Thursday, June 9, 2011

ICAP 2011: Beauty, Art and Worship

My Franciscan roots run deep. I appreciate the ICAP Leadership Team providing special places for prayer and contemplation. I also appreciate the other effort they made that is important to Franciscans, they cared about beauty. For Franciscans beauty is all around us, we only have to open our eyes, our ears, pay attention to what we smell, feel and taste. Brother Francis instructed people to make sure they planted some flowers in their vegetable gardens simply to be able to pause and appreciate them. Beauty reminds us of how generous our Creator has been. The grounds of Green Lake Conference Center were full of natural beauty and the buildings proclaimed the beauty of simple, clean design and architecture. Well another way beauty becomes part of our consciousness is through the Arts. The ICAP Leadership Team made sure that the Arts were part of the global conference experience.

Now to be sure the sharing of music from around the world was part of the arts. The proud wearing of native dress also added to this. However, there was a more conventional addition, dance and visual arts.

Mariliana Morales, the Latin American Team Leader also provided a workshop on prophetic Dance. Now it would appear to me that the process is more important than the dance, the dance is simply the medium of communication. However, it is dance and involves the telling, if not of a story than at least a feeling, that is set to music and involves the full body as the avenue of communication. Mariliana danced for us at the conference, she led a workshop on Prophetic Dance and she then involved the entire conference is dance.

ICAP 2011: Prophetic Dance

Next to one of the prayer rooms was an art gallery. The paintings were powerful. The artist, Diane Graham had a very special exhibit, "Every Man's Daughter." The exhibit was sponsored by WE International. Nobody talked in the room except in short, muted whispers. The paintings were of girls and women of various ages from different nations. They shared a common sisterhood of bondage and trafficking. It was a sad room and yet it touched you. Part of art is to communicate, to touch and to change. It is difficult to look at this exhibit and not feel called to action. There are more people sold into modern day slavery than in the 1800s. The sex trade robs people not only of their innocence but of their sense of self, of their own power and of being able to see beauty in the world.

ICAP 2011: "Every Man's Daughter" A Powerful Exhibit

This gallery was not a quiet refuge from a busy conference. It was a stark reminder of why we must act. It was a reminder of why we must act today, tomorrow and the next day. It was a reminder that human trafficking is a global problem and a local reality. This gallery was a call to action.

Finally, we had a week of music that lifted us up, that connected us to one another and helped us move from one part of the world to the next. That music was provided by our Swedish drummer Sven-Gunnar Liden and by the master of music herself, Hornrette Washington. She was dynamic, inspiring and she was a blessing. Now that is the power of art.

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