Good writing, with a strong point and with life oozing out.

Artistry and Imagination at Common Table

August 7, 2011

Many years ago, I started dreaming of a church not only populated by artists, but led by them.  Too often, I’m afraid, artists are asked to lend their services to the more right-brained, more goal-oriented segments of the church, rather than sharing their own insights from their perspectives.

The bad news was, I had absolutely no idea how to create such a community.  The good news was that I got involved in an emergence community that didn’t depend on me or any other single person to bring something like this about.  Over several years, it grew up quite organically, and I couldn’t be more grateful (especially since in the meantime I’ve started to see myself as an artist of sorts).

This morning at Common Table, my friend Chris Rackley brought some truly wonderful thoughts about creativity, fantasy, and the transformation of the world.  He told his story, wove in some of his beloved JRR Tolkien, and gave those gathered a chance to exercise their own creativity.  As his wife Sandy read a passage from Silmarillion, I was inspired to write about my experience with another ‘sub-creator’ (to borrow Tolkien’s term) yesterday when he led me and some friends into his outdoor chapel in the woods:

Back and forth, the curtain opens and closes.  Flashing traffic: metal coffins, bent on destruction.  Carrying people in great haste and waste toward some hurried destination.


But Eric passed through this curtain, unscathed.  Stepping into green space on the other side, then past a large white rock and into the the curtain of woods.  Unnoticed by the drivers, yet drawing him in.  And though the ground is flat and level, he was now both descending and ascending:  going deeper into life and floating far above it.


Until minutes expanded to hours and steps transformed into great distance and he was once again in the bright space of his old home. Light flooded in from above, expressing the hospitality of a holy space and offering unnatural illumination.  Yet somehow and at the same time the place was cool and shaded from the heat of the day, gentle winds cooling sweaty brow.

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