Our guest post today is from the Reverend
Andrew Hall who is Curate at St. Martin's
Brighouse & St. John's Clifton, West Yorkshire. I met him at Art from the Heart where he works in tandem with Dyan Reaveley to enable participants to take part in a Postcard Theology workshop.
A strange name for a blog post I know, however ‘bear with’
and more will be revealed.
This concept has evolved by interaction with groups of people
with differing levels of biblical literacy and creative skills; ranging from an
Aged person’s luncheon club to artists and students in a studio in the north of
The concept combines the pilgrimage and biblical literacy of
the Christian life; the ‘being and doing’Both speak to each other of
journey, and one without the other isn’t good for the soul.
What better place to start this journey than with the “Songs
of Ascents” the collection of Psalms from 120 to 134. Most scholars agree that
these are likely to be songs that were sung by pilgrims as they were journeying
to Jerusalem for the three great feasts - where we get our Easter, Pentecost
and Harvest festivals. Quite literally because of the topography of the
surrounding land, the pilgrims did ascend to Jerusalem.
Reading this group of psalms in succession, one does get a real
sense of journey, including the ups and downs of life, something that we can
My engineering and academic background, which is full of
quantitative data and statistical information, can sometimes leave my ‘left
brain’ very sore! My darling wife has
helped to release my ‘right brain’ and its creative nature, through her mixed
media classes. This is where the real breakthrough came, the meeting of ‘high
concept and high touch.’
By combining these quotients I have devised, from the psalms,
a series of postcards that give factual information, personal revelation, and
lovely creative images.
Over the course of a session people in the group are
introduced to a psalm and given time and space to think and meditate about the
psalm. I ask them to think of a word or a phrase that comes to mind when
reading it, then to consider what it means and how they could write about the
word or phrase that appeals to them - what image does it evoke?
Combining the two creates a ‘haptic experience’ it connects
left and right brain together. I can hear you say; “what does that mean?” Haptic refers to one of our five senses –
touch. The sense of touch and creativity combine with our cognitive reasoning,
adding value to each other, reinforcing our learning experience.
What you write, imagine and produce on a “postcard theology”
workshop has a lasting effect upon your journey of faith. Interestingly there
is an Old Testament example of Haptics in the text of Numbers 15:37-41. The
background to the story relates to the tassels on the garments of the Priest –
as he walked around, the people would touch the tassels, this gave them a feeling
of being in touch with the Torah, which was the code by which a good Jew lived
Distilling information onto the postcards through different
mediums enables us to retain a richer message intrinsically;
this in turn affects how we share our story with others. Many times I have
heard people say they have a deeper connection with what they designed, wrote
To make a series of creative postcards around the song of
To increase biblical literacy through a cognitive, haptic
Use art mediums, paint, sprays inks, gesso, watercolours,
fabrics, indeed, any other media you care to choose!
Journaling thoughts and feelings of your own spiritual
Increase research skills.
To promote dialogue in a safe space.
I hope you feel more enlightened by the background to my idea
of Postcard Theology!
Now enjoy some of the postcards….
So your challenge today is to choose one of the Psalms between 120 and 134 and meditate on it. Research it if you wish by looking through a commentary or online. Then produce a postcard - size of your choice - to illustrate your meditation.
I hope you will try this and show us your work via the linky.