Reading Jill and Christina’s blogs, these last few weeks, has made me think a lot about Creativity and Community. Both of which are things that I long for, and which I enjoy when they are combined. To me a Creative Community is one where you are free to be yourself, and to create things that matter to you. At times this is done on your own. Once you are satisfied, or completely at a loss how to fix it, then you share your art with the community. Other times you create all together, in the same space. Both are extremely fun and rewarding, but the weird thing is that each individual requires a different amount of noise to create.
I myself fear noise. I like quiet when I write, unless I am completely blocked or writing an essay, but several of my friends need noise to write. Specific music, or the hubbub of a coffee shop. Usually, this noise is background, and quiet, but for some people a noisy bowling alley is more conducive to creativity than a quiet bedroom. There are times when I crave this noise, but for the most part I want silence, except the ticking of the clock, or the wind over the water. Often just having someone else in the room distracts me enough that I cannot write. Even if they are quietly reading, or having a nap.
These differences work well when we write, paint, crochet, etc. alone, but what happened when someone who fears noise wants to collaborate in the same space, at the same moment with someone who needs music/background noise. How do they work together? How does their collaboration build community and creativity?
These are questions that I don’t know how to answer, and I don’t think there is one easy answer. I think like all of life/relationships each interaction needs to be handled with grace and a willingness to listen. The art of conversation is the best teacher for collaboration, it is only as we give and take, listen, and truly hear what other people are saying can we collaborate. In the same way that the best conversations weave a web of knowledge, and truth, that goes beyond what the individuals know and ends up in unexpected places, collaboration should bring out the unexpected, and be greater than the sum of the parts.
In the same way that there needs to be give and take when we collaborate, I think we need to be conscious of people’s different levels of noise enjoyment in corporate worship. As a person who thinks better in the quiet, and whose thoughts are quickly wrapped up in external noise, especially music. Time of personal reflection in corporate worship is hindered by the presence of music. I’m sure there are other’s who need the music to keep their mind focused, but for me it is a distraction. However, that being said, the corporate worship, like collaboration is by its very nature about the group and God, not about me and God. If I find it hard to with God because of the distractions, I can at least not be a distraction for others, and enter into the corporate body of Christ, and our joint worship.
Whether worshipping or collaborating in a group, there are challenges, but the joy of community is that by addressing these issues with grace and a willingness to listen. The whole of our worship, or art will be greater than what each of us could do separately. As well, as we enter into community we learn and grow about ourselves and are better able to enter into relationship with those around us. Creative Worshipping Community is difficult, but a wonderful experience.