When Sarah and I were at Regent this summer we had the opportunity to eat lunch with some students taking full-time studies. Among the students we met was a man named Theran, currently working on his MCS. As I was perusing Regent’s YouTube channel ‘underthegreenroof’, I found this video, a student video project for a class on John. As it turns out, it was one of Theran’s class projects—a visual poem, a marriage of literary and visual media evoking metaphor. I touched base with him and said that I wanted to share his poem on my blog. He agreed. So here it is, and I hope you enjoy it:
Here was his description of the project:
This was the creative project for a class on the book of John in the New Testament "John: the Life of God to the World" In the Summer Term of 2011 at Regent College in Vancouver Canada. The class was taught by Rikk E. Watts. Of the various project options I chose the one that included an academic paper and a creative project.
For my paper I looked at the idea of how water is used in John as a polyvalent symbol and how it interacts with other symbols - specifically wine and blood.
Here is the first paragraph of the paper
“In this paper I will show that John’s unique use of polyvalent symbolism effectively communicates Christ’s mysterious, all-encompassing invitation to partake of his life. I will argue that Johannine symbolism invites us into a higher story, a mystery that normal words cannot express. I will show specifically that the nature of John’s symbolic use of water shifts throughout his gospel in such a way that it becomes more inclusive and invitational as it progresses. I will also outline how the all-encompassing invitation in his water symbolism plays itself out: as its meaning shifts, as it interacts with other symbols, as it speaks to Jewish tradition, and, ultimately what the invitation means for us as we are included into the life of Christ. In Christ all things hold together and in John’s water motif we see God bringing together many things in Christ.”
As you can imagine not everything was able to be included into this visual poem that tries to express these themes. Also, being art, it takes on its own identity too and as such it is not just the video demonstration of the academic paper. However the themes all intersect and my choice to do a creative project instead of a longer paper was specifically related to the idea that I believe John's use of symbolism and imagery more effectively communicates truth than mere academic argument. So to do justice to John, one needs to think and communicate creatively…
This is one of the reasons why I find Regent’s programs so intriguing—they allow for creative projects such as these to work alongside paper-writing to create moments of reflection on faith and life.
Be well, my friends.