Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Creative space

Having just written a post on safe space, I started thinking about creative space.
We quote the Bible that man (humans, people, homo sapiens) were created in the image of God. So, if we see God as somehow involved in creation, and we carry His image, then we have creative genes in us.
It doesn't even require a belief in God as creator in order to see that we have an incredible ability to create.

So, it makes great sense to me that our interaction with each other (in whatever size or configuration of meeting together as Christ followers) should have lots of space for creativity.
If our collective gatherings should include aspects of worship, much creativity should be welcome for ways to do this.
If our gatherings include conversation about truth, ideas, questions, problems or joys, creativity should be rampant in how these conversations take place.
If our togetherness includes food, creativity must be encouraged!
If our communality includes involvement in the community at large, let creativity abound as to the many ways we can be Christ in our world.

Let's be creative as we look at different kinds of creativity.
Creativitity involves use of the senses:
--smells (incense, hot casseroles, freshly mown hay)
--sounds (percussion, harmonies, words)
--tastes (bread & wine, spices, soup kitchens)
--sights (banners, smiles, carvings)
--touch (hugs, anointing oil, more hugs)

Creativity involves doing something in a new or different way than usual.
It might still be spoken words, but they may be poetry, or antiphonal or accompanied by dance.
It may be a painting, but it might be done live as other worship occurs, or many artists on the same canvas.
It may still be music, but the player may be hidden, or the instrument may be hand made.
It may be a communion service, but the emblems may be non-traditional.
It may be a familiar hymn in an unfamiliar tune (or new words to an old melody).
It may be a regular meeting of familiar faces, but in a new venue.

Creativity involves giving permission for freedom.
It allows chaos, but perhaps glory.
It leaves room for God himself to show up.
It lets the little guy, the new guy, the shy guy to grow, to shine, to excel.
It says we want something more than a worship team, an offering, and a sermon.
It says we trust the Creator to let himself be seen though each of us.

Creativity has been squeezed out of church, replaced by excellence. (There is nothing wrong with excellence, as long as seeking it doesn't shut out the participation of 90% of the group.)
It has been usurped by technology (which could be creative, but often is just added to enhance the perception of excellence).
It has been replaced by tradition. We always have a worship team. We always take up the offering this way. We always have the seats arranged this way. We always have communion at the end of the service. We always use this version of the Bible for scripture readings. We always... We always... We always...

It's time to take back the wonder of newness. New ways of expressing age old concepts. (A hip-hop version of the Creeds?) Age old ways of expressing new concepts. (A Gregorian chant about saving the rainforests?)

Let's create some creative space in our communities of worship.

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