i’m preparing at the moment for the wisdom’s feast alt worship workshop. i think most participants in the workshop will be firmly located within the church context, so it’s likely the conversation in the workshop will edge away from what’s possible, and towards ‘how do we make sure we do what’s right?’. a lot of them will also be longing for something different, but be nervous that things might change.

one part of the workshop is going to be about the church as an environment that can inspire or stifle imagination. as i was thinking this through, one of the things that came to me was that we’ve been so concerned about protecting the church’s theology from potential straying that we’ve not allowed imagination – there’s always a danger that our imagination might lead us into muddy waters. but maybe not letting there be a space for imagination in church is as irresponsible [unfaithful?] as careless theology.

last night i was part of a conversation [over a fabulous dinner], set up by cam semmens and stu davey. they’re both part of Solace community in Fairfield – an Anglican emerging church / alt worship community. Cam is being employed by Solace to do some research into arts, worship and theology. He pulled together a small group of people last night to have a conversation about inspiration, the place of the arts in worship, etc.. I hadn’t met the others before. i think what was lovely about it was that our thoughts/philosophy/theology were emerging from very different perspectives, but when we talked about art and imagination, we resonated with each other really strongly. it was our common ground.

cam and stu’s reflections on the conversation will be part of a chapter to be included in the next book that Solace are writing…

[not only did we get a wonderful dinner and good conversation, we also came away with gifts – how cool is that! i’m free for such conversations every week! stu gave us a copy of ‘Remaking: a workbook for spiritual formation’, a book of thinking that has emerged from within the solace community. i haven’t dipped into it yet, but it has a beautiful cover… and also a newly released cd from melbourne’s cafe church. it’s called fish under a tree… it’s a compilation of music from artists within the community. i’m listening to it at the moment, and it’s really lovely… and the insert artwork is absolutely gorgeous.]


  1. Johnno

    G’day Cheryl
    Thanks for the wee peek into your prep for the workshop – an event I am greatly looking forward to.

    The question, as you have put it –

  2. Mike

    See? I’ve been trying to get him to blog for years!

    I do believe that’s John’s first ever blog comment…


  3. Cheryl

    thanks John – i feel honoured to be have been part of the blog baptism [if mike’s belief is founded!]

    I really like the last para you’ve written. i’ve been approaching my thinking from the perspective that our imagination is a reflection of God’s imagination, which is at the heart of creation. being fully – and most faithfully – human involves, at its core, the capacity to imagine.

  4. When I was a young man, one person who was a significant mentor was youthworker Dave Kendall. I always remember one illustration Dave used to use. He said that life was like a game of soccer. Too many people spent all their time huddled in the middle of the field, fearful of getting too close to the edge and giving away a penalty by going outside the boundaries. But Dave made the point that if you really wanted to score you had to risk going out of bounds and play up and down the wings. It’s a picture that’s always stuck with me.

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