August 31, 2009

Creating a New Pathway

            I had the privilege this past week of teaching the first course in Central’s new CREATE program, an experimental M.Div. program that holds promise for transforming theological education. [We think we are ahead of the curve on this one!]  The course, Spirituality and Creativity, will be foundational in both theology and method for this cohort.  Conducted in a retreat format at Conception Abbey, we pursued these objectives:

1.     To examine biblical and theological perspectives on how the Spirit of God shapes our distinctive giftedness

2.     To engage ways human creativity expresses imago trinitatis

3.     To practice lectio divina as a means of refining receptivity to the movement of God’s Spirit

4.     To experience spiritual formation through communal practices

5.     To consider varied art forms as expressions of worship and creativity

6.     To learn how friendship can be a spiritual practice that evokes creativity

7.     To receive Benedictine hospitality as invitation to spiritual wholeness

Now reading course objectives out of a syllabus may not be your idea of a scintillating blog; however, if you had seen how these objectives took form in eager, bright, and creative students, it

would make your heart sing!  Sharing meals, sharing worship, sharing ideas, the cohort became a community of scholars and a community of friends. The purpose of the content and format of this degree is to hone the giftedness of the student to become a creative problem-solver in ministry. We all know that new competencies are required of leaders in our day; faith communities languish when creativity is absent.

            Exploring the connections between spirituality and creativity, we came to these conclusions (among others):

1.     One cannot force creativity; it is the work of the Spirit in our lives and flows apart from our control

2.     Creativity requires patience as we sometimes take frustrating wrong turns

3.     Friendship can kindle creativity through allowing the free exchange of ideas and critique

4.     Human creativity is a means through which God repairs the world

5.     Creativity expresses the dynamism of creation, which is yet to be finished

A new pathway is under construction, for the church and the world. Thanks be to God!

            Molly T. Marshall

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