Bible Engagement Blog: JumpIntoTheWord

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Spoken Word

Spoken Word, or more specifically Christian Spoken Word, is an oral form of Bible engagement utilising free form or slam poetry. Popular with millennials, it integrates word play, beat, reiteration, voice inflection, hip-hop, modulation, music, prose monologues, or even comedy, to present/perform the Word.

While Spoken Word is a form of poetry, there are four elements that differentiate it from other forms of poetry: It’s written for performance, the themes are biblical, it should be challenging and should involve some acting.

Performed, biblical and challenging. “The ‘blessed are the underdogs’ message of Jesus on the Sermon on the Mount – had it been filmed for YouTube – would certainly have gone viral. Particularly if he’d performed it in rhyme. Jesus was all about new messages in new ways – speaking from boats and atop mountains and from his friends’ living rooms – and always with an epistle intended to make his congregation think about the accepted status quo.” Spoken Word Applied to the Word – Premier.

So what are some of the basics of Spoken Word? My daughter, Christie Warren, writes, performs and teaches Spoken Word. I learnt the following at one of her workshops:

  • involves rhythm and repetition that produces a “flow”
  • can be set against a musical background
  • presentation should be dramatic
  • words should be emphasized to bring a focus to the theme
  • there should be a clear message that invokes a response
  • can utilize visual images
  • it’s not a rigid form of poetry
  • it’s not necessary to follow grammatical rules
  • be creative!
  • can be presented in a church service, as a street drama, or in any suitable public forum

“Oh Taste and See” by Christie Warren

O taste and see that the Lord is good.

Hmm…to taste

In haste

Would be a waste

Of the sweetness of His words

Or so I’ve heard

And see, apparently,

They’re sweeter than honey

And more desirable than gold

Or so I’m told.

But if you have truly tasted of the kindness of the Lord

It’ll surely strike a chord

And certainly afford

The opportunity to become

The salt of the earth.

For one cannot simply taste

And not wanna chase

Change pace

About face

Run the race

While fixing one’s eyes on Jesus

And see

Literally

Undeniably

Indescribably

Unequivocally

See that He is good

No other thought will do

No other can be true

So how can we continue

To live our lives this way

When He’s shifted our perspective

When everything has changed

How can we put up this facade

And play with full bravado

And silently just plod, plod, plod

Through this life?

We can’t

End rant

We have to take a stand

We have to actually be His feet and hands.

For when we taste and when we see

We’re changed eternally

And I, for one, can’t simply let that be

Join me?

And here’s one for you to watch:

© Scripture Union Canada 2016

2 Corinthians 4:5