Conference Artist invites all to "Imagine being heard -- Imagine seeing"

June 13, 2013

Click here to read the Conference Artist's statement.


Conference Artist, Rev. Ted Lyddon Hatten, invited the 2013 Annual Conference to “imagine being heard – imagine seeing.” 

“To imagine,” he said, “is to bring to mind that which is not present to the senses… Imagination is not some rare gift bestowed to some and withheld from others. It is a birthright of every member of the human race. Imagination is a cognitive ability we all share, and like many other cognitive abilities – it grows stronger when it is engaged, when it is stimulated, when it is challenged.”

Through imagination “we have access to the power and the portal that can take us from here to there. We can bring forth that which is not present to our senses.”

Rev. Lyddon Hatten drew a contrast between vision and seeing.  “Vision happen is the eyes – vision can be measured and corrected and restored. Seeing happens in the brain. Seeing is the process of interpreting – of making sense of what the eye takes in.”  Citing the Gospel of Mark he noted, “Mark uses the physical, the literal disability to talk about a cognitive disability. The disciples have eyes but they cannot see. They do not understand. It is in the spirit of Mark and his metaphor that I ask you to imagine being heard ~ imagine seeing.”

He also spoke about hearing and imagination – “listening is an expression of love, it is not hard to imagine him saying, Listen to your neighbors as you listen to yourself. Listen with your bones.”

“Imagine a church that hears the voices of those who live in the margins of privilege and power – neighbors, Jesus calls them – imagine a church that listens to the neighbors from such a depth, that listens in a way that brings forth speech. Deep listening draws speech out of the margins that are shrouded in silence.  Imagine being heard by a church that listens with its bones. Imagine being heard like that.”

He then focused on the church, drawing a contrast between what is and what could be.  “Our church – this church, not the faithful one we are imagining, but this church –we look hard. We pay careful attention to the things we can count. We focus on the clarity of colored graphs and the metrics of a measured vitality. With our bi-polar vision, we fixate on the past and fret about the future. And like the disciples that came before us, we have 20/20 vision and we cannot see. Blind to our blindness, the harder we look the less we see.”

“Imagine a church that sees the margins from the margins. Imagine a church sensitive to the smallest expression of the Divine.  Imagine a church relieved of its cognitive disability to see the world in which we live. And understand. Imagine being heard by a church that listens with its bones.  Imagine seeing from the margin.”