It was my great privilege to drop in at the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri Annual Communications Conference this afternoon.
While I was preparing my presentation, I happened to watch the latest Apple Keynote which was held at Apple's new Steve Jobs Theater. The new theater was dedicated with a video tribute to Jobs. In that video there is a recording of Jobs himself:
... one of the ways that I believe people express their appreciation to the rest of humanity is to make something wonderful and put it out there. And you never meet the people, you never shake their hands, you never hear their story or tell yours. But somehow in the act of making something with a great deal of care and love, something's transmitted there. And it's a way of expressing to the rest of our species, our deep appreciation. So we need to be true to who we are. And remember what's really important to us.
I read this at the close of my presentation today. Because I like what he says. But more than that: for those of us who work in the church, I think we can actually outdo Jobs here.
I have so much admiration for my colleagues who are bona fide church communicators. I sort of lurk on the Episcopal Communicators Facebook page, but I still don't feel like I can consider myself a real communicator. But I enjoy learning about and trying my hand at this job of communicating the messages of our church and the Church.
The communicators I have known take great pride in their work and especially in making "something wonderful." Maybe it's that month's newsletter, or the weekly email, or a new pew card, or even a brand new parish website. Could it even be a podcast? Whatever it is, the act of creation is a Christian act. We are co-creators with God.
In this way I think communicators have a lot in common with church musicians: we both strive to create "something wonderful."
But as Christian creators, our thinking is at once more expansive and more specific than Jobs's.
Jobs was creating products for an immense market. In our parish contexts, the scale is a bit more manageable, and we do hear from many the people with whom we communicate.
We also want to hear their stories and get their stories and songs out there – isn't the web a marvelous platform for this?
Hymn reference: speaking of stores and song, I just started humming "This is my story, this is my song" from the hymn "Blessed assurance". See Hymn 184 in Lift Every Voice and Sing II.
And we certainly want to tell our story as the Church.
For more along these lines, I highly recommend Madeleine L'Engle's Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art.
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