When I attended a conference called Theology After Google, I didn’t know what it would do for my journey, my pursuit of a mysterious God. Nor did I know before going that I would meet some folks who would continue to be dialogue partners along the way. The Keefe-Perry’s have been a pair of those partners whom I remember with fondness and interact with from time-to-time on Twitter about food, parenting, God, faith, culture, context, etc.
Poetry: The Creativity of Everyone
Husband and new daddy Callid Keefe-Perry is a one of the most thoughtful/articulate people I’ve interacted with, while retaining a wonder, teachability and humbleness about him. He’s just finished a project documentary, Made as Makers, on creative reflections on faith, a poetic construction of others creative responses to some simple(!?) prompts: Tell me about God. Tell me about faith. Tell me about hope. Tell me how these things intersect with the church. He offers his interviewees creative license to respond viscerally, and with originality. Further, his interviewees are folks who go to conferences, work “day jobs”, and create on their own from time-to-time. Only a few would be ranked as pastors, theologians, etc., but do not seem to dominate his surveyed population.
What evolves is a small part of the poetry of a people of a YHWH faith, writing out their part of the prose to a divine cadence. The notes of their laughter, the sting of sorrowful tears, frustration from efforts to understand a corporate faith and their role, and the throw-your-hands-in-the-air feeling of following a mysterious God shape the greater body of this poem. You get a sense of the everyday-ness of people and their connection to YHWH, or at least the effort to know a creator grander, wiser, more playful then ourselves. The diversity in gender and culture Callid invited into the interview lend to a broader view of this creativity; some of the divergent thoughts and perceptions were from those with whom I do not share a cultural heritage. These voices in the prose were much appreciated. One man’s reflection on the corporate identity of a faith community, over and above the common individual reflections pulled my gaze from the self to the community, to the other. It was a needed, refreshing line in Callid’s piece.
Writing Your Faith Communities’ Poem
I know that Callid’s intention is to offer this back to the community as a gift, something to inspire a creative response in other faith communities. I echo his effort; your conversation around these simple(!?) prompts could open the way to directions not-yet thought of. It would be a risk, perhaps. But then, if you’ve ever created anything of your own you may resonate with the risk to share that with others: to expose yourself to critique or opinion when you’ve laid yourself bare in your efforts is a significant risk. Likewise, pursuing a creator God with all of ourselves requires the same risk. May Callid’s poem bring you to risk.