Monday, November 06, 2006

Preaching and Creativity?

Is creativity a part of the preaching process?
Is creativity part of your preaching process?
Do you consider it important to your reading of the scripture for the sermon?
Does it come into play as you are writing the sermon?
And how about when you are presenting the sermon, does creativity matter?
Does it come into play as the congregation hear the scripture read and the sermon preached?

I ask because I came across this about creativity at Braingle mentalrobics: Creativity :: Noticing the Unnoticed. The title alone caught my attention. I think part of reading the scripture is to notice the unnoticed.

The article further said: Our minds are constantly filtering and processing data so that you don't have to pay attention to everything. Your consciousness is only presented with the most relevant data that you need to make decisions. Small details are often ignored. For example, do you know which color is on the top of a traffic light? Or which direction Lincoln is facing on the penny?

Whenever you have a free moment, look around and try to notice something that you don't normally see. Study all the minute details about an object and recognize that it was made that way for a reason. What is that reason?

Sometimes art students are instructed to look at the world upside-down by bending over and looking between their legs. This different orientation often allows you to see things that you normally wouldn't see. Try it. You may also try getting really low to the ground and see what the world looks like from an ant's perspective.

I don't know that we have to go through such areobics to look at scripture creatively. But I do wonder if we are invited to look at scripture with a creative eye and mind. And I wonder if by our looking at scripture that way as preachers, that we are also inviting our listeners to do the same. Perhaps, that is part of why Jesus told parables.

See if you can use creative eyes to read the lectionary scripture for Sunday, Mark 12:38-44. In fact, I think Jesus is inviting the disciples to use creative eyes. Can you see what he is inviting you to see?


Victor Shepherd in his sermon on The Holy Spirit as Breath, Oil, Dove and Fire says this of the the "Spirit as breath; 'Breath' in Hebrew denotes creativity. The breath of God that God breathes into his own people is that movement of God upon us and within us which enlivens our creativity and frees it for service in God’s kingdom."
Matthew Fox has written a book titled CREATIVITY: WHERE THE DIVINE AND THE HUMAN MEET. In this book he writes about “The Divine Artist Within”, the creative Spirit, the Holy Spirit at work in us. You can read an exerpt from the book at his website.
Sarah Stockton writes about creativity as a Spiritual Practice. She writes the following "The impulse to create — an impulse familiar to so many — is part of our yearning to live. When we become aware of and then act upon our creative impulses, we recognize and align ourselves with the Holy Spirit, the Sacred Breath of Life, the Divine One, the Ground of our Being. For in the creative process we attempt to give life to our own understanding and experience of existence."
In this sermon, "The Trinity as Creative Idea, Creative Energy, Creative Power" on Genesis 1:1-2:4, Margaret Gunness goes into depth about the creativity of the Trinity in creation and now.

When I read the Genesis passage of the Creation story, I became more aware of the creating work of God. That may not make much sense, but somewhere in my thinking, and in some ways from what I was taught; I was convinced creation was once and that was it, and on top of that it just had to do with the creation of the world. Perhaps it was my age or spiritual maturity? But as I have studied the scriptures I become more aware that this creating work is still going on. Okay I am a little slow sometimes. I have come to believe in the creative work of the holy spirit in us now. I believe that this creative work of the Holy Spirit is at work/play in us as we read the scriptures, prepare the sermon, pray over the sermon, write the words, and then deliver the word. I also believe as people in the congregation listen to the sermon and open themselves to the Holy Spirit, the creativity continues in them and their lives. What about you? What do you think?


The Vicar of Hogsmeade said...

I often have folks say "I hadn't thought of it that way before." So I think that aspect of creativity is important. I also am attuned to the fact that some older folks would be distracted by movie clips while some younger ones would be thrilled; a different form of creativity in sermon delivery. So my answer is: yes and no

Rev Scott said...

One thought that's occurred to me several times this year is the difference between creation and consumption. So many of us confuse the two - and perhaps this is why the American soul is best compared to the Platte River in my native Nebraska: "a mile wide and a foot deep."

Creativity is important in the entire worship experience, in my opinion, because if we are made in God's image, we are made to create. Music, art, speech, you name it, it should be celebrated and lifted up in worship. I wish I were better at evoking the creative impulse in my congregation. They've been spoon-fed what to believe and how to behave in worship for so many years that the interplay of "I-you" is often completely impossible. But I'm working on it.

Great post - very thought-provoking!