Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Via Creativa

The worship guide for Winter 2013 is on my congregation's website.   I have decided during this series of sermons to take a shot at constructing my own "theology" based on my beliefs about God, Jesus, the Bible, Evolution, Life, and the Universe.   During Winter we honor the via creativa, one of the four paths illuminated by theologian, Matthew Fox, in his book, Original Blessing.   This season accompanies some interesting Sundays:  Epiphany, Baptism of Jesus, Martin Luther King, Evolution, and the five Sundays in Lent.   I am also drawing from the wisdom of all the creative people I have been fortunate to interview on Religion For Life.  This should be fun.   You will find sermon texts and podcasts here.   This is from the worship guide:

The path of creativity and imagination is the result of the dance between awe and sorrow. From the darkness ignited by wonder comes creativity. We know two truths.  It is amazing to be alive and life is painful. We know that we are and that we are not.  Life is here. Life is temporary. What words can we find, what language can we borrow that can express what it means to be alive? How do we both cheer and grieve?  Religion is designed to help give us language. What of our religions and their symbols?  What are their limits? What do we do when the language we have inherited has become stale? What permission do we need to challenge what we thought was absolute?  After we deconstruct and let go of images that have become cracked idols, what will we create? Welcome to the via creativa.

Moving beyond religion, what about life? What about your life if I may ask? What will you make of the awe and the pain? What are you creating or what is being created in you? Can you give yourself permission to read an old text in a new way? Can you allow yourself to make an error? Are you afraid you might get God wrong? What would happen then? What energizes you?  What is important? For what or for whom do you live? Are you on an adventure? If not, why not? Can you create your own life? The via creativa says you can.

During the Winter as the days get longer, we will acknowledge creativity and imagination.  We are in a time of societal creativity. Historian of religion, Phyllis Tickle, calls it the great emergence. Every five hundred years the church has a big rummage sale. We get rid of what no longer works, find old treasures we forgot (or never knew we had), and discover new things altogether! It is a time to risk “getting God wrong!” We give ourselves permission to doubt, to create, to mix and match, and to create our own unique spiritual path.
We don't have to start from scratch.   We go encouraged by wise ones from the past and present who poke, prod, and nudge us to explore the depths of our own creativity.   The point is not for folks to get hung up on what I believe or don't believe or whatever.  My goal in this season of worship services is to encourage others to create their own theology.  I am doing it with you.   Also, the exercise is not simply intellectual or esoteric.   We are talking about unleashing creativity to transform our communities and our individual lives toward beauty, justice, and peace.    Join us!

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