Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Maps & Legends

J-term continues. As a final project for the intensive course I’m taking on multiple intelligence theory, we were instructed to create a work of art in response to a biblical text or theological issue. In other words, we were to do what we would normally do in a final paper, but we would do it with paint, or clay, or music, or dance, or whatever else our imaginations could come up with.

The range of student approaches to the assignment has been amazingly varied: A handmade liturgical calendar. A testimonial through poetry and liturgical dance. A series of paintings reflecting on the story of Ruth. A children’s book telling the story of David and Jonathan. A working three-level stone-and-burlap water fountain. A mosaic-glass-and-hammered-tin jar, inspired by the jar of the widow at Zarephath. An original song, written, performed, and recorded in a cappella harmony.

And more to come tomorrow. In the meantime, I find myself marveling at the vibrant and varied creativity of God’s people. If all this creativity is latent in a handful of theological graduate students, who knows what lies hidden in our congregations? And how might we as leaders nurture such creativity in the church?

My own project found me reaching for a trusty paintbrush: my Canon PowerShot SD960. I decided I would go out looking for Christ, like the legendary magi. First I wandered through the city, riding the rails and bus lines, walking the streets and bridges, taking photos all over. Then I pasted all the photos onto a folding map (not to scale). Finally, I traced my path through the city with the words of the Epiphany gospel text. The final product is below, the mapped story of my “Epiphany 2011.”

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