Since returning from my retreat week in late March and early April, I have been experimenting with sketching during presentations--but not aimless doodling. No, I've been experimenting with a form of lectio divina, that ancient way of listening and focusing upon a text.
First, some background.
At the Create in Me retreat, we did something a bit different. Our bible study leader is the bishop of the Texas-Louisiana Synod of the ELCA. Here is a picture of the Bible study portion:
As you can see, there were screens, which are ubiquitous these days. But we got to watch an artist, Vonda Drees, respond to the Bible study. Here's a close up:
And then came the Lectio Divina portion. We had a slow reading, with long spaces between verses. But it wasn't quiet, because Bishop Mike began life as a musician, so he played the piano, and Vonda continued drawing. We could meditate, take notes, and/or draw.
On day 2, we had a more traditional Lectio Divina, although still with music and art appearing on the screen. We had three readings, and we were asked to contemplate these things. After reading 1: what word or phrase leaps out at me? After reading 2: what is God saying? After reading 3: what is being asked of me, if I take it seriously?
I found it wonderful to have something beyond the spoken words to help focus my thoughts. The music was grand and swelling, but based on hymns (mainly old spirituals) that I recognized. The art
made me itch to pick up my own markers--I liked that it was a mix of image and word.
Did I have deeper insights? I think that I did. And if I didn't have deeper insights, I did find it easier to stay focused on the text for longer than I would if the words had floated by me and then I had silence.
I then experimented with sketching during my pastor's sermons. I found that it helped me focus more on the message, and I've retained that message longer through the week. Here's the message from yesterday's sermon:
On Saturday, I sketched while a group of friends had a rehearsal for a performance that they had on Sunday. Here's that sketch:
I've also led a session for our more interactive intergenerational service that's a combination of church, Sunday School, and camp. I wrote about it in this blog post.
All of these experiences make me think about taking this practice to other places. I'm certain it could be interesting in certain classrooms--or maybe every classroom. I also wonder about this practice during meetings.
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