Life, Faith and Urban Farming

The life and happenings of an unconventional pastor and urban farmer living in the city with a family of five.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


The next core value of the Open Door that I want to talk about is innovation. The above painting was done by one of my favorite artists of the 20th century, Jackson Pollock (thanks Andy for introducing me to Pollock). He did this painting in 1943. Here's what we have written on innovation as a core value.


We value creativity because we belive that God is creative and that being made in His likeness means we are creative beings as well. We celebrate the goodness and beauty of God's creation and desire to express our imagination in ways that inspire and that reflect His beauty.

It really says something about a community of faith when creativity or innovation is understood to be a core value of who they beleive God has called them to be. Imagination, creativity, innovation can be dangerous! I think there are two realms of creativity that are important to the Open Door, the realm of being creative with ecclesiology and to a limited degree theology, and the realm of personal expression as spiritual formation.

First of all, The Open Door encourages people to be creative in thinking about who we are as a community of faith. We believe God has called us to be always contextualizing the gospel for the cultural contexts we find ourselves a part of. Contextualization takes creativity and innovation. The denominations that hold tight to a strict historical ecclesiology seem to me to be the ones that have trouble allowing divergent cultures (divergent from modernistic Christendom that is) to hear and understand the gospel. While we believe tradition is important, we believe it is only important when it serves to further the gospel of Jesus. So creative thought on who the church is and what the church is called to be and to do is always encouraged by The Open Door. I'll leave the idea of creative thought in the realms of theology for someone else at this point!

The Open Door beleives that through creative expression one may come to know the Creative One. God the creator allows human beings the right to know a part of His being through creative expression. I think this is a hugely exciting idea. When I sit down to write a song that connects with something deep within my being I am also connecting with the one who created me! The same happens when a painter paints, when a dancer dances, when an opera singer sings, maybe even when a chemist thinks creatively about a cure for disease! Whether we know it or not our ability to create is rooted in the imagio dei, the image of God in us all. Now I have to mix this with my reformed education and say that God usually uses things like his Word (see older posts) to draw poeple to himself, but I believe the Word is a creative force or a creative being. It is because we are created in the image of The Creator that we can know in some way the creative Word of God, the Logos.

This is why we are willing to be dangerously creative in worship and as a community of faith. We believe the Word of God will work through the creative expression of his people and through the creative expression of those who he is calling to Himself.


Sarah Louise said...

I am ever grateful to the OD's creativity (though not so on the grass stains on my jeans from sitting outside). I loved it when we collaged the door, I loved creating a station of the cross for Lent, I love picking slides for song backgrounds. As a person that doesn't fit the 9-5, monday to friday, 2.5 kids model that you find at a lot of churches, I am grateful that if I have nothing else in common with my community, I have creativity.
btw, how did the thing with the Presbytery go?

bj woodworth said...

John this is publishable. I have always known creativity was in our communities DNA in the typical artistic fashion but inovative ecclesiology and theology. Wow! Thanks be to God for that insight! It is sooo... true I just never really thought of it in the words you used. Inovative theology is at the heart of good missiology which is the root of inovative ecclesiology. Can I get an Amen? Luther and other Reformers supposedly stated that our theology our to be constatnly reforming or perhaps innovating. What do you think? I think Dr. Purvis would agree. I gotta' get back to Greek. I am blessed by you my brother and my friend!