We make and offer art because we worship; not to lead us into worship (Best 2003). As a function of ascribing worth to the Divine and communicating that worth to others art brings collective into a shared experience. The making and offering of art is sacred because of its intent, content, and direction; it points fully toward a spiritual principle or communal value. It may show some aspect of Divinity or highlight something of humanity, but either way it is valuable as an instrument of expressing worship. An artist is tasked in some ways of being a propagandist. They create art to convey an idea they want to impress upon the public (Garvey 1986). This week as we start a new academic quarter at Seattle University and a New Year we have been blessed by one of our students with their amazing art. As you read about the artist and their work my prayer is that you would consider the ways that art might play a role in the worship and liturgy life of your local congregation or national church body. Please enjoy the work of Barbara Bauml.
Peace Is Possible,
Bishop Edward Donalson, III | Director of Liturgy and Worship | Assistant Clinical Professor
Best, Harold M. 2003. Unceasing Worship: Biblical Perspectives on Worship and the Arts. Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press.
Garvey, Marcus. 1986. Message to the People; The course of African Philosophy. Dover: The Majority Press.
About the Artist
Barbara Bauml has created art in multiple mediums throughout her life. She finds that art “speaks” in ways that words cannot―both as a mode of expression and as a medium of communication. The subject or theme of her work determine the mediums with which she plays―in this case money, food, and Western tableware. She creates art in realistic and abstract forms using pen and ink, acrylics, graphite, and fabric dyes.
It was a new and interesting experience to use money as a medium. It caused me to reflect on risk, trust, and what I value. I hope it will similarly evoke reflection and discussion in those who view this.
Her esthetic senses grant much appreciation for beauty in everyday life. While painting esthetically pleasing art is nice, she finds that art is more meaningful when it engages others. Creating art within community is especially meaningful. The feelings, thoughts, and conversations that are experienced enrich life and relationships.
Barbara lives in Graham, Washington. She is married to Timothy Bean, is a mother, step-mother, and grandmother. She works part-time as a counselor and is on the board of the Washington Pastoral Counseling Association. She is currently attending Seattle University earning a Master Degree in Pastoral Studies
Exploring Money, Values, and Justice
A new piece of artwork, “Money, You Can’t Eat It,” has been installed on the ground floor of Hunthausen Hall. This mixed-media sculpture uses the lens of art to view the role and purpose of money in our world. Understanding and exploring the relationships of money to our values, assumptions, goals, and faith is overdue. Therein lies a conversation about our values, justice, and moral courage.
The artist, Barbara Bauml, has created art in multiple mediums throughout her life. Early in her life, painting did not satisfy her curiosity. Making art became more meaningful, however, as a reflection of culture and as a form of self-expression. She finds that art “speaks” in ways that words cannot.
This art, was conceived both as commentary on the value of money and as an invitation to become more aware about how it shapes us―individually and collectively. It is meant to evoke discussion about the ways money influences our choices, financial systems, budgets, etc. Regardless of its forms, money is a figment of our imagination. Barbara asserts that money is better used as an expression of our values than the determinant of the values on which we act.
Two thousand years ago Jesus overturned tables in the Temple courtyard to oppose the injustices perpetrated by the money changers (Mt. 21:12; Mk. 11:15). Making a whip of cords, he drove the cheaters out of temple (Jn. 2:15). The matter of what constitutes a just money system today is still very pertinent. “In discussing money in my family growing up, one comment my father made has always stuck with me: ‘Money is like oxygen, it doesn’t matter much unless there isn’t enough of it.’”
This art invites a discussion of the forms of money and how it shapes our individual and collective lives, and what we can do to promote and participate in creating a fair, moral, and equitable system. As a starting point of reflection, most of the following words were embroidered on the table runner:
Appreciate; Bail-out; Balance; Benefit; Bills & Coins; Blessing; Build; Cash; CDO; CDX; Charity; Choice; Colonization; Commodities; Contribution; Counterfeit money; Create; Credit; Debt; Derivatives; Digital Money; Domination; control & force; Earn; Enough; Equity; Fair Trade; Fiat money; Flow; Follow the money; Fractional Reserve Banking System; Futures; Gambling; Gift; Glamour; Honesty; Honor; Hospitality; Insurance; Integrity; Intent; Invest; Jubilee; Just; Labor; Loan; Love; Market; Measure; Medium of Exchange; Monopoly; Options; Partnerships; Payment Inkind; Plastic; Produce; Profit; Prosperity; Redeem; Repay; Resourcefulness; Resources; Return; Risk Assessment; Savings; Service; Slavery; Status; Stewardship; Sufficiency; Symbol; Tangible money; Taxes; The “Federal” Reserve, created 1913; Too big to fail; Treasure; Treasury; Trust; Usury; Value; Wealth; Work; Worth.