Showing posts from April, 2022

Applying Improvisation to Hospitality

  The Episcopal Church is keen on Radical Welcome. We welcome all, regardless of where they are on their spiritual journey, their race, education, social status, or gender or sexual identity. All are welcome.   Radical Welcome goes beyond invitation and hospitality. Hospitality says, “come, be part of us.” Radical Welcome says come and let us be part of each other. The Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, Canon to the Presiding Bishop for Evangelism, Reconciliation, and Creation Care, wrote in Radical Welcome: Embracing God, The Other, and the Spirit of Transformation , “Radical welcome is the spiritual practice of embracing and being changed by the gifts, presence, voices, and power of The Other.” Radical welcome involves transformation. It is not merely accommodating the other, it is saying, “Come, bring who you are. My arms are open to you. Would you open yours to me?” Growth, transformation, change, these are scary words. We don’t know exactly how the changes will play out. That is the

Can Improv Save the World?

  Improvisation is a process that uses interpersonal skills to create a mindset through which one interacts with the world. Like our faith, improvisation is a lens through which we view all our interactions. This is a much broader definition of Improv that most people are familiar with. For most, Improv is seen as merely entertainment. Improv takes place in bars and comedy clubs and features a group of people standing in front of an audience and making stuff up to get laughs. That certainly is a form of improv, but it is not it’s entirety. At its core, improv is not about being funny. In fact, if an improviser works at being funny, they have already failed. Improvisation is not comedy, but it can be used in comedy to create scenes on the spot. The definition of Improv is to “compose extemporaneously, arrange offhand, and to make or fabricate out of what is conveniently on hand.” Comedy improv is not making stuff up. Improv is about building on what you have to create something new. O

Holy Playfulness

  One does not usually think of play when it comes to church. At least for adults, that is. Children are allowed to play in the nursery. If you are in a large enough congregation that is lucky enough to have a gym, then one can play basketball. Many Episcopal churches use Godly Play for children’s church. That is where children learn Bible stories Montessori style by playing with wooden figures representing Biblical characters. But for adults, church is serious business, certainly nothing to play around with. Churches take adult education, evangelism, stewardship, and worship very seriously.   It doesn’t matter if it is liturgical, evangelical, or charismatic; church is serious business. For humans, though, play is very important. Play is part of our human nature. Pretty much all mammals play. Think of cats, dogs, otters, even elephants! Turn into any animal show and you will see them playing. It’s not just our animal nature that comes out in play. Studies show that higher level cogn