A couple weeks ago, I was invited to be part of a group of pastors that spoke to the bishops in the Northeast about starting new (and often unusual) churches. But since so much of what I do is about interactive art-making, I invited the bishops, their staff, and my fellow church planters to play with high-velocity magnetic bibles! Just like the last time I played with magnetic bibles, I hung four magnetized bibles from the ceiling. Underneath the bibles, I spread out several hundred words worth of magnetic poetry, which I double-sided so that the same word appeared on the front and back.
Then I asked people, if they were to contribute their own verse to the Bible, what would it be? Using the magnetic poetry, participants were invited to attach those verses to the front covers of the bibles.
We documented what was written on each bible; then we pulled back the bibles and smashed them together!
(That's Bishop Marie Jerge from the Upstate New York Synod smashing a bible in the background)
When the bibles collided, the poetry changed. Individual words shifted, fell, and jumped from one bible to the other. Just as with the creation of the document called the "Bible" what each individual contributed became something new, something larger, through its collision with the sacred words of others.
(Bishops and staff examine the new creation)
If you'd like to read what this group of people initially wrote and what it transformed into, click "Read more."
- Oxford Annotated Bible (NRSV)
- Before: I follow happiness/Dance and play. Laughter is sweet./I will love you always./Happiness is essential./Find life today./Believe the fun purple drunk./Live positively between Him and the world./Feel the bliss, he said only fiddles./In a kiss a giggle and a laugh.
- After: I live between life and the laugh
- The Catholic Bible
- Before: Live wonder in me. Let it go!/give light/A heart worshiping rains joy./Those together beneath blue skyrock, they sleep to dream./Whisper, jump, and smile today together./Good Vibrations./Let's make a symphony.
- After: Wonder in me/smile today/go rock/worshiping rain/ is purple drunk/let it
- MacArthur Bible
- Before: Dance and play. Laughter is sweet./Hope and dream together./enjoy this delirious singing./ Could milk and honey mean warmth is a must to happiness?
- After: Light and song lust vibrations/dance laughter and play/is a to
- Oxford Annotated (RSV)
- Before: Languid Bluebird lust/song sit see
- After: Sit/give/is essential/and hope play honey milk/shadow sweet is dream/warmth/dance/enjoy/must sing laughter delirious.