Bringing Heaven Down To Earth

blog for the book by Nathan Bierma • > Heaven > Blog

Friday, January 11, 2008

Busy Thursday in DCM

Yesterday was a busy day for us in DCM 150-41. After a morning discussion on ethnic diversity in heaven, based on chapter 3 of Richard Mouw's When the Kings Come Marching In, we left for the Grand Rapids Art Museum. We had at least five reasons from our course for going to this art museum:

- the GRAM is the first newly constructed LEED-certified art museum in the world, which fit with what we said this week about creation care.
- one of the exhibits at the GRAM is "Nature Revealed," which helps illustrate what we've been saying about heaven on earth.
- a temporary exhibit at the GRAM features the work of local artist Chris Van Allsburg, which echoes our reflections on the importance of imagination.
- our discussion of culture as the work of our hands developing creation--which includes art and architecture.
- the experience of being downtown set up our discussion today of urbanism and heaven.

In addition to particular paintings that echoed some of our course themes, the visit left me with one more metaphor to connect to our class -- what the docents said about "learning to see." Not learning the correct way to see, but learning how to look at a painting -- or, as the Orthodox would say about an icon, how to look through it -- looking at it long and repeatedly, letting new details or interpretations come to you as you look. This struck me as a pretty good (though not perfect) metaphor for learning to look at the apocalyptic visions of Scripture.

In the afternoon, we joined two other DCM classes at the Bunker Interpretive Center to hear Janel Curry talk about the range of Christian responses to the crisis of global warming. (You can listen to a version of this lecture and follow the PowerPoint here -- scroll to Oct. 26, 2007.) Then we helped the other two classes, which have been talking about global warming, adapt Dr. Curry's framework for responding to global warming to their own.


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