Consider today a trip to the art gallery.
It is, increasingly a visual world. In a world of icons and images; a world of micro-blogging and short attention spans; a world where a picture replaces a thousand words. None of this is lost on Jim LePage, a guy who works in art and graphic design at Greg Boyd’s church in Minneapolis, MN. Ergo, the Word art project.
He explains how the project got started:
In the past, I’ve tried an approach like, “starting today, I’m going to read my Bible for 20 minutes every day.” While I may stick with it for a week or a month (sometimes even longer), inevitably I stop because I have no self-discipline for that sort of thing. I knew I didn’t want to try that approach again so I tried to come up with a new strategy that would work for me.
I began by thinking of things that I really like and want to do. One thing that kept coming up was design. So I decided to try and combine my love of design with my desire to read the Bible more.
It’s important to understand what the Word project is, and what it isn’t:
Basically, Word was a series where I created original designs for each book of the Bible. Before each design, I spent time researching the book, finding out the themes, historical context, weirdest stories, etc. I also scanned through parts of the book looking for a passage or story that could translate into a cool design. Each design isn’t meant to completely represent the book, rather it is merely based on a passage from the book.
It’s probably just as well that Jim resorts to this type of media, because in trying to verbally summarize a book like Nehemiah, illustrated above, things get a little bizarre:
The book of Nehemiah covers the same time period as the book of Ezra. The Israelites just got the get-out-of-jail-free card from their Babylonian captors and head back to Jerusalem to rebuild their life. As we saw in Ezra, they are coming back to Jerusalem tired and battered. While Ezra seemed to emphasize the journey back, Nehemiah focuses rebuilding their city and community.
I’m sorta like that one guy in that one movie
When the Israelites get back to Jerusalem, one of the first things they set out to do is rebuild the wall around their city. But while they be rebuildin’, their neighbors be hatin’. The folks that live nearby keep trying to stop them from rebuilding the wall. Now it doesn’t say exactly why they were so upset that the Israelites were rebuilding their wall, but that’s not gonna stop me from figuring it out. You may not realize this, but I’ve got some sweet detective skills. I’m sorta like that one guy in that one movie where he figures out a bunch of stuff. Watch and learn suckas…
The Israelites were attempting to rebuild their wall. The Wall is a famous album by Pink Floyd. Pinky and the Brain was a cartoon about two mice. Mice eat cheese. There are many different kinds of cheese including swiss. Switzerland had a dictator named Napoleon. Napoleon ended up on an island. An island is the main setting for the TV show Lost. Lost stars Matthew Fox. And guess what the anti wall builders say in Nehemiah 4:3?
What they are building—even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!
That’s right, suckas! The Israelites enemies didn’t want them to rebuild the wall because they were afraid that might bring about the wrath of TV star Matthew Fox! Party of fists, baby! I know, I know, it all seems so clear now, you’re wondering how you didn’t see the connection before. You’re welcome.
And you thought The Message was loosely translated…
You may purchase actual posters of the designs or digital files and if you like his style, you’ll see more things on his blog. Pastors and church webmasters might also want to look at the icons he produces for sermon series at Woodland Hills.
…And apparently, this isn’t the first time we’ve featured Jim’s work here. Getting ready to run this today, I discovered we’d mentioned these back in August 2010, where we ran two other designs, though I don’t think the project was complete at that stage.