Emerging/Emergent Trait 7: Creating as Created Beings - Sept 20

Darrell L. Bock's picture

Description: The theme here is the participation in the kingdom of God through creativity and aesthetics. So this trait often overlaps with themes from the previous trait. The goal is to fight against the McDonaldization of the church with its efficiency, calculability, predictability, and control. So E/E goes in a distinct direction from church growth emphases. Witness and mission in worship are still emphasized but that witness is both verbal and artistic, using the full range of such expression. "The problem with most forms of Christian worship is that they demand very little from most of the congregation." Artistic expression need not mean fancy art, but participating at the level of one's ability. So art directed to God is used. Dance, writing, film, graphics, meditations are also possible vehicles. Creative service is also in view: toddler groups, opening cafes, running seminars, giving financial advice, opening rooms for bands. Here relationships are formed. This is more than the expression of the human spirit or a demonstration of personal ego. The goal is the glory of God. Discussion of art to reveal God and our story is common. "This means there is quite a bit of institutional chaos and a lot of creativity." Authenticity is valued more than the pursuit of relevancy or targeting. Acting out the kingdom can reflect such interests. Rituals and "installations" are used. Installations appear to be locales where particular activities are going on, like prayer or art discussion, even a walk through the stations of the cross. Banners, incense, and candles can be used to draw in all the senses. The result is overheard praise that can be a witness. The goal is to engage the culture in worship. The use of an "arts warehouse" is the work of one community. There is care about the overuse of technology. Evaluation: Much of what was said in about the last trait fits here. I do see many creative options raised up in these kinds of categories. What is significant to notice is how small a role Scripture or discussion of Scripture in a direct kind of way seems to play in these categories. Personal categories and experiences and perspectives are emphasized, but it is not clear what role Scripture does play in such reflection. Worship and Word have often gone together in the church over the centuries along with the desire that the Spirit guide what takes place.

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