Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Through the eyes of others

During advent I’ve stumbled a couple of things that have made me stop and wonder how Advent (and by extension Christianity) must look from different perspectives.

First of all was the paperless advent calendar, which I love and am finding very helpful as a way of thinking through Advent (double entendre intended!). I particularly liked day 4.

I also came across the art work of He Qi – a Chinese Christian artist. I find these images simple, striking and challenging.

My conclusion? We have become anaesthetised by our cultural assumptions – at this time, particularly in relation to Advent and the Christmas story. Our imagery tends to revolve around children’s nativity plays rather than thought through and engaging our imaginations.

Years ago I read and quoted regularly from a wonderful wee book that I was given – “The Gospel in Art by the Peasants of Solentiname”. Solentiname is a fishing village in Nicaragua, and the book is based on a series of Bible study discussions involving the villagers. They see the gospel story from a completely different perspective, probably more in keeping with Mary and Joseph than with me.

Maybe we need to look at things from a different cultural perspective to be able to make sense of how to engage with our own culture.

“In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.”
Bertrand Russell

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