Having just returned from an hour and a half of listening at the Emergent Cohort, not by force but by decision…I am elated to see the new forms of ministry emerging, but realize the challenge facing the PC(USA).
the monastic movement looked within their congregation to find creative ways to gain economic stability. If there was a print maker in the group, they printed documents. Some brewed beer, some sold food. Due to a need for money, they were able to recognize the talents, resources and gifts God had presented them, and they responded (if not they died quickly and no one ever spoke of them again).
The PC(USA) challenge is that we have the infastructure and resources to sustain an empty ship for decades. There is no need to be creative economically.
Creative artistically means that churchs recognize the gifts and abilities of the culture to present media in a format that touches the viewer/listener/participator’s heart. There is something about Laguana Beach that makes everyone watch it–Lord knows i have no clue what “that” is, but undoubtably MTV knows. Therefore, there is an importance in artistic creativity, which emphasizes the common story we all have in the Creator’s Artwork.
The challenge to the PC(USA) is that we have a disdain for artwork, or at least see it as a nice side hobby while the real theological work occurs in the classroom, not the studio.
Ultimately creativity boils down to leadership, are leaders being trained how to embrace creativity or are leaders being molded into an established formula that preach, pastor and pray in the “traditional manner.” An innovative leaders need freedom to experiment and fail.
The challenge to the PC(USA) is that it is trying to fix some gapping wounds, and the idea of experimentation and failure would only produce more wounds which would seem unbarable.
It is in the “Oh Shit” moments that leadership defines itself, it is in those times of chaos that creativity is essential because “Oh Shit” moments occur only when all reasonable avenues have failed.
Anyone ready to say “Oh Shit” yet?