Monday, October 15, 2012
artist shoots holes in her Bible
When I was doing a Master of Fine Art degree, I was required to present a paper about semiotics to a contemporary theory class …. I had procured a large, black Bible of my mother’s which she had ‘retired’ because it was so heavily annotated she wasn’t able to read it any more and I’d nailed it to a wooden target, of the type hunters shoot at for practice. I set these against a tree in my aunt’s orchard and shot at them three times with my father’s rifle, blasting the pages of the Bible apart … My (non-Christian) classmates were shocked when I showed them the results, as they knew I was a Christian … I learnt a great deal from it and it generated one of the most constructive dialogues in that class. I wanted to simply say that it is not the book that is sacred per se but the living word that is in me, that changes how I live and how I treat my neighbour. (Betty Spackman, A Profound Weakness: Christians & Kitsch, 35)
This is a fine example of the power of art to engage theology. The theme is so intellectual – semiotics and I would rush to footnote and read. Yet Betty places this within her lived experience, of nurture and growth. And in so doing, raises many important questions regarding a theology of revelation in regard to Scripture. Where is sacred found? In words of text or witness of life?