Cover art for Davidson College Presbyterian Church’s 2018 Lent devotional; Oxford, MS, January 2018.

My artistic adventure this time was to craft an image related to DCPC’s Lent devotional theme, proclaimed by the organizers to be “I Believe.” Before I say more about what you see, I think it’s worth mentioning some bits about how we got here.

Me when I heard the theme: “Oh okay cool, yeah that makes a lot of sense for a devotional.” Me five minutes later: “Waiiit a minute, what does ‘I Believe’ actually look like?”

As the eraser dust all over my work surface would tell you, this image went through a few iterations. Along the way, these are some of the thoughts that crossed my mind.

  • This image was coming to life from the peoples’ perspective. The act of believing is, in a lot ways, more about the believers than what they believe. Of course God is at the heart of what my communities of faith believe in, but when I say “I believe,” I’m making the choice not only to think something, but to share it.
  • There are so many ways we share. Speaking, singing, with our ancestors’ words and our own. Working, making, breaking bread.
  • Belief isn’t black and white, so it seemed to me that those colors needed to sit this one out.
  • Speaking of communities of faith, you’ll be not-so-surprised to know that I think they’re pretty important. I knew there needed to be more than one person in this picture.

So. Here we are.


{Cardboard, acrylic paint, watercolor paint, paper, book pages, magazine clippings, map, colored pencil, permanent marker, and pen.}

You’ll notice the people toward the bottom. Some are looking up, but the community is also looking toward each other. We’re not in this alone. Hard to box in, their faith floats up like smoke, wind-carried into the world whichever ways the Spirit blows.

The colorful pieces are just a handful ways we say or do what we believe.

  • Hymnal pages for the beliefs we sing.
  • Water and wheat representing the sacraments we share. (In my tradition there are two — Communion and Baptism.)
  • The yellow sections toward either end are the words of the Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds, with bits of the Belhar Confession written over them. Respectively the oldest and most-recently-added affirmations of faith in my denomination’s Book of Confessions, these words are reminders that communities of faith respond to the world in which they believe by stating those beliefs out loud.
  • A couple thesaurus page clippings also illuminate our spoken faith.
  • The green chalkboard acknowledges that faith impacts our work, whether our jobs are outwardly religious or not.
  • The red splotchy parts (to put it scientifically) are my hand and foot prints with a little permanent marker embellishment. First of all, three cheers for me stepping in paint and keeping it on the paper instead of my rental house’s floor. But also they’re there because our beliefs inform our lives — where we walk, what we do. Beliefs inspire actions.
  • There’s a bit of a map, because our faith is informed by grows from where we’ve been and where we’ll go.

Finally, there are some glimpses into outer space, because when it come down to it our faith is about things that are bigger than we could ever fully understand.