Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Tool of Product- Part 1

Part of our mission at SoulPerSuit is to help unpack some of the creative process. While putting together a SoulPerSuit card is a highly individual act, there are a few tools one can keep on hand to make the process less intimidating. (You've read that before, haven't you?)

One "tool" to bring with you is the understanding of what can be retained via the finished product of a SoulPerSuit card.

I hesitate to urge SoulPerSuit participants to focus on producing cards because I realize the temptation to hinge our self-worth on our productivity. Somehow our society has gotten a skewed view that the amount or quality of things we produce in this world has a direct correlation to our value as a person. The more stuff we have to show for ourselves, the better our chances of not being "voted off the island." And we certainly wouldn't want anyone to decline joining a SoulPerSuit group because they feel that can't make art- whether good art or enough art, or both.

Please purge those notions from your mind, that's not what "producing" in SoulPerSuit is about.

There is a downside to majoring on the process rather than product though. Many times SPS participants get a flash of inspiration or a direct application from the Lord about an area of their life, but things fizzle out because they don't take that thought to the next level. Making a SoulPerSuit card might just fit the bill.

Consider God's commands to the Israelites to build altars and memorials throughout their land. Was his purpose that the Hebrews have a first-rate collection of fine art? No, obviously not. These were piles of dusty stone set beside the roads, at the riverbanks, and under trees. Taking the materials readily at hand, the Israelites built these monuments as a reminder of God's work in their lives. God wanted them to have these visual reminders as places to stand and look and share the story of how God saved them, disciplined them, restored them, loved them. God knew their fickle minds and their faulty memories.

He knows ours too. And that is why we encourage SPS participants to make cards in conjunction with their time in the Word. If the Lord is making an impact on you, don't trust that impact your fickle memory. Don't allow the profound words He's saying to you in a SoulPerSuit study get choked out, blown away or dried up by the distractions of life. Do something to remember them, to keep them before you in a way that brings impact and focus. Do something that you can share with others. Get your ideas out in a SoulPerSuit card.

Here are a few samples of my personal SoulPerSuit card "monuments":

"Wherever the Good Shepherd has me is a green pasture."
- based on Psalm 23
Death, decay and deserts are all known to my Shepherd, I am never out of his hands or his plans
Magazine collage, playing cards, red thread
Hangs by my kitchen sink

The Matrix of Merrymaking
- inspired by the Sermon on the Mount
Reminds me of my need to fast and see with spiritual eyes
Playing card, gold wrapping paper, magazine collage
I use this one as a bookmark

-inspired by the book of Ruth
The loyal love that leads to redemption
Digital photograph of my kids in the backyard
This is the screensaver on my laptop

Next time I'm back, I'll share a few ideas about what SoulPerSuit cards are not.

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