Using the Arts

Author: Andreas Ernst (2018)

Is it possible for rural communities to develop entire radio dramas through oral processes only, without writing a script?

Our dramas have not only been able to reflect the complexity of life and the consequences of sinful attitudes and behaviour, but also the power of God at work and the attitudes and readiness to help that Christians can and should be displaying.

In this article, Andreas Ernst (based in Cameroon) presents a participatory oral approach for producing audio dramas. He argues that "Scripture engagement is all about dialogue, about interactivity", and shows how a wide range of people from a local community can be involved in developing a radio drama, without a written script.

Audio dramas can transmit educational content in an emotionally engaging way, leading to positive social change. For Scripture engagement, a participatory approach to developing such dramas offers a powerful way to let the Holy Spirit work in the hearts and minds of participants and audiences as they discover just how tangible the presence and guidance of God can be in their lives. The author has witnessed the joy and excitement of participants as they were able to share their personal experiences, views and creative ideas in the process of developing the story and while acting out their roles.  [more...]

Author: Michelle Petersen
Published by: Global Forum on Arts and Christian Faith, vol. 5:A58-A86 (2017)

"When local arts call to people at a deep level, they see the relevance of God’s word to their spiritual hunger and are free to commit to Christ while remaining members of their culture."

"The word that gives life rightly lives in all parts of our lives as it is sung, danced, dramatized, drawn, and told in stories and poems, as well as being studied and read."

Article abstract:

Because languages and arts are means of communication, principles from the field of language development that communities apply to strengthen language vitality also strengthen the vitality of local artistic genres. Arts development expands a community’s existing uses of orality and arts to new topics and functions to better meet community goals together.

Status development activities increase the number of domains of use and the level of respect given local artistic genres. Corpus development activities describe genre forms and create new works in them. Acquisition development activities add to the number of people who perform or experience new works, and increase people’s interest in them.

When communities work together to meet their Kingdom goals, arts development activities add to the number of people who encounter God’s word in life-transforming ways.  [more...]

Comic Bible Society
Author: Art Ayris, President, Comic Bible Society (2018)

The most popular global reading format is comics. In almost every area of the world, sequential art is an effective inroad into Scripture engagement and bridge to Scripture explanation and reading. Super Bible.TV hosts the most complete graphic adaptation of the Bible ever done in numerous languages. With over 2,000 pages and 10,000 panels this graphic translation of Scripture covers all 66 books of the Bible and is a key Scripture bridge for Bible-less peoples, non-believers and the functionally illiterate.

The decline in Bible reading among millennials and teens has been documented by a recent Barna Report funded by the American Bible Society, demonstrating that 32% of Millennials never read the Bible but the percentage is even more drastic among teens at 48%. Meanwhile, in the greater public sphere comics readership has grown 42% the last five years. The Comic Bible Society sees the continuing growth in comics readership but the plummeting Bible engagement as a dynamic intersection to enter with Holy Writ.

In this article, Comic Bible Society President Art Ayris shares the top ten Scripture engagement keys his non-profit organization uses to engage various languages in Scripture: cultural acceptance, reader engagement, efficiency of format, educational, literacy, effectiveness, evangelism, transcultural, social media and Scripture engagement.  [more...]

Choosing Illustrations for Translated Scripture
Author: Michelle Petersen (2016)

Choosing to illustrate interesting events in the text may help build audience interest in the story of Scripture, and this interest may be more foundational to audiences’ relationship with God than knowledge of details about what objects and places looked like.

Illustrations often serve motivational functions for readers, especially reluctant readers, increasing their enjoyment of a text and the amount of time they give it. Various audiences require different kinds of Scripture visuals to care about the message and understand it well. Just as translators need to carefully check the words of Scripture, it is important that they also check Scripture illustrations with members of the intended audience, and if needed, change their choices based on this interview feedback. This paper encourages translation teams to check visual elements of Scripture with members of the intended audience, and helps prepare consultants to check illustrations based on local visual vocabulary, grammar and rhetoric.

This is an edited version of a paper presented at the Bible Translation Conference in October 2015, Dallas, Texas.  [more...]

EthnoDoxology Volume 4, No. 4 (2010): 22-31
Author: Michelle Petersen

Scripture Relevance Drama is a tool for facilitating use of translated Scripture and developing minority languages. Indigenous authors and vocal actors dramatize local life situations as contexts for characters telling topical Bible stories. Other plays explore community development and health issues, such as how to avoid malaria, the benefit of immunizations, or the need to cover local wells to protect young children from falling into them.

The Lunaba Drama Team takes their culture’s artistic tradition to a wider audience through their weekly half-hour radio drama program. The Lunaba Drama Team is also continuing to give live performances. The framework presented in this paper may be used for developing Scripture Relevance Dramas and/or Community Development Relevance Dramas in local languages with or without the radio distribution strand.  [more...]

DVD with 209 illustrations
Author: Graham Kennedy, Bible illustrator
Published by: Foundation Matters (2013), available from NTM

Created by Bible illustrator Graham Kennedy of Foundation Matters, these new Bible pictures have been chosen to illustrate and complement the stories that are included in New Tribes Mission's Firm Foundations Bible study curriculum. The 209 illustrations cover Bible stories from the Creation in Genesis through the Acts of the Apostles.

A catalogue with a small preview of each the images is available for download from the NTM website.  [more...]

Historical and hermeneutical study of ordinary "readers" transactions with the Bible.
Author: Mote Paulo Magomba
Published by: University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg - MTh thesis (2004)

Abstract:
This study falls within the area of the Bible in African Christianity, particularly ordinary readers' appropriation of and interpretation of the Bible. It seeks to explore, firstly, the processes of the encounter between the Bible and the indigenous people of Tanzania, specifically the Gogo in central region. Secondly, this thesis seeks to identify some interpretative resources and emerging interpretative practices that have continued into the present of ordinary readers of the Bible.

This exploration is done by tracing the mission activities of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) in Tanzania, which began in 1844. The work of the Universities Mission to Central Africa (UMCA) is also examined, particularly the role it has played in making the Book "open" to the indigenous, through translation.

Although there is continuity between past and present readings, this thesis demonstrates that ordinary readings are not static, they are dynamic; and over the years neo-indigenous interpretative moves have emerged which are a combination of both missionary and indigenous interpretative resources and methods. This reality is evident in the contemporary phenomenon of women and youths' songs in central Tanzania. These songs are creative interpretations of the Bible from an ordinary readers' perspective.  [more...]