This is for the Outliers

Visual Faith has been a part of my faith journey for over 3 years now. That doesn’t seem like such a long time, compared to many of you, for whom visual expressions of faith have been happening for decades. I started out as a lurker. I would ooooh and aaaah over Pat Maier’s Bible study margins, as she shared them with me on a casual basis. And I would marvel at the mixed media items that Connie Denninger created when I attended a seminar she was presenting. But my participation when no further than that.

Or did it and I just didn’t know what to call it?

Part of my job as a Director of Christian Education in a church involved providing curriculum for the Sunday School and the Confirmation program. Since I was rarely impressed with the material that was available from the publishing houses, I would create my own or augment what we could get from those places. And, as I think back over 40 years of pointing children to Jesus, there were dozens of visual faith type creations. Dice that when rolled took the player to a Bible verse, origami paper projects that when constructed has Bible passages appear in strategic places, stained glass made out of tissue paper and construction paper, literally dozens of different kinds of Advent Calendars, Good Friday tools that took people on the path of Christ’s Passion … too many projects to remember. But when God drew me into the Visual Faith lifestyle (and let’s be honest – that’s exactly what it is – a lifestyle), I shied a way because it looked like I needed to be “artistic”, and I most certainly am not. I was overawed by the skills of others and I still am.

Sketchnoting after some practice

But, in recent months, casting off those fears of not being good enough to create faith-enhancing projects, the spiritual adventure has shifted. It really began when I put together a Sermon Sketchnoting seminar as a part of my job. I invited Valerie Matyas to our church to teach us how to become sketchnoters. Mind you, the goal was so that the women who attended the event could learn the process. Little did I know, God had a bigger plan in mind. That seminar changed the course of my sermon-listening life.