empathy

  1. There you go again, Mr. Humility! You are one of the most empathetic souls I know, as your pledge to be more empathetic confirms. Bless you!