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Art for Faith’s Sake (8 vols.)

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The Art for Faith’s Sake series is designed to promote the creation of resources for the church at worship. It presents two types of material: primary and secondary liturgical art. Like primary liturgical theology, classically understood as the actual prayer and practice of people at worship, primary liturgical art is that which is produced to give voice to God’s people in public prayer or private devotion, and art that is created as the expression of prayerful people. Secondary art, like secondary theology, is written reflection on material that is created for the sake of prayer, praise, and meditation of God’s people.

The series presents both worship art and theological and pedagogical reflection on the arts of worship. The series title, Art for Faith’s Sake, indicates that, while some art may be created for its own sake, a higher purpose exists for arts that are created for use in prayer and praise.

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Key Features

  • Explores worship experiences
  • Provides reflections from William H. Willimon
  • Presents an introduction to Emily Dickinson’s life and poetry
  • Studies visual and sensory practices in religion

Product Details

  • Title: Art for Faith’s Sake
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock
  • Volumes: 8
  • Pages: 1,050

Individual Titles

Senses of the Soul: Art and the Visual in Christian Worship

  • Author: William A. Dyrness
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Pages: 198

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Senses of the Soul explores the way art and visual elements are incorporated into Christian worship. It incorporates research conducted in Los Angeles congregations. Through extensive interviews in a sample of Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox congregations, it looks into the way visual elements actually become part of the experience of worship. By looking at attitudes and experiences of beauty, art, and memories, it suggests that believers appropriate images and aesthetic encounters in terms of imaginative structures that have been formed through worship practices over time. By comparing responses across denominations, the book proposes that people receive visual elements in ways that have been shaped by long traditions and specific background beliefs. In addition to discussions of the differences between the major Christian traditions, the book also examines the relation of art and beauty to worship, the role of memories and everyday life, and the power of images in spirituality and worship.

By its focus on the worshiper, the book seeks to make a contribution to the growing conversation between the arts and Christian worship and to the process of worship renewal.

Senses of the Soul is an invaluable grass-roots study of how people actually use and engage the visual aspects of Christian worship. Rather than emphasizing what theology and liturgy think the arts should contribute (or not) to worship, Dyrness breaks new ground by listening to ordinary Christians’ talk about what the arts actually do contribute. In so doing, he re-draws the boundaries of art and points to the power of our religious imaginations to direct our engagement with the visual and physical dimensions of Christian worship. I am very much looking forward to using this book in my own teaching and research.

—Lisa DeBoer, art historian, Westmont College

William Dyrness offers us here a very timely and strategic contribution to the growing conversation about how the arts can contribute to worship and the life of faith. By listening to so many varied voices of worshipers in actual congregations, Dyrness offers many illuminating insights that promise to sharpen not only the work of artists in many media, but also the faith life of pastors, theologians, worship leaders, and all thoughtful Christians who long for a multi-sensory life of prayer.

—John D. Witvliet, professor of worship, Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary

Senses of the Soul is a pioneering contribution to the ways in which Christians appropriate visual images in worship. Based on 80 interviews with individuals from Protestant, Orthodox, and Catholic congregations in Southern California, this book creatively blends empirical research with theological and social-scientific insight. The book is richly illustrated with photos of religious images from the sites where William Dyrness did his research. This book opens a fresh chapter in our understanding of the embodiment of religious experience in artistic expression.

—Donald E. Miller, executive director, Center for Religion and Civic Culture, University of Southern California

William A. Dyrness is a professor of theology and culture and the director of the Visual Faith Institute of Art and Architecture at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. He was a founding member of the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts at Fuller. He is also the author of Poetic Theology: God and the Poetics of Everyday Life.

Dust and Prayers: Poems

  • Author: Charles L. Bartow
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Pages: 86

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Dust and Prayers offers an evocation of love, human and divine, and of the struggles of believers and unbelievers. It depicts something of the human condition apart from God and, through praise and lament, with humor and pathos it speaks of the divine remedy. It speaks of creation, of the Creator, and of humanity (created in God’s image), as dust and spirit. Its voice at times is free of the constraints of rigorous poetic forms. At other times its voice is set free by adherence to them. Its cry is biblical: Lord, “I believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24)! It references the Psalms, the Prophets, the Gospels, the Apostle Paul’s letters, and strains to come to terms with God’s Holy Presence felt as Holy Absence in, with, under, and in front of the text. Its hope is grounded in the blessed disturbance with which the Christ, attested in Holy Scripture, proffers the “blessed assurance” that we are his.

Bartow’s poems serve their purposes with dignity and grace. Appropriating and adapting traditional forms, he has commemorated not only the large events that give shape to specific lives—birth, death, marriage—but also the small moments in which grace becomes visible in a squirrel, a shaft of light on a forest path, an awakened memory of an old teacher. We hear in these poems echoes of Herbert, Emerson, and Frost, and of the biblical stories and scenes that deeply inform the poet’s sensibility and frame his understanding of ‘ordinary’ life, which insists, like Hopkins, that nothing is really ordinary, because ‘it is all a purchase, all a prize.’

—Marilyn Chandler McEntyre, professor of English, Westmont College, Santa Barbara, CA

Stop, keep still, and listen to the soul stirring poems in this collection. Charles Bartow lays these pieces before us like steppingstones across his passion for God, God’s Gospel, and God’s Creation. His work is honest, heart-felt, and inspiring. Take them up, give them voice, and watch them dance in the Spirit!

—Richard F. Ward, associate professor of preaching and performance studies, Iliff School of Theology, Denver, CO

Charles L. Bartow is Carl and Helen Egner Professor of Speech Communication in Ministry at Princeton Theological Seminary. He is author of God’s Human Speech: A Practical Theology of Proclamation.

Dust and Ashes: Poems

  • Author: James L. Crenshaw
  • Editor: Katherine Lee
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Pages: 70

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

In the wake of excessive evil—the Holocaust, genocide in Africa, tsunamis in Indonesia, terrorism, earthquakes, and floods—must one surrender belief in a good God? The poems in this volume, honest and reverent, arose from the struggle to answer that question with an emphatic “No.” They exhibit the tension that also exists in the Bible where the expression “Dust and Ashes” occurs. When Abraham questioned God’s justice involving the wholesale destruction of the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah and an aggrieved Job responded to speeches from a whirlwind, their status as mortals gave rise to different approaches, boldness in one, humility in the other. Following their examples and the voice of dissenters within much of Scripture, these poems chronicle the journey of a lonely “man of faith,” the agony and ecstasy of one who refuses to abandon belief in God despite much evidence that brings it into question. They discover the Sacred in Nature, a book written by the finger of God, and they lovingly reflect on biblical texts, a human record of encounter with the Sublime.

Like photographs or glimpses through a window that capture a moment and reveal an unsuspected truth, these poems by James Crenshaw are encounters with the pain and joy of nature, biblical characters, and human relationships. Through these poems Crenshaw wrestles with that enigmatic God from whom he seeks a costly blessing.

Carol Newsom, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Old Testament, Emory University

A fish called Methuselah and a cat called JOY, the Babel and beauty of the church, the joys of family and of study, and the anguish of cancer—James Crenshaw beautifully articulates these and many more aspects of a rich life, viewed by a mind that is sharply critical and yet humble. The poems are both complex and lucid; many are peopled by the characters of Scripture. These are poems to share with other Christians, and to read again and again.

Ellen F. Davis, Amos Ragan Kearns Distinguished Professor of Bible and Practical Theology, Duke Divinity School

James Crenshaw’s prose always makes me think slowly yet also furiously, and refuses me the luxury of easy answers. Now his poems do the same, though they also open up avenues to hope and trust.

John Goldingay, David Allan Hubbard Professor of Old Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary

James L. Crenshaw is the Robert L. Flowers Professor of Old Testament Emeritus at Duke University. He is the author of Defending God and Prophets, Sages, & Poets.

Praying the Hours in Ordinary Life

  • Authors: Lauralee Farrer and Clayton J. Schmit
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Pages: 194

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Praying the Hours in Ordinary Life takes the reader and the worshiper on an excursion into an ancient practice. While providing a sense of the monastic life from which it is drawn, the book also provides the opportunity for individuals or groups of people to enter into the Opus Dei, the work of God: a life of prayer to which monastics have been devoted since the third century. With illustrations by artist Denise Louise Klitsie and poetry by Rainer Maria Rilke (translated by Martina Nagel), Lauralee Farrer and Clayton Schmit have provided a resource that allows believers to engage in a 24-hour pilgrimage of prayer, joining those whose life’s work is to pray without ceasing.

Beautifully constructed and equally well suited for use by either first-time or long-time practitioners of fixed-hour prayer, Praying the Hours in Ordinary Life is rich in details, offering brief, informing commentary on the history of the divine hours and speaking with candor about both the how-to and the why-to of the discipline. Those of us who have learned over the years to appreciate the power of fixed-hour prayer in shaping our Christian life will all rejoice in the arrival of this newest manual and breviary.

Phyllis Tickle, founding editor of the religion department, Publishers Weekly

If you wonder where the attraction lies in recovering these dusty practices, you would do well to read this beautiful book carefully. More importantly you should take the time to join these ancient voices in prayer. I guarantee doing so will challenge and enrich your faith and your practice of prayer. It has certainly done this for my students—and their teacher!

William Dyrness, director, Visual Faith Institute of Art and Architecture, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA

Lauralee Farrer is an award-winning filmmaker and the president of Burning Heart Productions. She has been writing, producing, and directing professionally for over 30 years, and often lectures on issues of faith and art. She is the editor of Theology, News & Notes from Fuller Theological Seminary—a graduate institution for the study of theology, psychology, and intercultural studies.

Preaching Master Class: Lessons from Will Willimon’s Five-Minute Preaching Workshop

  • Author: William H. Willimon
  • Editor: Noel A. Snyder
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Pages: 134

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Preachers around the globe have come to rely on Will Willimon for insight and advice on the craft of preaching. For over a decade, Willimon has published his reflections in the “Five-Minute Preaching Workshop,” a quarterly column he writes as editor of Pulpit Resource. Here the best selections from that column have been brought together into a single volume for the first time. Drawing on years of experience, study, and careful observation of the current state of preaching, Willimon offers candid thoughts on a wide range of homiletical issues from theological to pastoral, cultural, and stylistic. Readers will find challenge and inspiration from a few hours spent in the studio of this master preacher.

Will Willimon is a master preacher who is eminently qualified to teach a ‘master class’ on preaching. Paradoxically, he refuses to master the text or the awesome responsibility of preaching the Gospel. Instead, he shows us how to listen for God’s Word and to experience it in every moment of the pastoral life. In Willimon’s reading, preaching is not an onerous burden but a lively exercise of the theological and biblical imagination. He really can’t help himself! He loves words, but he loves the Word even more. The outcome of this book is something we could all use—a newfound joy in the art of preaching.

—Richard Lischer, James T. and Alice Mead Cleland Professor of Preaching, Duke Divinity School

What a wonderful collection of insightful essays that invite us preachers to learn from the homiletic wisdom of Bishop Will Willimon. Arguably, what is best about this little book is that the teacher of this wisdom has been a faithful preacher of the Gospel for more than 30 years. I hope many readers will take advantage of this opportunity to enhance their growth in the art of preaching for building up the faith and life of the church.

—Michael Pasquarello III, Granger E. and Anna A. Fisher Professor of Preaching, Asbury Theological Seminary

William H. Willimon is the Bishop of the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church and former dean of the chapel at Duke University. He is the author of over 50 books and is widely recognized as one of America’s best preachers.

Mending a Tattered Faith: Devotions with Dickinson

  • Author: Susan VanZanten
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Pages: 118

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Although Emily Dickinson is sometimes seen as a religious skeptic, she never gave up on God, struggling with issues of faith and doubt throughout her life. Many of her poems depict such struggles, sometimes with humor and sometimes with despair. Reading and reflecting on these poems can be a powerful way to listen to and experience God through the arts.

Mending a Tattered Faith presents an accessible introduction to the mysteries of Dickinson’s life and poetry, considering her relationships to her family and the church, the significant poetic strategies she employed, and the dramatic family struggle over publishing her poetry that began soon after her death. It offers 29 carefully selected poems by Dickinson, each with an accompanying meditation. By helping readers unpack Dickinson’s intense but brief poems, supplying absorbing historical background and information, and relating some personal stories and reflections, this book encourages readers to embark upon their own meditative journey with Dickinson, whose engaging struggles with faith and doubt can help illuminate our own spiritual questions, sorrows, and joys.

Who’s afraid of Emily Dickinson? Not me, when I’ve got Susan Emily VanZanten at my side. Precise, elegant, and evocative, VanZanten guides the reader through the spiritual tangles of Dickinson’s verse in ways that enlighten and refresh the soul. This is a book to keep and to treasure.

—Paul J. Willis, professor of English, Westmont College, Santa Barbara, CA

I’ve never read a book quite like this, and I’m hoping it will inspire a new genre: engaged reading, slow reading, deeply informed by scholarship but inviting to all.

—John Wilson, editor, Books & Culture

Susan VanZanten is a professor of English at Seattle Pacific University. She is the author of Truth and Reconciliation: The Confessional Mode in South African Literature, editor of Postcolonial Literature and the Biblical Call to Justice, and coauthor (with Roger Lundin) of Literature through the Eyes of Faith.

Senses of Devotion: Interfaith Aesthetics in Buddhist and Muslim Communities

  • Author: William A. Dyrness
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Pages: 160

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

This ethnographic study focuses on the religious imagery and practices of a sample of Buddhist temples and Muslim mosques in the greater Los Angeles area. As a way of expanding interfaith dialogue, it is framed as a conversation between the largely Christian researchers and the 75 respondents, who were asked about the images, space, and practices of their religious experience. From the respondents in their various religious settings, it seeks to distill the specific religious imaginations and aesthetic profiles that might be said to characterize their experience—to discover what might be considered the living images of these faiths.

Set in the context of contemporary discussions of the nature of religion and visual culture, this richly textured study of visual and sensory practices in religion raises fundamental questions about the place of belief and ritual practice and the role these play in our increasingly pluralistic religious culture.

There is a growing body of literature on worship that focuses on concrete images and religious practices, thus ‘earthing’ a field that often veers toward abstraction. This is a welcome addition to that corpus, which will doubtless deepen our understanding of the richness and complexity of worship in different traditions.

Jeremy Begbie, Thomas A. Langford Research Professor of Theology, Duke University

Making his readers part of a community that longs to know and love the other, Dyrness models the beauty of which he speaks as we discover our own complexities mirrored in the passing on and reimagining of religious traditions of ordinary people. Senses of Devotion is an outstanding example of inclusive theologizing for anyone who wishes to live out the possibility of a united human family made beautiful precisely through difference.

—Cecilia González-Andrieu, assistant professor of theological studies, Loyola Marymount University

This important study describes encounters and conversations that all readers will want to share and even replicate. Dyrness opens the way, sensitively and wisely avoiding common suppositions, undermining stereotypes, and keeping focused on actual practice as he pursues an eye-opening subject: the nonverbal dimensions of religious practice in other faith traditions. Among the rich rewards this book gives is a better perspective on ourselves.

Robin M. Jensen, Luce Chancellor’s Professor of the History of Christian Art and Worship, Vanderbilt University

William A. Dyrness is a professor of theology and culture and the director of the Visual Faith Institute of Art and Architecture at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. He was a founding member of the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts at Fuller. He is also the author of Poetic Theology: God and the Poetics of Everyday Life.

Blessed: Monologues for Mary

  • Author: Jerusha Matsen Neal
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Pages: 90

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Blessed is a collection of dramatic monologues that engage the Gospel narratives surrounding Mary, the mother of Jesus, through the experiences of contemporary women. Bridging proclamation and protest through theater, the pieces invite the reader to stand at the intersection of faith and doubt alongside women giving birth to the Word in the world, women like Mary—broken and blessed.

Neal brings her considerable gifts and lays them at the feet of the church. These dramatic pieces are part theater, part prayer, and part sermon. She has compassionately knit together the elements of life and faith most of us keep separate: the iconic figure of Mary becomes sister and friend to all women. Readers and audiences will be blessed by Neal’s Blessed.

—Richard Lischer, James T. and Alice Mead Cleland Professor of Preaching, Duke Divinity School

Whether read or performed, turned as single gems or taken as a single work, Neal’s deft, dramatic pieces raise deep questions about Mary—the blessed but utterly human mother of Jesus. Drawn into these scenes, we cannot help wondering, as well, at the astonishing intersections of the divine life with our own.

—Sally A. Brown, Elizabeth M. Engle Associate Professor of Preaching and Worship, Princeton Theological Seminary

These beautiful and poignant monologues call us to the deep places of preaching, where bearing and birthing the Word is both a painful struggle and a joyful hope. Like Mary, Neal has pondered the Word in her heart, and she has given that Word rich, embodied form. All who enter this Gospel drama with her will be fearfully and wonderfully blessed.

—Charles L. Campbell, Professor of Homiletics, Duke Divinity School

Jerusha Matsen Neal is a doctoral candidate in homiletics at Princeton Theological Seminary. She is an ordained American Baptist minister, actress, and playwright.

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