Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Creative Bible Expression

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I have my Salvation Army officer grandfather's well-worn King James Version of the bible. It is marked in many places and underlined. My father underscored key verses in his bibles as well, although he used a ruler for precise lines. Despite these precedents I have been reluctant to "mess up" my bibles. It's always felt sacrilegious somehow, even though my undergraduate degree was in art history and I use visual images in worship every week. I have loosened up a little through the years, discreetly using a yellow highlighter, but I never DRAW or PAINT in my bible!

So, when I was contacted by a publisher offering a review copy of Complete Guide to Bible Journaling: Creative Techniques to Express You Faith (how is that for a title!) I offered an unqualified...maybe.
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The publisher bravely sent a copy of this book by Joanne Fink and Regina Yoder just the same. At first look I thought "nah, this isn't happening for me." It was so colourful, and rather splashy, not what I imagined myself doing at all. But the more I leafed through, the more I enjoyed the creativity of the various artists featured throughout the pages.

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I'm not sure whether their  imaginative "holy doodling" inspires me or intimidates me. For some of this art work pages need to be prepared so that bleeding doesn't occur. Hmm, that's a strange term to use given aspects of the gospels.

It occurred to me that the book is a refreshing modern take on the notion of the illuminated manuscript, the decorated copies of the scriptures from medieval and renaissance times. More recently the St. John's Bible was created as the first calligraphed bible since the invention of the printing press. (immediately below) This is certainly an encouragement to engage imaginatively with scripture texts and to literally colour outside the lines. It's a lot better than having our bibles gathering dust on shelves.
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 If you would like to see my copy of the Complete Guide to Bible Journaling, and are close at hand, let me know. Otherwise, order a copy. Hey, it includes stickers!

What are your thoughts about "desecrating" your bible? Do you underline or jot in notes when you read? Do you ever doodle in the margins like a medieval monk?

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