Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Muscle memory

Recently I had two fantastic experiences leading seminars on The God-Hungry Imagination: The first was at the fall Princeton Youth Ministry Forum held at Kanuga Conference Center near Hendersonville, NC; and the second was in Vancouver, British Columbia at the "Evolve" youth ministry event run by the United Church of Canada. The locations say it all, but the people were even better. In addition to the great questions and conversations sparked by our reflections on imagination & narrative, I found my own thinking challenged and expanded in exciting ways.

For instance, if we believe that faith is embodied, and that one of the ways we learn is by enculturation in the practices of the community in order to build a kind of "muscle memory", then we must pay attention to the ways in which pain and alienation have also been embodied in the community. If someone has been judged or abused by the church, that abuse is built into their muscle memory. Receiving the bread and the cup from a pastoral figure is not a universally healing or hospitable gesture. How can we as a church be more sensitive about such things?

Food for thought...

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