Brittian Bullock wrote the article Church as Art. Church as Community. Church as Transformation. I liked her start with this point.
"Church" is a loaded, difficult word for me and many others. But actually it's become easier as I've started to think of it by using metaphors instead of hard and fast meanings.
Just this morning I was in conversation with some friends regarding what it really means to be in community with other believers. How does that really play out on a day-in day-out basis? Certainly the answer isn't what we find in most organizations labelled "church".
Unfortunately Bullock quickly lost me with her expansion of "Church as Art." She quotes several shaky sources for inspiration.
Why indeed must 'God' be a noun? Why not a verb…the most active and dynamic of all? …It is the creative potential itself in human beings that is the image of God… - Mary Daly (theologian)
Why should we all use our creative power….? Because there is nothing that makes people so generous, joyful, lively, bold and compassionate, so indifferent to fighting and the accumulation of objects and money. - Brenda Ueland
It is the task of art to undo the work of our vanity, our passions, our spirit of imitation, our abstract intelligence, our habits…making us travel back in the direction from which we have come to the depths where what has really existed lies unknown within us… - Marcel Proust
My advice, turn and run, do not walk. At best, this is just weird. I do not recommend reading further.
Conversely, Jenny Rae Armstrong wrote a wonderful short story about suffering and blessing.
... pain is not something to be avoided. That suffering and blessing more often than not come wrapped in the same package. That sometimes, it's enough to be loved by a heartbroken God who came to claim and redeem us for a greater purpose.
Raffi Shahinian also wrote a great peace entitled, The Bible Illuminated: Blasphemy or Beauty? In it he writes (emphasis mine):
There's been a lot of negative commentary on "Illuminated" [re: Bible Illuminated: The Book: New Testament] in the blogosphere. As for me, I'd have to agree with Bishop Wright (I know...big surprise). If it helps get the message out, I'm for it.
The only question for me is what message is being gotten out?
One snippet from the book's website caught my attention: "...it is aimed to be less intimidating than traditional bibles."
Less intimidating. I think the gospel has already become so un-intimidating in modern Western culture that I'm not quite sure how much more fluffy it can get before it can officially be labeled a "fairy tale." The Bible should be intimidating. It should be life-altering.
Having said that, I like the globality of the pictures (is that a word?). I like the fact that it associates the gospel with all facets of life. I like the connection between Scripture and modern images, allowing for the reader to make a mental nexus between those 2,000 year-old words and images from today. That's a good nexus to make, if you ask me.
Bottom line, then...It's a pretty cool book to have on your coffee table, but I wouldn't hand it to a new believer or a seeker.
Or maybe I would.