Bible Art Journaling…the journey of a creative Catholic

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Art journalling, and specifically Bible art journalling, was introduced to me last year when there was an article in Creative Scrapbooker magazine about this beautiful craft, and I knew it was for me!  That being said, there were a few hurtles to overcome, one being that I’m super scared of mess!  Yes, like the mess that gets your hands wet and sticky, and requires being close to a sink.  Yes, you can laugh now.  I’m a paper crafter that likes neat, tidy and clean lines.  I’ve watched my friend, @kaezmum for years, create beautiful mixed media as we scrapbook together and I aspire to be so “wild and crazy”.  So hurtle one was to get over that fear, embrace gesso and acrylic paints and just let the art take me away…Flash forward and I have gesso (still not opened) and have discovered Illustrated Faith and all their beautiful goodies that are calling my name to order, especially the paints, “Amen” washi and the YouTube channel is addictive!  So hurtle number two, why as a Catholic school teacher and someone fairly in-tune with the creative world, at least at the social media level,had I not heard about any Catholic art journaling, in the online world or face-to-face??

So next I did a bit of Googling, only to find, well, to not find a Catholic journaling Bible.  There were oodles out there, but all Protestant in nature.  I did found this journaling Bible, but it’s super pricey so let’s backtrack and see why this is the only one out there?  So, was this something that the church wouldn’t approve of?  That really didn’t seem possible to me, I mean, as long as we are reading the world and worshipping our God, how could that be wrong?  As a Catholic school teacher (at the time, stay-at-home-mom now), this just didn’t seem like something that which the church wouldn’t approve.  I asked my colleague, and book of knowledge on everything Catholic, and he hadn’t heard of any Catholic art journals or of it becoming something for which he was aware.  I continued to Google and continued to fall in love with the idea of doing it, feeling as though perhaps God is calling me to open the book and become closer to him by art journalling the word.  I mean, let’s be honest, Catholics are horrible for reading the Bible!  Seriously, when’s the last time you saw a Catholic take a Bible out at church, or even own one for that matter?  It almost feels like if you were to do so, others would be judging you and putting expectations on you that would make you feel uncomfortable.  The Christians out there reading this, especially those that read the Bible, go to Bible study and actually reference the word, are thinking the Catholics are the weakest Christians going.  It must also be acknowledged that some may just not approve of writing at all in a Bible, so perhaps I’m just of a generation that thinks this is a great idea, but the Catholic world hasn’t seen a market for such a Bible, yet. Before I get any hate mail on this, please understand these are my opinions only, not at all connected to Stampin Up (whom as Mormons, completely know how to read a Bible! and I admire that!) or the Catholic Church.  So, where to next in the journey?

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Time has gone by, I have started to brave the world of mess, I even recently attended a painting class using acrylics, was really stepping out of the comfort zone!  (see photo above)  And the draw to dive into this Bible art journalling is still calling my name.  I read numerous articles and Catholic sites regarding the different types of Bibles out there, and what really is the difference between those that the Christians that are doing all the art journaling online are using and the Catholic translations.  I knew the one I have, the NRSV is approved, since my Catholic school division gave it to us as a gift, that’s approval in my books.  However, I’d like to keep that as my reading Bible (for the reading I may do as a result of my new found connection to the scripture through art).  My colleague said anything St Ignatious is his first choice, but no journalling version out there, please correct me if you find one!  My research has continued, and I found this wonderful Catholic mom @catholicicing and her post regarding having this same challenge! So I can officially tell myself I’m not losing my mind, or am horrible at using Google 🙂

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More recently, she posted that her pick is the Catholic study Bible, however, still not ideal in my opinion since you still have to cover up sections of notes with white label stickers to allow for your art and journalling.  Basically, I’m asking for the moon because I want a Catholic Bible for art journalling!!

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I proceeded to admire the many Christian options out there, humming and hawing about whether to just use those (reading the word is better than not at all, right?) or continue to stick to my mission and make a Catholic one work.  I happened to find a King James version of a Bible, at the dollar store, seriously, for $1, I couldn’t resist!! At least I will start with this to try out the art itself (play with that gesso that is collecting dust, and spring for the starter kit from Illustrated Faith)  and see where that takes me, before investing in a more expensive one.  I’ll keep you posted, if all goes well, I’d like to offer it as a group, and see if there are others out there, especially Catholic women, whom would love this art, but it just hasn’t made itself present to them.  If you are in the Okotoks/Calgary area an interested in learning more along with me, comment/email/let me know.  AND, if you are a Bible publishing company reading this, please create a Catholic art journaling Bible (and not for an outrageous price!).

Lastly, today I found this:  Bible Journaling as Lectio Divina and all became clear!  Thank you, Jenny, @TheLittlestWay, for so clearly breaking down for us something Catholics can connect with, Lectio Divina, and how art journaling only adds to the benefits of this form of reflective worship.  I will embrace the lectio divina method of Bible art journaling and share my experiences in the future.

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