Wednesday, February 23, 2011

First Section Done!

I haven't been updating on the mosaic because it hasn't really been all that exciting. But, a few weeks ago, I finally finished the first section, the baptism of Christ.

Basically, all I've been doing is grouting. This was not nearly as fun a it was putting up the tiles, but it was a necessary part of the process.

A section without grout.

A section with grout.

Here is a section were part of it is grouted and part of it is not. The grout essentially holds the whole thing together, not only physically, but artistically as well. It creates a uniform matrix for the tiles to sit in so that you're not looking at the ugly orange wall, black Sharpe sketches and white tile glue peeking out from between the tiles. It also makes it safer as the sharp edges aren't nearly as dangerous once the grout is in place.

After grouting, you have to clean it up as best you can, and then let it dry for at least four hours before you can clean it up for real

Not cleaned yet


Here's the whole section before I started grouting...

And here it is after! The lighting is better in the "before" picture, so I guess these two pictures don't really illustrate how grouting makes it look better, LOL.


Here's what I've done so far on the next section, which will be the sermon on the mount and the last supper.

The campus PR person is putting something together to let more people know about this project, as well as the Spirituality Program in general, here at SFTS. Keep your eyes open for it!

Friday, February 11, 2011

3 Minute Sermon

We gave our first sermons of the semester yesterday for our Intro to Preaching class. The assignment was to do a 3 minute sermon. In typical fashion, God made me preach something weird.

3 Minute Sermon

I’ve been thinking a lot about the word pithy. It’s kind of a strange word. My immediate reaction is to think of it as derogatory, even though I know all it really means is to be “to the point,” which in this world of information overload and hours and hours of reading assignments here at school, really isn’t all that bad.

So, to figure where all of my conflicting feelings about this word were coming from, I consulted the Internet. One online dictionary offers the following definition for pithy: brief, forceful, and meaningful in expression, full of vigor and substance.

By definition alone, pithy’s great!

But, for whatever reason, and according to the Internet, I’m not the only one, the word pithy carries with it a connotation of being condescending or flippant. I’m not saying that it’s supposed to have that connotation, but for some people, it does.

Perhaps it has to do with one of the other definitions of pith: which is that bitter white part of a citrus peel. It’s full of nutrients, but most people don’t eat it. It just doesn’t taste good. We want things with more substance, like that juicy orange segment you’ve just uncovered by removing the pith.

The reason that I started thinking about this word “pithy” is because I came across Romans chapter twelve while trying to find a scripture to use for this sermon. Verses nine and ten start off a short section that is basically line after line of pith.

Love must be sincere.

Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

Be devoted to one another in brotherly and sisterly love.

Honor one another above yourselves.

See, what I think happened is that we’ve grown wary of pith. Advertisers use it to sell us stuff. Newspapers and cable news channels use it to get our attention. Politicians use it to persuade us to their cause. Half the time, we don’t know if we can trust it.

But, here’s the thing. God is pithy. Jesus is pithy. The parables are pithy. We don’t need pages and pages of instruction telling us how to love each other. We know, deep down in our hearts how to love and respect each other. I’m not saying that studies and papers and books are bad, because we all know that they’re not; we are in seminary, after all. But, we have to remember that not all pith is bad. Some of it actually tastes pretty good.

Love must be sincere.

Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

Be devoted to one another in brotherly and sisterly love.

Honor one another above yourselves.