Counting on creativity

And finally a blog on my time with Tisec.

I led a session looking at John 3: 1-10 and responding to it creatively. ‘Imagine any audience you like,’ I said, ‘From an intimate friend or lover to Central Hall Westminster.’

We had some very interesting and sparky responses, and one sermon, which made good use of our discussion, but was not what I had in mind. The sermon was my fault for not being explicit enough. But what had really misled was my use of Central Hall Westminster. I can imagine standing in that space (familiar from adolescence and made real again by the tragic events of a couple of weeks ago) and delivering a monologue, or a poem, or a play. It seemed axiomatic to some that faced with those numbers, only a sermon would do.

We need to free up the hearts and minds of our new priests and deacons. Wonderful as a good sermon is, it is not always the best way of communicating – let me put that more clearly. An occasional sermon is a wonderful way of communicating. But if the communication is all sermon, it will not reach as far as a mixture of communication will. Given a hypothetical congregation of a hundred – and a hypothetical 100 occasions to reach them, then 100 sermons will not open as many to truth as a mixture of poem, play, art, basic teaching and all the other expressions of creativity both intellectual and artistic that we actually have in our arsenal. To engage with the 100 on at least a few of the 100 occasions, we must exploit everything we can, engage every sense.

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