A few weeks ago I was standing in a group of 3 or 4 after church, amongst whom was my friend Carol, our Pastor of Families, Children, and Youth, was telling one of the Sunday school teachers about Godly Play. Carol said something that intrigued me. She said that the point of Godly Play is to tell the children the biblical stories in a language that makes sense to them. Then have the children create a project. Now, oft the project doesn’t seem to be related to the story, but that is okay, because it is what the story does within the child’s heart that is being expressed, a heart affected by the story.
This idea, that so intrigued, me floated around in my mind for some time. As I related this event to another friend she said something about connecting our story to the project, I almost rejected this in the context that was in my pre-conscious. But, it is kind of hard to unhear something.
I read Peter Rollin’s Orthodox Heretic some time ago. It is a collection of parables that he created. I don’t really recall the parables so much as I recall what he tells us about parable in the introduction.
hOW tO speak Of sOmethIng that cannOt be
In the parable, truth is not expressed via some
detached logical discourse… it emanates
from the creation of a lyrical dis-course —a dis-course being
that form of (mis)communication that sends us
spinning off course and onto a new course.
A parable …will change our
world—breaking it open to ever-new possibilities….
(Rollins, Peter, Orthodox Heretic and Other Impossible Tales, 2009)
Also, of late I’ve been listening to Lateralus by Tool. The lyrics have been spiraling ’round in my head.
drawn beyond the lines of reason.
Push the envelope. Watch it bend.
Over thinking, over analyzing separates the body from the mind.
Withering my intuition, missing opportunities and I must
Feed my will to feel my moment drawing way outside the lines.
Black then white are all I see in my infancy.
Red and yellow then came to be, reaching out to me.
Let’s me see there is so much more and
Beckons me to look thru to these infinite possibilities.
Feel the rhythm, to feel connected enough to step aside and weep…
To feel inspired to fathom the power, to witness the beauty,
To bathe in the fountain,…To swing on the spiral …. With my feet upon the ground I move myself between the sounds I’m reaching up and reaching out.
I’m reaching for the random or what ever will bewilder me.
We’ll ride the spiral to the end and may just go where no one’s been.
And one more piece that fits into my recent thinking. The opening soliloquy of the movie Crash:
Its the sense of touch. In any real city, you walk, you know? You brush past people, people bump into you. In L.A., nobody touches you. We’re always behind this metal and glass. I think we miss that touch so much, that we crash into each other, just so we can feel something.
All of these elements started coming together yesterday as I pondered ecclesiology, something else I have been doing a lot of lately.
Again I digress, well slightly.
So, yesterday the above mentioned elements started coming together and connecting in my mind. They began a dance, an intricate dance, dancing together. Clumsily, at first, but each beginning to find the rhythm of the other as they danced ’round my mind “beyond the lines of reason”.
So, we have parables and stories, even gathered from the culture at large that reflect the biblical narratives, the biblical story or some aspect thereof, some theme, idea, maybe even the biblical stories themselves recast. A story teller tells the story to a group of creative adults. The biblical story, the parable crashes into the listener’s story and hopefully shatters reality,or at the very least begins to crack it open. This begins a process of some type of transformation within the listener. A transformation that may not be able to be put into coherent words to make logical sense. The listener struggles with the dissonance, the shattered reality. Now, we give the listener the chance to express herself artistically.
This seems to me to be worship. Can it work that way? Can it be?
Beginning in January our Monday Night Group is going to experiment with this crashing of the biblical story into our stories, cracking open our realities, and finding artistic expression. I think that there are infinite possibilities when we reach for whatever may come. Maybe we will find that the cracked reality expressed will shatter reality for the others in the group. Hopefully all will grow together, learning from one another, experiencing this story of God.
If you are in the Sacramento, CA area and might be interested contact me on Twitter, or here in the comments.