Faith is a Verb… Musings by Pastor Tony June 1, 2018
Last Sunday in worship, I introduced the idea of Howard Gardener’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences (click here for more info) as a way to understand each of our different experiences of our world and the Divine. Gardener claimed that teaching and testing to 2 styles-- verbal/linguistic and mathematical—as our schools do, misses huge parts of the ability for us to process information. He said there are at least 7 Intelligences—verbal/ linguistic, mathematical/logical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, visual, musical, and body/kinesthetic. There may be more, and each of us probably has more than one intelligence or even all of them.
Using Gardener’s theory, to best connect with all people who attend ACC I think broadly when I produce educational and faith forming Spectrums as well as worship. I ask these and other questions: Where is there movement (and can we do movement in the pews for folks with limited mobility)? What visually changes periodically? How do we incorporate both interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligences?
Last Sunday after reading the scripture, I asked people to move into the one of Gardener’s categories with which they most resonated, and then I asked them to think about using that category to bring the scripture alive in worship. The mathematical/logical people naturally came up with a spread sheet. The visual people said they liked the visuals of the space. The intrapersonals (those who have a rich inner life and seek answers from within) said they would like more meditative music played as we meditate and explore the scripture. My favorite answer was from the Interpersonals (those who connect with others and feel the energy of the room as a significant part of the experience), who said that for worship to be meaningful for them, they needed to participate. And not just reading some of the liturgies, but participate in the writing, reading, acting out, singing, movement of worship.
Worship is the most meaningful when each of us (all of us!!!) has ownership in the outcome. What is the outcome? Some will say it is to please God, but I say it is to experience God, to come near enough to God to be moved to go and change the world, to feel God’s refreshing, waking power so that we know deep in our bones that we are called to be stewards of creation and to build a just society based upon the inspiration of our faith. Worship is a team sport, and we are a team of worshippers, thus we are, as an entire congregation, a Worship Team.
This Sunday we will explore more of this in worship, and discuss worship and the Worship Team in a Spectrum after worship. Worship is perhaps the most important thing we do together, so I hope you join us for this exploration.