Sunday, October 28, 2012

Resources for EthnoArts and World Missions

Through a series of fortunate links, I came across a webpage explaining EthnoArts at Ethnê, a global network focused on serving the 28% of the world's people without access to the Good News of Jesus the Savior.  Ethnê gives a introductory history about how the EthnoArts movement began during preparations for the Ethnê 09 event in Bogota, Colombia.  It then goes on to mention two EthnoArts Strategy Groups, one in Southeast Asia and one based in Latin America.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Visually Contextualized Reflection on a Hindu Festival

Last week I posted about the 2012 Dashain Prayer Book produced by Cody C. Lorance, which used a rangoli painting of mine on the cover.  As I looked into the Hindu festival of Dashain, I read that it is focused on the goddess Durga.  I confess that I've only lightly researched Dashain, and a related festival in India called Durga Puja, the "largest outdoor art festival on earth" (October 20-24).  Durga Puja takes place during the last several days of Navratri, another Hindu festival.

In any case, I think that the main point of each Durga festival is the celebration of the victory of Good over Evil, in the form of the Durga's victory over the evil buffalo demon Mahishasura.  Unfortunately, this celebration of Good conquering Evil is ironic because it is spiritually a very dark and oppressive time when idols are fervently worshipped and the Giver of Life is unknown or ignored.

Seeing this image of Durga slaying the buffalo demon reminded me of another Hindu-style painting I once did called Jesus' Work on the Cross:

Jesus' Work on the Cross

I have no idea how this painting would be interpreted by Hindus, but my intent was to show the purpose of Jesus' sacrifice for our sins without simply showing him nailed to the cross.  And besides, the image of Jesus kicking Satan's tail has always been a favorite subject of mine!  Here Jesus spears Satan through the neck, effectively "crushing his head," while Satan "strikes" Jesus in the heel (Genesis 3:15).  Jesus wears a crown that symbolizes his divine kingship over heaven and earth.  The flaming halo around his head symbolizes the presence of the Holy Spirit upon him.

This image depicts the ultimate triumph of Good over Evil through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who is motivated by his love for a lost world.  He didn't simply slay a demon; he defeated the King of the demons!  Of course, I suppose that it is Jesus' resurrection that confirmed his victory over Satan and Death, but that will have to wait for another painting.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

2012 Dashain Prayer Book

Cody C. Lorance, the Senior Pastor and Church Planting Leader for Trinity International Baptist Mission, has posted a 2012 Dashain Prayer Book.  Cody's book encourages Nepalese and other Christians to "ask God to fill our lives with his Holy Spirit and to produce the Spirit's fruit in us."  He writes:

Dashain is the greatest festival of Nepal. In this time we Bhutanese-Nepali devotees offer prayer during nine days. Every family should pray that the Holy Spirit would come into their homes. What do we need in life? All people need the nine fruit of the Holy Spirit. This small book will guide you during the Dashain-Navaratri prayer season. In this way, you may receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Because when we pray in the name of Lord Jesus, God the Father will hear us!

In addition, Cody used one of my paintings for the cover!  The painting is a cross-shaped design called a rangoli, which is a decorative design "made on the floors of living rooms and courtyards during Hindu festivals. [A rangoli is] meant to be sacred welcoming [area] for the Hindu deities" (Wikipedia).  This one shows the pierced feet of Jesus in the middle, welcoming Him into one's home.  Cody uses rangolis in some of his contextualized church rituals.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Kateri Tekakwitha: Native American Saint

The Lily of the Mohawks by Molly Kiely.

I found this story (and the cool image above) about Kateri Tekakwitha (1656–1680), a Native American Catholic woman who will be canonized today as a saint for her commitment to the church, despite being ridiculed and ostracized by her fellow Mohawks at the time.  She is known as "The Lily of the Mohawks."

There's nothing specifically about art in the article, but it's an interesting story nevertheless.  A group of more than 500 Mohawks will travel to Vatican City to witness the canonization ceremony in October, and will present a handwoven Mohawk basket to Pope Benedict XVI.

GIFT FOR THE POPE - Former St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Chief
Alma Ransom holds a handwoven baket made by Akwesasne
resident Sheila Ransom. A group from Akwesasne will deliver
the basket to Pope Benedict XVI during Kateri Tekakwitha’s
canonization ceremony this fall. (Hayden Photo)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Book by Ivan Jordan, Their Way, Available Again

Good News!  A missions friend recently sent me some information that she received from Ivan Jordan, author of Their Way: Towards an Indigenous Warlpiri Christianity, a book that is available for purchase again.  I previously wrote about Jordan's book here and here.

Here is the book's synopsis:

The development of the Christian 'purlapa' (traditional dance) and Warlpiri iconography are two of the most significant phenomena in the history of missions in Australia. This book details the development and significance of these and other attempts to bring an indigenous expression and application of the gospel within Warlpiri culture and reflects upon the missiological journey of faith experienced by the missionaries themselves. The combined impact of the above is such that these Aboriginal people have given new understanding and gained new respect from the family of Baptist Churches in Australia. 
Ivan Jordan has worked amongst the Warlpiri people over the last two decades. He has made a most remarkable journey. As a Baptist missionary Ivan was schooled in all the interpretations and traditions of 2,000 years of Christianity that instinctively assumed that the European models were privileged with superior insight and practice; but he has deliberately been prepared to set this aside and listen and learn.

Ivan Jordan reports:

Copies of 'Their Way' are available. The first 2 print runs were done by Charles Darwin University Press but they sold out a few years ago. The Australian Baptist Mission I served with, Global Interaction, did another print run a couple of years ago and they have copies available. Contact details are:

Global Interaction
P.O. Box 273
Tel 03 9819 4944

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The book costs $25 (Australian Dollars– about the same as U.S. dollars), but the shipping costs to the U.S. will vary depending on location.  I highly recommend you order a copy if you have a deep interest in contextualized indigenous art and ministry.

If you don't get a response from the email address above, email Claudia Morris at  To read a review of the book in a Global Interaction magazine, click here and go to page 15.