Monday, September 24, 2007

Two weeks in the UK

It's a strange time coming back to the UK and doing talks and things telling people about my work. I had just over two weeks in the UK doing this. In some ways I love it and in other ways I hate it.

I do enjoy telling people about what I do, because it shows what God is doing in the area. I often tell people how we are just almost running alongside while God is doing things. Because we are working with other people who speak the languages, we are doing primarily technical, production and guidance on content. The actual content is written, recorded etc by others. So we cannot evaluate fully what it is like. We partly evaluate through the popularity or otherwise of the material we produce, and the response to the material. Those are both encouraging.

We have also recently evaluated, by getting ours and other people's material evaluated content-wise on a system that we developed to score how different materials hit their target audience. That too was encouraging.

So if all that's encouraging when I tell people about what we are doing, why do I hate it? The reason is that I feel I am telling only half the story, yes, I tell some of the struggles too, but not the long term emotional struggles.

Quite a bit of the time I feel that I am creatively stunted in what we are doing and in what I see others doing. Because I feel that we are not really being as creative as we should be I feel that I am not telling the whole story. Some of what we do is creative, but lots is not. Lots is boring.

And that overlaps with the talks that I give to people about what we do. Often I fall asleep in sermons because they are pretty boring. When the vicar from one of the churches in the UK we come from came out to Cyprus a while back, he came to church with me and over lunch admitted to the family he wasn't sure if he should wake me in the sermon as I was sleeping so peacefully.

Most talks, most radio programmes, most TV programmes seem to be 'the Bible says this...' But when Jesus was on earth much of the time he didn't do talks along the lines of 'the Bible says this...'. He told stories. Interesting stores. Creative stories. Sometimes he took existing stories and added creative new ends to them.

So why is so much of our communication boring as Christians? We justify what we do by counting the effects... so many people heard, so many people responded. Yes, that's important. We do the same, but I have the increasing nagging feeling that we are missing out on our calling to be creative, to seek interesting ways of telling people about Jesus and to do in a a style that is good.

After all, when God created the earth He said it was good, and we are created in the image of God with the same inbuilt nature to be creative.

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