Do people really “experience” God?
When Dan ABH and I started unpacking the photos for the Witnessing Worship: Connecting Through the Lens of Faith exhibit he asked me if I thought the photos were real or posed. He wanted to understand what the people photographed were experiencing because he was moved by the variety of expressions of worship and the intense looks of devotion on some people’s faces. While these photos have a vintage feel to them, having been shot in the 1980’s and 1990’s; I was still confused when Dan asked his next question.“Do people still experience that?”
“What if people who aren’t a part of a faith community knew that this was happening in so many different places all the time? Wouldn’t that change the way they see religious people? Wouldn’t that affect the way we see each other?”
Dan has no religious background. He’s worked in and around Convergence for many years but only recently has he started to identify as a Christian. It was shocking to me that someone wouldn’t know people experience genuine worship every day all around the globe. And yet, here he was; asking me if this was still happening. When I answered, him his next observation spawned the Witnessing Worship Online Photo Project. “What if people who aren’t a part of a faith community knew that this was happening in so many different places all the time? Wouldn’t that change the way they see religious people? Wouldn’t that affect the way we see each other?”
We thought it might. So, we launched this online response>> to Nina Tisara’s photographs from Witnessing Worship to ask people of faith to post contemporary photos of worship so that they could bring the very real and transformative everyday encounters with God to the forefront. Would you help us highlight instances where genuine, honest, spiritual connection happens by posting your own photos?>> By capturing these moments of transcendence and beauty maybe we can give hope and inspiration to believers and cynics alike.
Visit the Online Photo Project Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/witnessingworshipphotoproject/
And, please join us for the closing reception of the Witnessing Worship: Connecting through the lens of faith exhibit on Friday, June 16 at 7:00 PM in the gallery at Convergence.
Lisa Cole Smith
Pastor/Artistic Director, Convergence