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"We are all creators. Whether or not we create is not up to us. We are human, and creating is what we do. Every interaction, movement, and decision is creativity at work. We are all artists. We all order creation around us into the world that we want to make."--Michael Gungor In The Crowd, the Critic, and the Muse, Michael Gungor takes an uncompromising--and humorous--look at our creative selves and the world that we have fashioned around us. Through story and reflection, Gungor shows how our deepest beliefs and assumptions about the universe affect how we order creation. Our art and our humanity are inextricably entwined. Surveying pop songs and church services, fine art and movies, Gungor shows what these works of creation reveal about us--for better and worse--and offers a powerful argument for why we can do better. Art is like fruit, and if we want to improve the quality of our creative output, we must tend not only to the fruit, but to the tree, its roots, and the soil that it is planted in. To become free as creators, we must not simply try harder, we must become different. Gungor argues that this kind of change demands both an awareness of one's own cultural conditioning and a healthy degree of faith, doubt, hope and love. An award-winning, globetrotting musician, Gungor also reveals his personal journey as an artist and creator, a tale of moving from innocence to wisdom, from simplicity to complexity and back again, a tale of leaving home and returning in a new, better, and more creative way.