Tuesday, March 27, 2007


I love a metaphor. One of my "jobs" is to come up with sermon images that get projected during worship. It's so much easier to find/create images when a metaphor can be found to represent the material. I've been working on the Easter images today and the theme is restoration. I'm giving the images an "old movie in need of restoration" kind of look to help convey the idea of restoration. I was looking for a Last Supper image and read how this masterpiece has been through many restorations.
Leonardo, always the inventor, tried using new materials for Last Supper. Instead of using tempera on wet plaster (the preferred method of fresco painting, and one which had worked successfully for centuries), he thought he'd give using dry plaster a whirl. His experiment resulted in a more varied palette, which was Leonardo's intent. What he hadn't taken into account (because, who knew?) was that this method wasn't at all durable. The painted plaster began to flake off the wall almost immediately, and people have been attempting to restore it ever since. - arthistory.about.com

So here's a metaphor that popped into my head. The Bible is a masterpiece that was created using the invention of the written word versus the tradition of oral history used for centuries before. The intent was to harness the rich and diverse collection of stories, history, wisdom, poetry, prophecy and first-hand accounts of God's work in the world, but the medium had some unexpected drawbacks. The most obvious is the problem of translation. I mean there are 20 English translations on biblegateway. Apparently there are even much debated, different styles of translation like formal equivalence, dynamic equivalence, and paraphrase. Like paint flaking off a masterpiece, there are words that become obsolete and are in need of having their meaning restored. I wonder how many translations have been misguided attempts at restoration? Other problems have come from the medium itself.

Print made us more individualistic
Thanks to the individualistic bias of the print age, we miss many of the biblical metaphors of the church because we assume these images are directed at individuals... In fact, nearly everywhere in the Greek New Testament where Paul says, "you", it is the plural "you all". - Shane Hipps, Hidden Power of Electronic Culture, pg. 96

Print introduced us to the concept of objectivity
We presume the Bible presents an objective set of propositions that everyone will discover if they just read it properly. This inflated sense of objectivity, fueled by printing, breeds an unfortunate and arrogant illusion of omniscience. It leaves little room for subjective experience and the work of the Holy Spirit. - Shane Hipps, Hidden Power of Electronic Culture, pg. 55

Just another random thought - good night.

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