Learning Forum

Coin: Jesus on Money (Series Introduction)

Money is deeply-engrained in the fabric of our world. Global markets wield incredible control over our local economies and the cash in our pocket (or lack thereof) is often a primary cause of our stress and worry. Whether we have it or not, money shapes our lives, our relationships, and the environments around us. Is it a necessary evil or an opportunity for good? A tool or a vice? At Open Door we're seeking to walk in the way of Jesus and and pursue cultivation and formation of our whole self, including our finances! Jesus talks about money all the time not because it’s “good” or “bad” but because it's a window into deeper things.

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Through the beginning of Lent, we'll be engaging in a series called Coin: Jesus on Money. Throughout Coin, we'll dig into the teachings of Jesus on money, and experiment, dialogue, learn and grow together towards an integrated way forward with our money as we seek to walk in the way of Jesus together.

We'll have a few special opportunities to learn and practice together throughout the series. On January 18, Mark Scandrette from San Francisco's ReIMAGINE will be with us and in late January we'll launch two separate circles using Mark's book FREE to think about the alignment of our money and values (if you don't have a copy of Mark's book, it will be available at a discount on Jan 18 directly from Mark!).

As we begin this series, we'd love to hear your thoughts and questions below!

  • What stirs your imagination about the possibilities of following Jesus with your money?
  • What are the biggest stressors caused by money?
  • What kind of communal practices involving our finances can help us better walk in the way of Jesus?

Collage :: Behind the Scenes

Collage was an Open Door Community Learning Forum from Fall, 2011 where we engaged with the Artisan Creator by tapping into our artisan capabilities.  In this post, you can view the Collages and read descriptions by the artists behind each creation.  Every Collage contains various elements that are unique to Walnut Creek, CA. "Rejected" by Rebecca Olson

Creating art, at times, can be extremely overwhelming. I have a difficult time letting go and putting my judgment aside. While creating my collage I went through a similar battle until I saw a growing pile of scrap pieces of paper lying on the table (essentially all the cut out pieces that were no longer needed). I instantly saw a theme and decided to create something out of all the things my other collagers had rejected.

Aaron Pascucci

Approaching the collage experience, I was initially a bit hesitant.  Work, family, and worry were consuming my life.  If I didn't have the time to read a simple article before our first meeting, how would I find the time to devote to creating a simple collage?  The events surrounding our museum trip further confirmed my thoughts. While I had planned all week to make it to this group event I failed to make it, due to the other events consuming my life. Reluctantly, I showed up to the work day. With abandon and no real foresight, I began cutting trying to put something together as to not embarrass myself.  Our time ended and I felt no closer to a decent product than when I started.  The next Friday, with only a few hours to work at my apartment without kid, wife or looming work, I gathered my materials and began to finish.

Our general mission was to take things we came into contact with in our everyday lives and create a collage.  I find that more than I would like, my travels are more electronic than physical: from the digital newspaper I read at work, to the images that cloud my mind, to the photos I re-visit when I'm sad.

The piece I created is a collection of the most prevalent images in my daily digital travels.  The newspaper happened to be the 10th anniversary paper from the 9/11 event, I have thought often about the two women pictured since meeting them in Africa. I was the first white person they had seen and I wonder and hope that I left them with a positive impression.  The rhinos are an animal I wish to emulate: strong yet peaceful and oftentimes sedentary. The damask print comes from images of current home design.  I based the style of the piece on the work of Shepard Fairy, a prominent artist who keeps coming into my digital path. The spray paint stencil is an emulation of the graffiti culture image created by Trent Reznor, a leading pioneer in industrial music whose music I often listen to while writing lesson plans.

In the end, I found that although I felt incredibly overwhelmed by my life, I did have the time to devote to creating a unique piece of culture.  While at first it seemed more like forced work, I was glad that I was forced to try new artistic techniques that I have wanted to try for years and in some manner deal with the images that consume my mind.

Darrell Olson:

I initially found the phrase "Restor/e" and thought it would be interesting to discover/create a collage which told the story of restoration.  However, as the pictures and phrases started to come together I found that the story taking place was less about restoration and more about an eternal warning of life choices.  The focal point of the story seemed to start with the image of an "Eve" or "wicked witch" character and then flowed into the dry bones surrounding her to the tropical images to her right.  It was kind of funny (actually sad) that I had a harder time finding images of redemption/restoration then I did of decay.  Once I finished the piece I realized that most of the other artists had focused in on color, textures and organic material within their piece whereas I had focused more on storytelling.  Perhaps I had missed out on a deeper level of artistic expression, but at the same time I realized that my background as an actor is in narrative storytelling, thus I shouldn't be surprised to find myself drawn to creating a story within collage instead of focusing in on an image.

Annie Nelson:

As an English teacher and a member of modern-day society, I feel overwhelmed by meaningless words.  Angry political rhetoric, sentimental religious fluff, whining students, inconsiderate cellphone jabberers...I drown in thoughtless language.  I long to live boldly, brightly, strongly.  But the words rise up and drown  life's vibrancy in black and white. (The contrast between my experience and Christ-the-Word does not escape me, but didn't inform my creation.)