Romantic Christianity understands the future of Christianity to be one in which the individual person takes ultimate responsibility for his most profound beliefs.
Because of the corruption-to-evil of the institution of the Western world, including all the major churches; this implies the need for a Christian life of creative discovery, and that this life needs to be self-motivated.
To be sustainable through difficulties, this kind of creative life must provide personal motivations and rewards - or else it will not be begun, or will soon be abandoned.
People are most creative when creativity is supported with positive and rewarding emotions and/or provides relief from negative or aversive emotions.
This would seem to work in three stages: Discontent –> Delight –> Satisfaction.
This corresponding to: Perceiving a Problem –> Having an Insight –> Generating a Solution.
Therefore, creativity is driven by a negative or ‘Dysphoric’ feeling – that some state of affairs produces an emotion of dissatisfaction.
"The creative" then turns his attention to this ‘‘problem’’ – and he enjoys working on the problem (that is, he enjoys ‘being creative’); and finally he may come up with an insight which leads to a euphoric feeling of delight.
So, The Creative is rewarded up-front for generating insights – by working on a problem he both gets relief from a negative state of inner dissatisfaction and is also positively rewarded by an inner fulfilment by the work – and this happens whether or not his insights eventually turn-out to be answers.
As such, The Creative will tend to generate insights for the sheer fun of it! – and even if the insights turn-out to be trivial, erroneous, useless, or harmful. This provides his day-to-day motivation for being-creative.
But, finally, with persistence and luck on his side; let us say that The Creative comes up with a solution to the problem: a solution which, for a shortish period (minutes or hours, perhaps), makes him feel joyously happy or ‘Euphoric’! Thus a Dysphoric state of Discontent has then been replaced by a Euphoric state; and when Euphoria subsides the successful creative will move onto a longer-term and sustained state of satisfaction or gratification – and this can be termed ‘Euthymic’, meaning a state of ‘normal’ good mood.
Therefore, first Euphoria, then Euthymia are the emotional rewards for creativity. So, in terms of phenomenology, it goes: Dysphoria – Euphoria – Euthymia Or, in English: Discontent, Bliss, Satisfaction.
In terms of the larger picture of Life, this is the discontented state of seeking Destiny and the gratification of discovering it; embarking on a Quest – which is itself a satisfying albeit frustrating activity; and finally achieving Illumination – which leads to an acute state of bliss then a chronic state of satisfaction (and quite likely a new search for another Destiny).
Therefore, for the creative person, a normal life in conformity with social expectations is unsatisfying; but being creative is rewarding. Such a person will be spontaneously creative, as a consequence of their inner drives and personal satisfactions; and creative whether asked to be creative or not, whether it is useful or not, and whether he is sufficiently knowledgeable and competent for the task or not.
Romantic Christianity therefore entails that being A Creative is not the preserve of traditional geniuses; but becomes the norm for Christians.
In other words; each Christian should become a Genius of his own fundamental and ultimate Christianity; even when, as usually happens, he chooses to retain an affiliation to some denomination or church with respect to less-fundamental and more-superficial aspects of his faith and life.
His base-faith is required to be the work of his genius, else he will not be sufficiently motivated in the world as-now; yet part of this base-faith may entail the insight that "such-and-such a church" is (at present) valid and helpful for his Christian life.
But the first step for a Romantic Christian is to discover what it is that we will be creative about, what really motivates us from-within and is in accordance with divine creation; and finding that is the beginning of his "genius quest".
Note: The above passage, starting with "People are most creative", and ending with "task or not" is lightly-edited from my co-authored (with Ed Dutton) book The Genius Famine.
I have been re-reading this book for the first time since it was published nearly eight years ago, and have found it to be (somewhat surprisingly) Very Good! Helped by Ed's input; it reads excitingly (for this kind of book), and I had actually forgotten writing several of the ideas and insights that seemed most valid. So I am (re-) learning something, just from reading my own stuff.
Anyway, I would recommend The Genius Famine to my readers, as being much-more-relevant-than-expected to the project of Romantic Christianity.
You can read the text version linked above for free, but the Kindle version is a lot more user-friendly. (The paper version seems over-priced; and was badly typeset, unfortunately.)