We continued with the fourth video in the series by Intervarsity’s Arts Ministry Director Dick Ryan. In our discussion this week, we talked about imagination and applied it to the scripture John 8:1-11.
To get us thinking at the beginning of the video, Dick Ryan posed these questions:
Why do we read the Bible? What’s the purpose of reading scripture? How do you define imagination? What does it mean to you?
After we read the scripture John 8:1-11 about Jesus saving the adulterous woman that was to be stoned, Dick Ryan had us apply our imagination and reflect on these questions:
What surprises you or amazes you in this story? Who is in the cast? How old might the woman have been? What do you think she was wearing?
We will continue with Part 2 of “Taking our arts gifts with us wherever we go” next week. Hope to see you there in room 216 at 7:30!
In this video, Dick Ryan addresses an issue all too common among artists: the problem of defining our identity (personhood) by our successes or failures in our art (performance). Dick Ryan compares this mentality to an upside down pyramid, very unstable and insecure, resulting in fear, perfectionism, anxiety, self-centeredness, slavery, and jealousy.
We then discussed what it would look like to turn the pyramid right-side-up, if our personhood was grounded and secure and our performances were simply the overflow of our lives. Words that would describe such a person include: confident, joyful, peaceful, hopeful, and free.
Dick then posed the question: How do we get from one pyramid to the other? Some of the responses included being willing to have our pyramids toppled and set right side up, being open to God changing our hearts. Others included relinquishing control of the outcome of our own performances, which we cannot control, and simply doing our duty with what we have been given to do. Or letting our performances be a gift we offer to others out of love.
We will continue discussing more aspects of this picture as the series progresses. Join us next week!
Our discussion series this semester comes from Dick Ryan, Intervarsity’s Arts Ministry Director, as he helps us knit together pieces of scripture in the format of a group discussion. The video included a brief reading from Anne Lamott’s book Traveling Mercies and scripture from Exodus 25, 28, and 31.
Some significant questions posed in the discussion were:
“Am I willing to give all back to God?”
“What am I holding back from God?”
“How do I give my ‘arts’ back to God?”
We meet every Sunday at 7:30 in room 216. Hope to see you there!
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Last Sunday Valeri led the meeting with a discussion that compared Beethoven’s Heiligenstadt Testament to Romans 7:14-25. The Heiligenstadt Testament was a letter that Beethoven wrote in 1802 confessing to his brothers that he had been hiding his deafness for the last six years. In his letter, he expresses with agony how he looks forward to death, and how only his art prevents him from suicide. Beethoven even wrote out a final word to only be read after his death, though he would not die for another 25 years. Knowing that Romans 6 speaks concerning the body of sin and how it was dealt with by Christ, that Romans 7 describes the conflict of having a body that is dead to sin but alive to Christ (v10-11), and Romans 8 describes the victory of Christ over this conflict, how would you approach someone like Beethoven? We talked hypothetically about what to say to a person who is in such a state of anguish, and what you would ask them. Regardless of whether or not that person knows God, His words do carry power.
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
The Lord indeed has compassion on you and knows your pain. It’s easy sometimes to forget just how present he is and forget that He hears every prayer. How marvelous would it be if we remembered to pray to him before every rehearsal, before every performance, and at every inner crisis?
Heather made this important mention: If you find yourself in a situation where you’re talking to someone who wants to commit suicide, remember that for the most past it has to do with self-worth. Even if it means nothing to them that God cares about them and sees worth, just being there for them to listen and talk with them and show them that you care –that they indeed matter to you–can make a big difference.
Heather lead a discussion about joy on 10/5. We talked about how joy connects to trust in God. The things that stand in the gap between joy and trust are fear, doubt, and worry. Although this can be applied to life in general, it has specific applications for us as musicians.
Throughout the Bible, there is a striking connection between joy and worship, praise, and celebration. We often do not have joy in our playing or singing because we are so afraid and worried about messing up. We typically worry about what the audience or our teacher will think. This is actually a very selfish and prideful perspective because we are making the the focus of our playing or singing us and not God. The performance becomes about us not looking bad instead of giving to others. When we perform this way we close ourselves off to the audience because we are trying to protect ourselves and be careful to play all of the notes right. As a result, there is something lacking in our performance for the audience. However, if we play with vulnerability, we are open to the audience, and they gain something even if we mess up. This something can be God’s love if that is out focus. C. S. Lewis once said, “To love is to be vulnerable.”
Arron Copeland once stated, “The ugliest sound I have ever heard is fear.” The closing thought was encouraging everyone to have joy in their playing or singing by losing their fear and trusting God. It goes beyond just fixing nerves and being a better performer; it is about serving the Lord with our music.
Our coffee filter friends, Fred, on the left, and Jeff, on the right. Both were illustrated by the fabulous Andres Bravo :)
Lead by Heather, on 9/14 we started off the semester by looking at how we view people’s souls. We tend to view people as through filters like “Christian” or “Non-Christian”, and often we base these judgements on a person’s outward behavior, such as our friends Fred and Jeff, pictured above. Looking into them, however, we found that they were both filled with coffee grounds, a metaphor for a soul that did not know Christ. Sometimes the outward happiness of a person can distract us from their needs. Knowing that the Lord deals with us as unfinished works of art, what would it be like if we treated everyone like they didn’t know Christ, and made it our business to be Christ-like to that person whether or not they seemed to need of it? Often when dealing with someone like Fred, it is difficult to approach them with compassion, but we are to pray for our enemies and treat them with all the kindness they would allow us to- every time.