Saturday, 10 October 2009

Signs of the ecumenical times - are we really in the age of creativity?

At the Bossey seminar on signs of the ecumenical times - is it really only just 8 days ago - one of the younger speakers reacted to me floating ideas about how the unity in diversity model of ecumenism had real possibilities to speak to people in the postmodern world. He put forward rather the idea that in the post-postmodern world we are now in "the creative age" and this has given me much to ponder on on my (far too many) long journeys taken since that conversation. It has also been at the back of my mind as I listen to the papers and discussions at the Faith and Order plenary commission this week.
Googling the term the creative age led me to this quote from DEMOS "As a knowledge-based economy emerges, economic and social value is created not just by what we know but by whether we apply our knowledge creatively." More from DEMOS here and another useful article here.
Liturgically and interms of community building I am fascinated by some of the ideas I'm picking up from "messy church", fresh expressions and craftivism. I also know that in the ecumenical context less is often more where liturgy is concerned. Liturgy is one place where creativity can be expressed in ecclesial contexts, but the age of creativity is much more about bringing ideas to fruition, about vision, passion and commitment being the key elements in bringing about lasting and meaningful change. Projects come to fruition not simply by the effort of will or money but because of the energy those commited to them are able to generate.
Listening to the papers these past two days I've realised that I can sense a shift in the tectonic plates theologically and ecumenically. I can see too that it might have to do with the emergence of the creative age - though I imagine not all of us are privileged enough to live in the creative age together. The repeated affirmations this week that the process is as important as the substance and the language, that relationships and reconciled conciliarity offer many possibilities for finding the way forwards ecumenically. At some point I also really want to return to Mary Tanner's brilliant taking up of the idea of "transformative conversations". That surely is a sign that we could be in a creative age - after all these thoughts on the age of creativity came about because of a conversation that even if not exactly transformative was certainly challenging and very though-provoking.

"Creativity requires whole-brain thinking; right-brain imagination, artistry and intuition, plus left-brain logic and planning."
However, any kind of creativity certainly requires one thing and that is sleep and I think I should try and get some right now!


Anonymous said...

Really great that you are now back blogging again with incisve, creative posts

Jane said...

Thank you anonymous - whoever you are

Debra O'Connor said...

The whole idea of us being in a post-postmodern world - a creative age - is an interesting one. I am sure that that there are lots of interesting connotations involved, and different understandings of what this really means in a practical sense; especially as you marry craftivism and church.
In my recent studies on creativity and religion, I was completely surprised to find that creativity can be very daunting to Christian church organizations (even with the whole conversation of God as Creator included), even when, as you say, that creativity is not necessarily separate from liturgy.
I guess, I just wanted to say that I appreciate your insights, and am intrigued at the thought of this so-called creative age. Thanks for sharing!