with a savior, not a script

April 15, 2008

I was part of a great discussion tonite with a small group from Beggar’s Table.  Part of our conversation circled around N.T. Wright’s suggestion that the church has been invited to improv in the final act of our Creator’s production.  We discussed improv … and how the “improver” often feels.  (Uncomfortable, excited, nervous, naked, liberated … all made a showing.)  For my part, I couldn’t shake one story that came to mind about a friend who was asked once to “kill some time” (i.e., improv) while stalling for a camp speaker to show.  Ten minutes turned to twenty, twenty to thirty-five.  All the while … my friend leading countless refrains & choruses, keeping a couple hundred kids unaware of the hiccup.  That is, until the camp speaker finally did show and the evening’s MC requested one final improv-moment.  Would my friend now take a moment to lead the gathered assembly in a thank you song on his [my friend’s] behalf?  After what must have been a double-take and no shortage of sense that this had to be the goofiest moment of his musical career, my blessed (horrified?) friend, Gorman led the entire camp in chorus: Thank you Gorman.  Thank you Gorman.  Thank you Gorman.  Thank you Gorman.  Thank you Gorman.  Thank you Gorman.  Thank you Gorman.  Thank you Gorman.

It must be – to this day – one of the most truly absurd improv moments ever to find expression.

But so many others are chasing at its heels.  It seems to me that NT Wright got this one right.  The church is learning (or trying to learn) to improv.  Not surprising, then, to me – in fact, maybe a little endearing – that the undertaking is (both in concept and execution) just a bit absurd.


3 Responses to “with a savior, not a script”

  1. jon Says:

    JT – it was great having you with us and I truly appreciate all your stories and ideas. I want to thank Gormon too, I’m sure he deserved it.

    I’m in love with this idea of improv…responding to God’s movements all around us. It’s funny that I’ve always been so bad/afraid of it, but it’s totally how I find myself running and leading church…absurd indeed.

  2. jt Says:

    Yes. Gorman always deserves it.

    Again: so good to be with you & your community. It was a gift (made possible by your perspective & unique leadership). Glad we’re improving in the same general vicinity.

  3. jt Says:

    I guess I mean both “improving” and “improv-ing” …

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