Breakouts #3 - Variety of offerings
Improv - Evey McKellar
In the breakout session, “Improv for Community,” we played 3 games from my experiences as an improviser. Through “7 Things,” we practiced the posture of supporting whatever emerged from the mouth of our peer in the circle, who was currently listing 7 things on some make-believe list, giving hilarious, simple, quick, ludicrous, wonderful answers. Then, in “Party Planning,” we explored how different it feels and how differently we build together when we say “yes, and” compared to “no,” or “yes, but.” In the “Expert Game,” we invited someone to be our resident expert on a silly, made-up topic, and practiced trusting in and honoring their momentary expertise. All three games invited our bodies and body into a collaborative posture of mutual support, intentional encouragement, and releasing judgment upon each other or our ideas.
How is this a form of prayer? The practice of prayer shapes us into people who love well: loving God, loving ourselves, and loving each other. Improv not only helps us be present, but it also helps shape us, in our bodies and our habits, in our mindsets and our perspectives, to honor and love each other and ourselves. In loving one another, as Jesus said in Matthew 25 and John 13:34, we love God well, the Creator of us, and in whose image we are made and in whose likeness we dwell.
“Artist-for-a-day and nudged toward remembering what God can do with even the scraps of who I am, I loved every minute of Betsy’s presentation and art project. We laughed and believed in ourselves. We created beauty with mod podge and ribbon. I have my “masterpiece” in my journal now and thank God for the circle of joy we experienced together. Stretching and adding always to my How-To-Be-With-God-in-Spiritual-Practices list, I want to re-create an art supplies cupboard in my world. Why discard glue sticks, construction paper, pictures from magazines, colored pencils, and water color paint sets just because the children are grown?” - Laurie Sandblom, National Gathering participant
Theology and Writing:
Jim Hunter, NG participant
“It is said that Saint Francis would spend entire nights praying continually, “Who am I? Who are you?” It took me a few days to realize it but that is exactly the stance the break out sessions with Andrea Lingle at this year’s National Gathering led me to take.
It was in the creative memoir writing class that I experienced an unexpected insight as I “let the writing write.” (Who am I? Who is the authentic me, the one I am called to be.)
Later, when we explored dialogue and theology, surely we were seeking to see Christ in others and searching for God in our midst. (Who are you? Don’t let me give in to pretension or settle for easy answers. Only the real and true God incarnate will satisfy my longing.)
Now, a few days removed, I continue to ponder and am ever thankful for time with my lay theologian, writer friend. Andrea always inspires me to go deeper and continue the dogged, joyful pursuit, hoping to understand that which will never be fully understood.”