What if everyone came to a discussion with something to learn and experience? What if both those who follow Jesus and those who don’t follow Him got together and talked about eternal issues of humanity like isolation, love, and purpose? What if each person had the opportunity to openly share from their own experience and efforts to make sense of it all?
For those who aren’t followers of Jesus, you can create a safe place where they can share their spiritual journey and be accepted no matter what they say or conclude at the end. It becomes a place where their voice matters, because all truth expressed is also used by God to shape and refine the faith of the believers in the group. The group becomes a space in which all cojourney for a time. The “Stripped” Small Group study explores the existential issues central to our life, our world, and today’s college student. Concepts like isolation, reconciliation, meaning, value, truth, and God. How do you launch into such weighty subjects? Center the conversation on the great artists and masterpieces of the western world: The Scream by Munch, Mona Lisa by Da Vinci, Return of the Prodigal Son by Rembrandt, among other works. The paintings surface the universal cries of the human heart and ultimately lead the discussion to our need for a Savior. Inside the “Stripped” study guide you’ll find all of the paintings reproduced in full-color making it look and feel like a printed museum piece.
HOW TO USE “STRIPPED”
Art restoration eventually reveals a painting full of amazing details and colors previously hidden by layers of dirt and varnish. The questions in this book serve as the tools to uncover the hidden complexity and richness of our own experience with each artist’s subject matter.
The Art & Soul series is intended to be used in community where divergent experiences and ideas will keep your journey honest.
CHOOSE YOUR TOOLS
Each study contains a myriad of questions intended to provide fodder and guidance for your discussion. Be selective with these questions, not comprehensive. It may be helpful to select one or two questions from each section in advance. Not every question asked will resonate with your group. Some will line up easily with issues they have been pondering. Some require more vulnerability than others. And some will spark other questions not included here.
Though appropriate for a broader audience, the primary audience of this study is students involved in visual arts. As a result, some questions relate directly to their creative work. Depending on the make-up of your group you may want to skip over these questions.
ALLOW DISCUSSION TO EMERGE
No two paintings undergo the exact same restoration process. As each layer is stripped away, new facts and details emerge that influence the next step. As you begin your discussion ask one question and see what it reveals. Select another, perhaps related question, and uncover a deeper layer. Your group may work through the progression of paintings in order, or decide to spend more time wrestling with or revisiting a particular theme.
No order of questions is sacred. However, you may find the natural progression in this book helps your group keep moving on their journey. This book could take you weeks or months to finish. You decide.
The discussion is divided into 3 sections:
Uncovers our emotions, thoughts, and experiences, all of which inform how we view life, God, and our spiritual journey. Included are ways
to continue your exploration of a painting’s theme through other media: film, literature, non-fiction writings, other paintings, and passages from the Bible. Here you’ll find additional company for your journey— others who have wrestled with these questions and whose work reflects various roads taken.
Uncover: Pulls back the veil on the artist, the spiritual & cultural issues which the painting addresses, and poses some questions about the content.
Create: Provides an outlet for kinesthetic natures that need to “do” in order to engage. The ideas included are limited only by your imagination.
Leader’s notes are in the back of each study booklet. Stripped can be purchased online at the CruPress store
Has God always been concerned about extending His love and forgiveness to all nations and peoples of the earth? Both the Old and New Testaments show God’s offer of grace is to everyone — Jew and Gentile alike.
When you tell your story, it’s God who is responsible for changing people’s hearts. You are simply called to be ready and to share what God has done in your life.
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