Wednesday, April 18, 2012

icons as spiritual practise

Last year, as a thank you gift for their ministry here in Adelaide, I gave John and Olive Drane an icon I had “written.” They now want to use it as a resource, both in worship and in a class they are running on worship later this year. So they asked if I might shoot a “homemade” video, reflecting on the spirituality of icons.

I thought I’d also place it on the blog, in case any of my readers are interested – why do I “write” icons? what is a “pioneer” icon? how do icon’s work as theology and for spirituality? how to craft an icon?

A short personal reflection on the icon as spiritual practise.

Two most helpful books in getting me started as an icon “writer”:

And for those who can’t access the video, here are my notes in preparation to speak (more…)

Posted by steve at 09:44 PM

Friday, February 18, 2011

an icon of the everyday: Mary holding the digital (to)day

I arrived at work to find this delightfully random moment …

I am in the midst of writing a course for distance. It’s all pretty chaotic, both in my head, on my desk and around my office floor. Before I left last night, I cleared my desk and placed a piece of paper on the noticeboard – a printed page of icons. Each icon signals the need for a student to read, to www, to reflect, to discuss, to do, to write, to media, to send.

Anyhow, overnight the “icon” paper had fallen. It had come to rest on my Mary icon (which I painted a number of years ago, and sits on my desk as a silent plea for me and my work).

So as I arrived today the paper icon, my workload, had randomly come to rest in Mary’s arms. Digital icon held by my ancient painted icon. A nicely random moment, an icon for my everyday, a random reminder to my cluttered head as it progresses throughout the day.

For more I’ve written on icons of Mary, prayer, mission and the church, go here

Posted by steve at 08:54 AM

Saturday, September 11, 2010

icons as theological treats

Some theologies use words, a hard, exact and careful reflection regarding the best words to use to articulate limited human perceptions of God. In contrast, icons use pictures, not words. This is not a creatively free-flowing task, but a careful task, aiming to faithfully pass on Christian thought.

I’ve found myself tremendously enriched in recent days by two of Rowan Williams books: Ponder These Things: Praying With Icons of the Virgin is a theology of the Incarnation, while The Dwelling of the Light: Praying with Icons of Christ, offers a theology of Resurrection. Both utilise Orthodox icons as their starting points. I love this explanation of icons:

the art of making icons is often termed “writing” rather than “painting”; an icon presents the figures and events of the Bible and church history in paint rather than ink.

Icons for me do three things extraordinarily well. They help me think theologically. They help me think visually and in colour. They remind me that theology is about relationship with God.

It’s been a joy to sit with these two books on that explore icon’s theologically by Rowan and realise just how deep these three wells can go. With Rowan’s gifts, the theological depth is extraordinary. The invitation to prayer and contemplation is artful. They have been such a helpful gift for me in the last month or so, reading until a sentence or two captures me, and then using that for prayer and God-focus during the day.

Posted by steve at 07:16 PM