the Crucible

Abstract for Research

      The theology of academia lacks appropriate metaphors and abstracts to demonstrate, embody, and announce the kingdom of God. A solution is the creation of new metaphors and abstracts to add insight and definition. The purpose of this project, then, is to interpret and create some new metaphors for theological themes commonly used in academic circles. Because of prior knowledge readers bring with them when they engage with theology, their positions and starting points sometimes limit their understanding of the sensus plenior1 or fuller meaning, of the original text. By providing new metaphors for these theological themes, readers will enter into the conversations with new starting points enlisting an audience that perhaps otherwise would be disengaged.

      In some instances the language of academics loses broader relevance to popular culture. Because of this, a prior understanding and critical interaction with numerous texts becomes a prerequisite and often times understanding the surrounding theological polemics is a mandatory prerequisite to adequately wrestle with texts. Within popular culture, the academics become unappreciated, and as result their material lacks distribution. Therefore, there needs to be a relationship between the proclamations of the academic theologians and a demonstration of what it is they are communicating. A solution is new metaphors and abstracts to add insight and definition because of cultural perceptions commonly associated with the chosen themes. There is room for an artistic exposition to solidify the link between proclamation and demonstration.

      The medium of physical art is an appropriate context in which to address this. Each piece of metal used in the sculptures is unique in that it was created for another purpose.  An “alternator pulley,” a “Lions Club International” road sign, and a “1940 Ford Spindle” all are unique in their own contexts and have their own stories behind them. By linking them together in the fusion of art, their stories become something greater and assist in shaping a new metaphoric reinterpretation of their collected story. These sculptures are being created to re-language metaphors used in Christian dialogue and to hopefully add applicability to a wider audience.

      Utilizing the medium of metal sculpture, a series of sculptures will be placed within the boundaries of a meditation garden. The viewers of this project will be permitted time to contemplate each piece’s meaning. When given a chance to read a short statement on each piece, they will see the reasons and justifications behind the intent.  If engaged, the viewer can then access further descriptors of each piece on the project website where they will be pointed to additional resources, and written works for each piece’s theme. The intent of this artwork is to re-language metaphors needed to engage popular culture in the biblical story. 



[1] This is a Latin phrase referring to the fuller meaning of a text. This approach proposes that successive interpreters, perhaps with divine authorization, derive novel meaning from the original author’s text. That is, God had a double meaning in mind but only revealed the other sense to a later author. Thus, God guided Isaiah to say certain things with meaning in his own time but that God also intended Christ to fulfill. This approach was developed in response to New Testament uses of the Old Testament that seem to treat apparently non-predictive or ‘single meaning’ OT material as predictive prophecy. See

Tagged as , ,
Categorized as E-Say\'s

Leave a Reply