I like to draw & when we travel I like to draw on the iPad. Here are some of my masterpiece’s.
Was given a preview copy of “Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl” which I had never heard of before. It was a dvd series which made the consumption of it a little more palatable than a book review, being honest here I keep falling asleep when reading, call it a two year old joy/disease. N.D. Wilson isn’t someone who was on my radar till now, so I had no clue what to expect. So here is a bit of my experience with “Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl.”
- The cinematography of the whole thing is quite good. If you watch it beginning to end as a I did you might pick up on some of the similar looped videos from chapter/segment to segment but as someone who has produced and edited a video 1. I see that stuff easily 2. I forgive that stuff as long as it isn’t overwhelming. The audio is equally good. This makes for an enjoyable watching experience if nothing else.
- Wilson (sorry, just can’t do the referencing as N.D.) is fusing together a whole lot of philosophy, science and religion. I immediately thought of Rob Bell in this way of teaching. These are not Nooma videos, but I did think of that to. The videos speed through through Wilson’s thoughts so I’m sure I missed a thing of two, which will probably be most people’s experience. But there always was some takeaway idea that I heard in there.
- Wilson also has some video that are poetry mixed to a video element. Watching the whole thing through those took me a minute to realize that is what this segment was, but I actually would skip back at that point to listen/watch again. Poetry is really cool when read by the authors, you get some of their original emotion & intent when you can experience that. As an art fanboy I was in to those segments.
- Wilson grew on me. I was skeptical of the whole thing at first. In part because I wasn’t familiar with him or this at all. Towards the middle to end of the whole thing I found myself in the rhythm of him and a bit about his message. Seems like a pretty cool guy I wouldn’t mind having a drink with.
- I imagine everything through the lens of “Is this a teachable element for youth?” For the sake of this being video and the whole collision of philosophy, science & religion it’d be a great discussion starter for the guys. Not sure the girls would get into it as much, but maybe. I haven’t done any control and test groups there, just my suspicion. All our kids are in some level of educational science and that is part of what they wrestle with in their spiritual formation. Not sure the level of philosophy for a middle schooler..
- Wilson’s theology I wouldn’t necessarily agree with in all points. The core stuff seemed to be there, the more nuanced things I might switch up. A few times I had that feeling, “I’m not sure why, but that just doesn’t jive.” It is more of an apologetics type creation so that is probably where a little bit of that comes from.
- There is a study guide, if you want to teach into this. I didn’t go there as of yet, so I have not perused it as of yet.
- Will I go through this myself with my teenagers? It is possible. We have our outlines and things set for the foreseeable future at the moment so it probably won’t happen soon, but it could make an appearance. I think if nothing else it would be a good discussion starter for many of my teens to give words to their own faith. That would be what we would use it for.
Last week Kevin & I spent the week alongside my nephew & Josh Vegors putting together the ‘Sacred Space’ for Youth 2011 in Purdue. So what was this ‘Sacred Space?’ Well, it was a contemplative prayer & arts space that we set up that the youth could experience God on their own, where they were, and express that however they felt it.
The thing with crafting contemplative space is that you give up control. In a contemporary worship environment you can control the flow or the highs and lows of emotion through the time. When we do these contemplative spaces you set the stage, but whatever dance that happens after that is out of your control.
I was completely and beautifully reminded of this in this one moment at our Youth 2011 Sacred Space. Josh who was helping out started to take pieces of the artwork that the youth created and placing them in the hallway in a display type manner. Not part of my original plan but it is what he was led to do so we went with it. Hours later I was coming out of the sacred space room and I see this girl sitting on one of the chairs in the hallway. She looks distressed enough that it gave me some cause for concern. So I was just about to walk up to her and ask her if she was okay when I realized that she was actually visually meditating on the art pieces and probably in prayer. So I backed off.
To my surprise even more. She, just then, fell from her chair to her knees and proceeded to hold that prayer posture for some five to eight minutes. It was crazy. This was the freaking hallway.. There was not anything sacred about this hallway, until now. This youth broke some of my ideas of the space we set up in a contained room and took the sacred into the hallway and claimed it as something special.
I think it is neat that teens are wild and uncontrollable. God probably thinks they take after him.
Maybe it is me, but I find myself troubled by the things that Google Image shows me about the faith that I claim. This is significant in my opinion because google will push those things that are referenced or used the most to the top because they have been deemed as having the most worth & credibility for that particular search. I would put the bible in this thought captured in image, but it is boringly predictable. So..
I must say, I liked the motivation theology poster a whole lot. contemplated making that my laptop wallpaper. It is intriguing the images constructed to try to explain theology. Throwing out the 10 commandments makes for a limited theology in ways, might not be a bad thing though.
I suppose another arms up in the air type image is suitable. I did find that infant baptism rising to the top in so majority of images to be interesting. But maybe those are just baby dedications..
I could have chosen Eucharist, but those results were too catholic. Reminds me of the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. “You must choose wisely.” Looking at these, we seem to want to choose poorly.
Last but not least
I like my white soft skinned Jesus. Especially the contemplative sensitive type. But when I go out on Friday night I want Buddy Christ!
NOTE: If you are curious, I didn’t do any scrolling for these. This is the first set of results in each case.
So what does this tell you about your faith?
I led Hendersonville First United Methodist Church through a “Re-Imaginging” process of their youth ministry space a few years back. The group came up with an “Industrial Cathedral” idea. The concept was to fuse art, tradition and with the trendy industrial looks they had seen at other youth group rooms.
This is a view from the back of their main gathering room. You can see a large circular ‘island’ to the bar area. This is used for serving food and drinks. You can spot the steel trash can as part of the design for the ‘industrial’ look.
This blue wall is actually a large rectangular pillar that just stuck out in the youth group space. So we worked around it as a focal point. The bar was built around the pillar, the blue color is the only place this color appears in the room as well. Eventually we had a family purchase a new 50 inch flat screen for the ministry that we hung on the wall. The corrugated metal on the bottom is cut in the wavy pattern to give dimension, there’s a wood trim put on it because we couldn’t pay enough to have the metal milled down to where it would cut someone. There’s just basic rope lighting behind the metal illuminating it. The ceiling has a matching metal drop down set up with lighting embedded into this. This was all done by a professional carpenter. The only thing the youth did here was put in the wiring in the walls for the sound and visuals. That stuff is in a cabinet on the other side of bar area.
This is one of the entrances of the room that comes in from the elevator, so it is pretty popular choice. This is what folks would see upon entering. Organized chairs, the eye feature of the bar, lighting and the carpets.
Here you can see a pair of chairs we had made from Church Chair out of Atlanta. The table was a leftover from prior set ups. With the new designing they fit into the eating area really well. The carpet is a recycled high traffic carpet that comes in replaceable squares. It had this circular pattern that was really sharp but worked with the overall concept really well. The black walls were used for B&W photography by the youth group. We payed a bit more money for a nice trim to go around the walls of the room.
This view of the seating area shows a few things. The seating in this area was set up for worship and other gathering events. The stage isn’t done here, but eventually it had laminate top to go on it that reflected the industrial theme. You can see the artwork from the youth group that extends all the way around the room.
The group wanted to have an eating area of the youth group space. What they came up with was recycling some old pews from the basement of an old church. We cut them in half, painted and used them as booth seating. We found some old restaurant tables at a salvage/antiques stores for a really great price as well.
This concept took over 3 years to complete. We had a 6 month discernment process and then spent a huge amount of time and energy trying to get the permission to fund raise. Our building committee passed our plan with no problem. Our original budget was around the $40,000 range, but we brought that down dramatically with my parent who was a general contractor’s ‘creative engineering’ plus some sweat from our teenagers. Big ticket items were the media bar which was professionally done, the chairs and the carpet. Luckily the whole entity was funded by individual families and many ‘year end givings’ with some other bills payed through small fund raisers or special funds (ie. parties people had in the space).
I am constantly amazed by the human imaginative capacity. It really is remarkable. I’m floored almost equally how we squash that imagination capacity for those things are ‘real’ ‘achievable’ ‘sustainable’ ‘practical’ and so on. Why?
What I find captivating in this is not just the art creations, those are unbelievably remarkable. But that it took some crisis to have to challenge the norm to go deeper into the self and reflect upon the world to imagine a whole new way. Once that way was visualize it was then another endeavor to make something that had never before been seen or done become a something.
Do we give ourselves a chance to imagine what is before us and what can be? If we don’t, and do not care either, do the rest of society a favor and just get out of the way of those who do. Those are the people who will creatively re-imagine the many practical and sustainable systems that are no longer practical or sustainable. We need to rediscover wonder again..
Last night I watched a Frontline episode that was really fascinating. It was chronicle of Ai Weiwei a Chinese artist who has the government fearing his persona.
He’s an artist, who has some anti-government views and a social media following because of his art and now branded self. And is the subject of scrutiny of his own government..
It had me wondering.
If the Chinese government is fearful of an artist.. Why do we diminish the value of art in our own culture? If it can strike the fear into one of the largest governments in the world then the artist has some power and influence.. But yet, we in America push our arts to the side of our education system as having little value alongside of math or other more tangible (less abstract) type disciplines.
Why does a power institution fear the artist? Yet we don’t even value them at all? or is our devaluing our subversive method of diminishing the artist because our institutions fear them as well?
Maybe there is reason for fears.. in Egypt, some of the figureheads of the revolt were writers.. So the pen is mightier than the sword?..
Ken Robinson first caught my radar some years back when TED started putting their talks online. Mitch Joel suggested Ken’s talk. I’ve used his talk in many teaching environments for youth, adults & other educations.
This RSA video is a great fusion of the visual with the oratory. It is also a different talk than what Ken gave at his TED talk, which was great to digest. The video is just over 10 mins long, but totally worth it!
Definite tip of the hat for this video to Mark Riddle.
How are we engaging the soulful creative character that is within the young people? It appears we are not doing it very well.