Imagination and MECS

Imagination and MECS

Thursday, 5 June 2014  | Narelle - MECS Principal
God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams.” (Ephesians 3:20, The Message)

Does our school have ‘imagination?’ I was talking recently to a friend who is also in education. We were talking about curriculum, timetables, programs and other things that often constrain our schools. We were lamenting the lack of imagination in many schools – the messy creativity, flexibility and open-endedness that sees innovation. It made me wonder whether MECS has ‘imagination’- an acceptance of mistakes in order to learn, the desire to pose problems as well as solve them, the ability to visualise what may seem beyond reach, openness to what God might want to accomplish in and through our school community.

We live in an age where rationality rules; management is setting clear goals and objectives; behaviour is measured by specifying standards and performance indicators; programs are facilitated by careful planning; complex processes are broken down into discrete activities and skills. For efficiency and effectiveness, this is absolutely vital. How could a school run without them? However, poets, songwriters, artists, prophets and philosophers remind us that not everything in life can be measured or captured by reason. There must be room for imagination and mystery!

Theologian and writer, Eugene Peterson suggests that our technological and information-obsessed age has a habit of cutting imagination off at the roots. Too often it turns people into copycats and couch potatoes. Students copying slabs of information from the internet is one superficial example; a child sitting in front of mindless television is another.
Peterson suggests that we have been given a pair of mental operations – ‘explanation’ and ‘imagination’, and these are designed to work in tandem. “Explanation pins things down so that we can handle and use them – obey and teach, help and guide. Imagination opens things up so that we can grow into maturity – worship and adore, exclaim and honour, follow and trust. Explanation defines and anchors; imagination expands and lets loose. Explanation keeps our feet on the ground; imagination lifts our head into the clouds. Explanation puts us in harness; imagination catapults us into mystery. Explanation organises life into what can be used; imagination enlarges life into what can be adored.”

We need them both – explanation and imagination. However, schools often specialise in explanation and leave little room for imagination! Christian imagination often understands that God has purposes that exceed or even counter our expectations. Last year our school community rightfully celebrated and gave thanks for 40 years of God’s faithful provision for this community. In such events, I find myself admiring the vision and imagination of those who had faith in small beginnings; those who persisted in difficult times; those who thought big although the resources were few.

In our 41st year, what are we imagining for the future? Are we open to the surprises of grace, the messiness of creativity and the mystery of God who often disturbs our neat plans and ideas? Do we dare to dream and imagine new possibilities? Or are we content with what we have and who we are? We are reminded in Ephesians 3 that God can do anything. Are we open to what that might look like here at MECS? Join me in praying that we will be ready and waiting for the new thing that God might want to do in and through us in the years to come.

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