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In a prayer offered by an Ojibway elder, themes of brokenness, restoration, and balance with all of creation are present. From a North American First-Nations/Native American perspective, we can begin to see these themes in a new light within our own communities.
Look at our brokenness.
We Know that in all creation
Only the human family
Has strayed from the Sacred Way.
Artist Joey Novak has an installation of minimalist interpretations of books of the Bible (LINK). Out of respect for his work, I will not post the images here, but encourage you to follow the link to see for yourself.
Questions to consider:
What symbols carry the most power in his art?
How do we assign meaning to symbols (enough meaning that they can convey so much more than words)?
What other symbols exist that we can use to communicate the gospel and discipleship?
I have always liked this song for its simplicity. The band (mewithoutYou) is one whose use of imagery and lyricism is pregnant with meaning and the connection toward the spiritual.
There is much hand wringing in the western church over the growing margins of people who consider themselves “spiritual” but not “religious” or specifically “Christian”. This song speaks to this strata of people looking for spiritual significance in a world that is increasingly distant.
The song makes no explicit mention of Christ or salvation, yet a cursory glance at the lyrics makes several theological declarations. (more…)
Marilynne Robinson is an American author whose writing has carried subtle Christian messages and found resonance among wider circles, most recently a review in the New Yorker magazine. Allison Backhous has a recent piece in ThinkChristian.net considering her approach to creativity and the impact it can have on society.
This leads her to a question, can art be both true and evangelistic? (more…)
A series of short films, titled Self-Sabotage, by Scott Brignac to accompany Derek Webb’s Feedback album convey graphically the significance of the Lord’s Prayer as experienced by several people.
Self-Sabotage: the deliberate subversion of oneself. Destructive or obstructive action that hinders the person who acts. See also: the Lord’s Prayer.
The Lord’s Prayer is inherently violent towards the one who prays it.
Self-Sabotage is an exploration of the Lord’s Prayer based on and inspired by Derek Webb’s electronic all instrumental album ‘Feedback’. It follows six characters in a narrative with no words – only the music to parallel the stories.
This film has come to pick a fight, and any viewing that fails to recognize that may put the viewer at risk in one way or another. Self-Sabotage rests firmly amidst the tension between the prayed and the praying; the single-minded character and vision of the Lord’s prayer serves as the sub-text through which we enter into the lives of its characters. Their lives, like moving icons, open windows into the great mystery of communion through self-dethroning sabotage.
This shows an Islamic starburst tile pattern (which traditionally symbolizes the spread of Islam throughout the universe), a lighted lamp and the first half of a verse (5:46) from the Qur’an which states:
“And We (God) sent, following in their footsteps Jesus, the son of Mary, confirming that which was before him in the Torah, and gave him the Gospel, in which there is guidance and light…” (more…)
Creation is God’s artwork that reflects his character and nature. When he speaks, he expresses himself and light appears. God reveals himself in the form of light – and it is good. God then separates that light from the darkness because light, as an expression of his goodness, reflects his holy and pure nature: “God is light and in him is no darkness at all” (1 Jn 1:5).
As God continues to speak, he expresses his goodness in visible, tangible forms, and the world comes into being. He separates the waters (chaos) and brings land (order). Again he says, “This is good.” Finally, he creates human beings. We become expressions of God, little icons created to reveal the goodness and character of God. This time God says, “This is very good.” (more…)
Imagine if you had several hours to sit with someone and listen to their story, while re-assuring them with your touch and sharing with them spiritually transforming concepts in the casual tone that defies barriers. Imagine if that person whom you have shared with would be able to have tangible reminders of your conversation–and how much you care–to reflect back upon during the following weeks. Imagine if she was also compelled to tell her friends about your conversation and the spirituality you had shared one afternoon.
Imagine if that storytelling were done in such a beautiful and creative way that it adorned that woman as exemplar as a child of God.
In South Asia, there is a project to use henna art and storytelling to tell stories from the Bible and the gospel message. (more…)