My friend Patrick DeMuth, a church planter in southern France, has invited me to attend a meeting of Christian Associates in The Hague starting tomorrow night. The topic is “mission and imagination,” and the meeting will be hosted by Andrew Perriman, guiding force behind the exceptional blog Open Source Theology. I’m a little nervous, since I’m not part of the organization and my relationship with church is tenuous at best, but I’ve been assured that this is a nice bunch of people. Patrick was kind enough to read my book about Genesis 1; he will be interacting with the book at the meeting. He sent me a copy of his text, which has served as stimulus for my last few posts. This time around I want to address a specific statement of Patrick’s: “Our mission is not to be creative, but to make that which we create real to those around us. Creativity flows from mission, but is not the mission itself.”
I understand his point. He’s a minister trying to get a church off the ground here in “post-Christian” France. But I’m a ktismatician (yes I am). For me creation is the mission. I’m reminded of Antonin Artaud, who wrote a manifesto for the impossible Theater of Cruelty (see my post about it here). So here is my preliminary riff on what a Ktismatic Mission might look like.
Ktismatic Mission: Preliminary Manifesto
1. The mission of the Ktismatic Mission is to serve as a portalic terminal interlinking all the innumerable realities in the universe, most of which either don’t yet exist yet or remain hidden.
2. The work of the Ktismatic Mission is to discover, create, and reveal alternate realities and the portals for getting to them.
3. There are no clients; only fellow travelers.
4. All kinds of realities are fair game: art, science, technology, relationship, entertainment, thinking, imagining, exploring. In fact, every aspect of human life falls within the purview of the Ktismatic Mission. Specifically Judeo-Christian creations – sermons, liturgies, evangelistic outreaches, etc. – aren’t automatically excluded.
5. The Ktismatic Mission promotes the elohimic ethos. I discuss the ethos at length in my book; there’s a summary embedded in Part Three of this blog page. Briefly, the elohimic ethos:
– values creation for its own sake, not for what it can be used for;
– values the creation of meaning in an intrinsically meaningless universe;
– values the interval of creation over and above the continuum, the moment, the cycle, or eternity;
– operates inside the void, not in heaven or in the heart/mind/soul of the creator;
– builds and traverses bridges between creation and discovery;
– builds and traverses bridges between creation and revelation;
– looks for the good in the creation itself, not in personal taste or market value;
– is the imago Dei in man the individual and in man the species;
– is the impetus for creating a second universe on the foundations of the first one.
6. The Ktismatic Mission has theory but no practice. The Ktismatic Mission resists the instrumental rationality of our practical, efficient, economic age. Praxis is a means of re-creating, not creating; of multiplying the already-is, not generating the never-was; of building the simulacrum, not punching holes in it. Praxis is about enhancing creators’ creativity; the Ktismatic Mission is about creating creations. The Ktismatic Mission is all about what and why, even about who, where and when; it’s just not about how.
7. The Ktismatic Mission doesn’t hope to change the world; rather, it hopes to witness the creation of a limitless number of alternative worlds.
I think there’s more to be said in the Manifesto than I’m able to think of today – maybe after I get back from the meeting in The Hague I’ll be able to elaborate further. I’ll be back on Wednesday. In the meantime, if you have any thoughts at all about what might be included in the Ktismatic Mission Manifesto, I hope you’ll write them in the comments to this post. Make yourself at home while I’m gone; just be sure to leave at least one cold beer in the fridge.