|Warning: Creativity Ahead!|
Thirty steps away, we entered the grand and imposing cathedral, the Mother Ship for all international Presbyterians. The bell chimed noon, announcing a service of daily prayer. So we sat for what we knew would be a brief time of scripture and meditation. The clean-shaven minister convened us by acknowledging we were surrounded by colorful creativity, but then proceeded as if it were twenty miles down the road, and not right outside the door. His handwritten prayers were eloquent, although they repeatedly hit on the theme of how much we ignore God in every day life.
All the while, the minister-in-charge (AKA his supervisor) traipsed the perimeter of the sanctuary, ready to bark out reprisals to tourists who used their cameras during the quaint liturgy.
Jamie and I have been here before. We should have expected it. While this ten minute liturgy was stately and traditional, I could not help but feel as if a huge opportunity was being squandered. Come on, folks: the largest creative arts festival in the WORLD is happening outside your door and you are steering your Calvinist barge straight ahead, completely indifferent to your own neighborhood.
If this weren't enough, the service was followed by a concert of Chilean art songs set to nearly atonal harmonies. A small crowd lingered for these strange sounds that remained untranslated, a few of the listeners looking oh-so-important. Again, a near miss.
|Treat your neighbor as gold|
What if the church spent some of its considerable endowment during the Fringe Festival to employ a theologian and an artist to present daily conversations about the relationships between the creative, the thoughtful, and the just? What if the leaders of the congregation put together - or employed - a drama troupe of their own, to present engaging moments on the steps of the church, gently inviting the crowds to consider the Gospel so treasured inside?
What if we engaged God's world rather than dismiss it?
As for Judge Doom, policing the sanctuary, I would fire his tailbone and dismiss him to a musty museum. His crime? A lack of imagination.
But all was not lost. For the first time, I saw a creative use for a set of pipes: Bagpipe Blowtorch! Now, that is imaginative!
|He sets Mr. Hume on fire!|