I is for Image Rich.
God Speaks in More Than Just Words
This is the subtitle of the chapter. Of course He does. That was my first reaction. God speaks through music. God speaks through dance. God speaks through observing others. But in this particular case Sweet challenges us to think of the images we extend around God’s word for people to connect with.
“Thingys” is Sweet’s way of talking about such images. What are the “thingys” people walk away with and interact with as they leave worship and through out the week? This becomes an interested idea when you think about how much images play a roll in our lives, everyday. Think for a minute as you are walking down the street, or driving in your car, or browsing around Facebook. Images are everywhere.
The virtual nature of so much of our culture is making us even more hungry for tactile, iconic, multisensory experiences and thingys to hang on our walls and bodies. Faith is itself a brand, an identifier that sets us apart, singling us out as a peculiar group of people. (116)
Creating an image rich experience for those in attendance is something I get excited about. Images are all around us and what we project as an image can be an important piece of the experience. Please do not hear me say “Image is Everything”, we can fall into a trap if the images we use become idols. But if the images we use connect us to God or are used to see God can change how we interact with God and our faith in everyday life.
Christ used images in his teachings, parables, and metaphors to think about how God and faith interact with everyday life. For people of the Bible these images connected in ways that related to their lives, they connected to the reality they saw in front of them. So are we missing this opportunity? We use metaphors for our own stories, but we have the ability to use so many more images to create more of a connection!
I’ve thought about this within our high school meeting time. Images are used throughout the presentation of the topic, we use visibletweets.com as a way for youth to see the important parts of the talk and they can also see their own tweets if they choose to tweet. The curriculum we use comes with images to use for posters, Facebook, Twitter, websites or backgrounds.
I think, and I could be wrong, but I think these connect and help youth remember the topic and points throughout the week. By connecting them to everything we do or “produce”, there is a recognizable image for the topic and hopefully this helps connect them and remember what we are talk about and the truth it has in their own lives.
I’m challenged to think more about how images play a role in our ministry, worship and community. I’m challenged to connect God’s truths in ways which people are able to connect with it throughout the week and see God through the images.
So here is the posed question for the post from the book:
Brewed for Thought: Think about some of the churches you have recently worshiped in. Has the rich, provocative image of Christianity been replaced by sterile, neutered spaces that seem more like physicians’ waiting rooms than temples?