Missionary to Dublin, Ireland, Lindsay Nimmon spoke at Gospel Fellowship Presbyterian Church in America in Valencia, Pennsylvania at the Presbytery of the Ascension Women in the Church spring luncheon on Saturday, April 17, 2010. Lindsay discussed using the arts to foster conversations about faith.
In the morning session she reminded us since God, the Creator, created us in His image, we in turn are creative. She quoted from Culture Making by Andy Crouch and urged us to delight in creating with whatever medium we enjoy most, whether quilting, photography, scrap booking, writing, or cooking lovely meals.
In Dublin the Nimmons host evening art events with the purpose of gathering creative people so they can share their crafts. Musicians play throughout the night. They use a coffee house format. One passerby stopped in and mentioned she hadn’t seen such joy in a long time.
During the class we compared an amazing photo of a church steeple in Ireland with a rainbow arching to the left of it to a short story by Flannery O’Conner called “The Life You Save May be Your Own.” While these forms are vastly different, both can be used to generate discussion about spiritual things.
Lindsay said, “Somebody needs a photo of a church with a rainbow and somebody needs Flannery O’Connor. Somebody needs what you do, too.”
In her handout she asks:
“What are you communicating to people through your artwork? What are you teaching your children through your scrapbook, baby blanket, or quilt? How are you showing the gospel to your family through the films you watch on family night? Do your nightly dinners breathe life into your family and the guests you invite into your home?”
Lindsay showed one piece of art that resembled chaos. She said it sold for considerably more than a pleasant, realistic picture. Is it because people feel the chaos and confusion? Do they buy it because they relate to it? How can we as Christians help bring order?
After lunch Lindsay sorted the women into four groups. Three received photos of paintings and one read a poem. Each group was to analyze their art by answering eight questions. What did they see, like, dislike about the work? What was the main theme? Did the theme agree with scripture? If not, how could scripture be used? Can you identify one idea from this piece of artwork that you can agree with as a Christian? Do you understand the artist any more after studying this art?
We discovered that closely observing and asking the questions enabled us to find ways to use the art to bring about biblical conversation. This can be a valuable way to engage people in our culture.
If you would like more information about the Nimmon’s art and ministry visit their website: www.scottnlindsay.com. From there it is possible to sign-up for their monthly newsletter called “Nimmon News” or order photographs like the church/rainbow mentioned above. The Nimmons serve through Mission to the World.
For further reading, Lindsay recommends:
Art and Soul by Hilary Brand and Adrienne Chaplin
Literature Through the Eyes of Faith by Suzanne V. Gallagher and Roger Lundin
Culture Making by Andy Crouch
This was me first Pres WIC meeting. I wonder what took me so long? I plan to go to many more. They meet twice a year on the second Saturday in October and April.