from Dance On Fire

August 18, 2012

A GLIMPSE INTO PETE’S LIFE  (c.2000)

“You see an artisan skillful at his craft: He will serve kings, not common men.”  Proverbs 22:29

MY INTRODUCTION

Hello, welcome to my mind. The arts, I believe, exist primarily for the enjoyment of them. Beauty, thoughtful entertainment, and creative imagery fill a void in the human spirit and cause man to functuion happier and more complete in life. Just as God has anointed some as prophets, teachers, administrators, etc. for the rest of us to receive from them, so he has anointed some with talents in various forms of the arts for others to receive blessing from as well for the worship of our ultimate Creator.

There is truth in the saying, “You are what you eat.” What a person chooses to take into their minds becomes a little part of them as it shapes their view of life. Until recently, the message coming from the mainstream church generally rejected most forms of creativity. For so long the church had lagged behind with cheap imitations of what the world has done, usually after it went out of style. What if the best selling authors, the best movies, the most popular musicians were mostly Christians? We’d be living in quite a different society.

The greatest force that influences peoples thoughts and beliefs is the media. We are letting a huge, open, world-reaching mission field lay almost barren for Christ. In most cases, it is a cop out and lazy excuse to say our art is rejected because it has the name Jesus stamped on it. Although it is true that through integrity and moral character, Christians will have to deny many “advantages” offered by an industry dominated by so much sin; for the most part, the people at the top are there because of hard work and talent. And we serve the Creator God who had made us in his image and has endowed his creative anointing on many of his servants. Should we leave those talents buried, or should we risk their investment?

Most art that requires thought represents the artist’s views on life; there is usually a moral or point the artist is trying to convey. Although I don’t feel the need to sum up the gospel in every one of my pieces, I think the outflow of my heart on paper reveals my faith, strength, and love dependent on our Lord, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Subjects of my work range from thoughts on something of interest to the daily struggles of life to the exploration of the human spirit in our relationship with God to pure and simple worship of him. Although we tried to match some artwork to poetry with common themes, all work was created separately and has nothing to do with the other on a specific level.

My deepest desire for my work is that by the grace of God it would somehow lift up and encourage you and move your heart closer to the Lord by knowing him in a deeper way. It is my prayer that in seeing my struggles some would in a sense learn from my mistakes and be encouraged to persevere and press on in what God has called you. At the very least, I hope you find my work interesting and entertaining so that the time you spend looking into my head is enjoyable.

Thank you sincerely…

21st Century Man

Running Running Running on and
Raging he went
Whipped around in a whirlwind.
His life was spent
Taking shots in the dark,
He never kindled the spark
Into a magnificent fire.
He was conditioned to be a liar:
A constant walk on the high wire.
Looking down,
The world went ’round
Without him.
He laughed and he cried-
Took in his breath and he sighed-
And he died.

Twenty-first Century Man-
That’s who I am.

Cycles 

A dark red glow is all that is left
Of the fiery bowl sunken
In the deep dark horizon.
Soon even the trees,
So perfectly silhouetted
Against the evening glow,
Will become a mere whisper
And a shadow.
The stars ride out
In their procession
Deceiving us with their faint light.
Everything is so beautiful,
So mysterious,
But the stepping stones stumble me
And I’ll be lucky to catch
Reflection
Of the lion’s eyes-
Devourer.
Enter the night.

We toss and turn in sleepless struggle,
Being held captive by blackness bubbles.
We don’t float away-
We turn and fight.
We search for light,
Find wisdom where she may be:

Awake,
O mother, sister in heart.
Sell us the fuel
To light the lamps
To guide
The way
To Freedom Road.
Your Father,
Your brother the King,
Our Husband, he calls us…
Plain bright mystery.

The horizon behind us,
The sun left behind.
The horizon beyond us:
A strip of pale blue
Pushes out purple, down black.
The Son is arisen,
My world is renewed;
My vision is back.

Patience

She talks go
But when I go
Red lights flash ahead.
Somehow…
I prefer to stop.
Fire burns red.
My flesh burns for you.

No. Far better
In me
A white fire
Of the core.
Purify…
Soul consuming.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Thank you…

To my God: Jesus Christ, His Father, His Holy Spirit; Three persons in unity: One God Most High. The maker and giver of my talents and everything good in me.

To my ex-wife Letecia who has been a source of inspiration and a tool used to shape and develop my character.

To my boys Gabriel and Zed. My two greatest rocks of unconditional love.

To my parents Richard and Catherine, my brothers Paul and Tom. A family filled with love and normalcy I once rejected but now so deeply appreciate your strong stablility in days so uncertain.

To Pneuma Books, the designers of this book, my friend Brian Taylor, who spent much valuable time on it, giving me the opportunity to present my work.

To Vivian Branton-Jones, who gave a shy, punk kid the ability to have confidence in himself.

To Harold R. Eberle, a prophet of God who imparted the commission of God to me.

To Bob, John, Darrell, James, Mel, Alan, and Misty; my buds from high school–almost Tens Years Gone–give me a call sometime.

To the elders and body of believers at Newark Christian Fellowship and East Coast Aflame Ministries. Thank you for the love, support and acceptanct you have given me throughout the years.

“…deep, heart-felt emotion… overflowing into perfectly-placed poetic words. They are a realization of unfulfilled dreams and a longing for perfection as a father and as a human being… desperately reaching… and finding solace in the understanding that only God is in control.”  -Susan L. Heisler, Delaware Artist & Author of Anthology of a Crazy Lady

Peter L. Richardson

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“No work of art is more important than the Christian’s own life.”   -Francis Schaeffer

James Hampton’s "Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millennium General Assembly"

James Hampton’s "Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millennium General Assembly"

I didn’t even find the work attractive. Upon closer inspection it wasn’t hard to believe that this work was made mostly out of discarded junk, secondhand furniture, and endless amounts of tinfoil. Had it been any of the “junk art” works I’ve seen before, I may have passed it by without a thought. However, knowing the history behind James Hampton’s Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millennium General Assembly, one is struck with a sense of awe at this man’s lifework.  

Hampton's "Throne" found in his garage.

"Where there is no vision, the people perish" — Proverbs 29:18 (King James Version) posted on the wall of Hampton's garage.

The legacy that St. James left is truly amazing. Had he lived long enough to retire and go into ministry full time, this man surely could have started a new religious movement. What is most intriguing about St. James is that it is difficult to decide whether he really had some kind of prophetic insight for the end times, or if he was just insane. Traditionally, most of the world’s new “prophets” spend little time developing their so-called-brand-new vision from “God” before they run out to start their new religion. Standing on their new platform in the spotlight, they proclaim their new message and so-called-better-way, but St. James was an extremely humble and patient man as is revealed in his Throne and his life. Being a janitor one becomes accustomed to humility, and being African American in the early part of the 20th century, one’s level of expression is suppressed to say the least. This man collected old secondhand furniture and decorated it with gold and silver tinfoil and purple tissue paper, and he meticulously formed it all into a throne for the King of Kings to rule from upon his second coming. This throne and the objects surrounding it, all with specific meaning, were created with an incredible amount of artistic detail. How many hours did he spend searching secondhand shops? How often did his eyes comb the streets and trash piles looking for the perfect item he needed to complete a piece of the work? How many sleepless nights did he spend pushing and molding his tinfoil into the right shape to match the details given to him from dead Biblical patriarchs? As he put so much of his heart and soul into his work, how in the world did he not talk about it to anyone he knew before his death? It’s easy to pass this guy off as crazy, but if you are a Bible-believing Christian, there are a few things you are forced to deal with.

In truth, St. James shares a lot of the characteristics of the Old Testament prophets; look at all the crazy stuff God called them to do! With that perspective, St. James is not unordinary. But then, look at the object itself; will Christ in all his glory of the second coming really rule from a throne made of junked furniture and tinfoil? Who knows? If you really believe in Him, consider how he went around and shocked most religious people the first time he came down here. Doesn’t he specialize in making beauty from ashes? You could reason that Christ’s greatest work of art is to turn the trash of our used up and broken souls into something beautiful and worthy of his glory. Consider also the Jewish Temple Solomon built in Jerusalem. Even in all its splendor, it was still considered only a crude earthly shadow of God’s dwelling in heaven. The details were revealed to Moses by God, and each object had religious symbolism. Who is to say that Christ hasn’t remodeled and given His new plan to St. James, each object bearing a new distinct religious symbol? We can criticize his visions of the dead. Biblical prophets usually received their revelation through visions of heaven and through communication with the Spirit of God, but it is not unheard of for angels to bring humans messages from God. Is not possible that God would send his greatest human servants, who have passed from this world, to speak with his servants who are still in the flesh? Christ, before his crucifixion and resurrection, was visited by the spirits of Moses and Elijah. Communication with the dead is strictly forbidden in the Bible, but maybe we’re just not supposed to initiate the experience. Another issue we could raise is if God called St. James to receive this great revelation, why did he die before he could reveal it to anyone else? In the Book of Hebrews there exists what is considered the “Faith Hall of Fame.” One of the characteristics that make some of the faithful so great was their obedience to God despite the fact that they never saw their visions come to completion while they were still in the flesh on this earth. Perhaps James Hampton never intended to go public.

The Bible teaches us to test all prophecy and spiritual visions by the scriptures. I confess my arguments of St. James being a legitimate prophet are weak; however, I cannot contradict his work with my knowledge of the scriptures. If only we could read his Book of the Seven Dispensation; however, it is written almost entirely in a code that no one can break! Is this some kind of heavenly language that can only be interpreted through a revelation from God? Or is it really bad code that St. James himself just couldn’t keep straight? One wonders if he could actually go back and read over his own book. The Bible states that the followers of Jesus will be known by their fruit—their character. Of what we know of James Hampton’s outward life, there is nothing to suggest he was anything but a Christian of good character. He believed strongly that the Church of Jesus Christ shouldn’t be split into different factions and denominations, but should exist as one body. I consider myself a creative Christian, and I have had to argue with strict religious people that even though not all of my art and poetry is not a direct expression of scripture, it is all an act of human worship to my God as I pour out my heart and soul onto paper. Only God knows if he called Hampton as his prophet, but there is no doubt he had a strong love for his God that was expressed through his good character and outward humility. I believe that Hampton’s Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millennium General Assembly was a very personal, unique and intense way for him to worship his Savior. His ability to use simple raw materials to produce such an interesting and grand work of art is a feat in itself, but the true greatness of his art is the passion and devotion to God that existed in James Hampton’s heart.

Peter L Richardson
Spring 1999

James Hampton’s
“Throne Of The Third Heaven Of The Nations Millennium General Assembly”

 
 

James Hampton’s Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millennium General Assembly

James Hampton's "Throne" is on display at the Smithsonian American Art Museum

The Throne was constructed by James Hampton (1909 – 1964), a janitor for the General Services Administration, over a 14 year period from 1950 until the time of his death, after which it was discovered in a garage he rented near his apartment in Washington D.C.  Made of scavenged materials, minutely detailed and finished with glittering foil, The Throne is composed of some 180 pieces, occupies an area of some two hundred square feet and stands three yards in height at its center.

 

 

Humanity’s Obsession with the Apocalypse.

The Road Warrior

The Road Warrior

It’s the end of the  world as we know it …and I feel fine.”  -R.E.M.

Why are we so obsessed with the end of the world? Every year a new string of threats from leading scientists, well know evangelists, and even secular politicians predict that we are heading for destruction sooner rather than later. When computers didn’t take over the world or self-destruct to bring us back to the dark ages during Y2K, we became alarmed by the inconvenient truth about global warming, which turned out to conveniently have the true facts all exaggerated (I’m not saying we shouldn’t take care of the earth, but we should be sensible in our responses to do so, and we should base our policies on solid science). Now we rub our hands and wring our fingers together fretting about the Mayan prediction of the year 2012. Popular movies and art have always capitalized on these prophetic threats of doom, and so the artists have in turn become the prophets that we blindly follow with our wallets and our fears. Even before the dawn of Christianity, Jews and Gentiles alike had already began writing “divinely inspired” apocalypses. With the American Culture being shaped in part by a Judeo-Christian value system, it is no surprise that right up until the present day even secular artists use religious symbolism when dealing with the apocalypse. Unfortunately, their own misunderstanding of the symbolism leads these artists to often become false prophets.

Revelation Revealed, William Thomas Thompson, 1996

Revelation Revealed, William Thomas Thompson, 1996

I have always been intrigued by the apocalypse; I love cult movies like Mad Max, The Road Warrior, and Stephen King’s The Stand remains one of my all time favorite novels. Even before I became a Christian, I had already read The Book of Revelation a few times. The Bible states that “The creation waits in eager expectation for the Sons of God to be revealed” Romans 8:19. Since we are all created beings we also, whether headed for destruction or salvation, long for revelation. I believe there is a divine blueprint of the history of the universe, with each of our personal parts in it, deep within each human being. God’s challenge in managing his will on the earth is working around our appointed free-will, yet I think that whether they are obedient to the call of God or not, artists do have the unique ability to reach deep within themselves and draw off that blueprint of eternity, and sometimes while they may get their facts wrong, they touch on a needed truth God wants to communicate to mankind.  

The Peaceable Kingdom, Edward Hicks, 1820

The Peaceable Kingdom, Edward Hicks, 1820

Popular culture generally thinks of the apocalypse as the annihilation of the human race; however, a more accurate definition is more like history moving forward to God’s perfect end. When we look at early art in American culture, we can see this hope and faith in religion in paintings such as Edward Hicks, The Peaceable Kingdom, which he painted over 60 versions of. There is an obvious peace on earth after the destruction of evil. But as America has become increasingly secularized, the view of the apocalypse has changed a great deal. Secular artists usually depict the destruction of the world caused by human cruelty, immorality, and arrogance. Hope, if there is any hope offered to us at all, depends only on humanity making a drastic change to live in peace and harmony to make the world a better place. Christ is not the answer; we can only be saved through the collective moral consensus of all human beings. You would think that by now we would have proven to ourselves that we cannot do it. Neither through religion (look at the man-led Catholic and Islamic Empires of the Middle Ages), nor through humanism (look at the failure of Communism in more recent times). We need help. Strikingly different, the uncorrupted Christian worldview offers that help in the grace of Jesus Christ. Humanity as a whole will never achieve world peace, but we can each gain personal peace and eventually be rid of our selfish nature in the next age. The sacrifice of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins will lead to the coming day when Jesus will return, and all sin will be judged and cast into hell, leaving a new earth free of evil and in a state of peace. Some artists, like Reverend McKendree Robins Long, respond to the secularism of this age by painting God’s coming judgment. In his Apocalyptic Scene with Philosophers and Historical Figures, Long paints himself with Dante overlooking hell observing those he believed to be against the Christian faith.

Apocalyptic Scene with Philosophers and Historical Figures, Reverend McKendree Robbins Long, late 1960s

Apocalyptic Scene with Philosophers and Historical Figures, Reverend McKendree Robbins Long, late 1960s

It is interesting that many artists such as Thomas Cole and Frederick Church saw the American landscape as a New Eden, while others of their time portrayed that the idea Jesus brought of “peace on earth, good will to men” would come gradually as eventually everyone in the world would be converted to Christianity. Looking at America today, it is hard to follow such a theory. With blatant immorality on the rise, as well as the growing popularity of other religions, Christians are forced to accept a truth in the hope of Christ’s literal second coming. Yet just as the concerns of every generation’s time becomes the subject of what they think is “the signs of the times” in their apocalyptic works, it is the Christians responsibility to use whatever means exist in our world to warn those who are still lost to God of the judgment ahead; whether it is only a few months away, as some proclaim, or even if we have to wait another two thousand years.

Our Banner in the Sky, Frederic Church, 1863

Our Banner in the Sky, Frederic Church, 1863

So, how are we to know the truth? How should we respond to the many theories that have been put out there? We simply cannot know. Jesus stated that while he was on earth, he didn’t even know the day or the hour he would return (Matthew 24:36). Our response is to simply live life to the best of our ability. Carpe Diem. We take every moment we can and we live it in a spirit of joy and thanksgiving, no matter what our circumstances, thus giving our lives meaning. We take every opportunity we can to serve God, and to serve others, thus giving the broken lives we live purpose. I know many Christians who fear the end times because of the warnings of persecution and chaos the Bible gives us. I think of the images of the apocalypse in The Book of Revelation; war, pestilence, famine, death, etc. In that sense, the apocalypse is already here. Think of all the chaos millions of human beings face on a daily basis in third world countries. Think of all the religious persecution and torture millions still face in Islamic and Communist nations today. Many Christians live in the apocalypse everyday of their lives, yet they keep the faith. I don’t think the appropriate Christian response is to fear the apocalypse, but to embrace it. Though the end times are said to surely be difficult, they will only bring us closer to what is on the other side; eternity in peace and joy with our God and with those who chose to serve him alongside of us. What of those who are not yet saved? That is why the Great Commission of Jesus is so great.

The Garden of Eden, Thomas Cole, 1828

The Garden of Eden, Thomas Cole, 1828

Don Henly, of the Eagles, penned the lyric, “For there is no more new frontier, and we have got to make it here.” The apocalyptic artist prophesy’s this warning while simultaneously asking the question, “How can we make it?” I’m with the artists who have placed their hopes in Jesus Christ:

“’Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End’” Revelation 22:12-13.  

“The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ and let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life” Revelation 22:17. 

“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’

“Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” Revelation 22:20. 

Peter L Richardson
4/6/1999, revised 1/18/2010

The Village Neighborhood:

January 5, 2010

Angelic Humanity Manifest

The Village Neighborhood -Working together

The Village Neighborhood -Working together

“Truth reaches the mind most easily by the senses.”  -Father Paul Dobberstein

Guardian Angel Park-Before

Guardian Angel Park-Before

Years ago I found myself a newly married father at the ripe old age of 19. Scared, but determined to provide for my new family, I dropped out of college and began my journey into “the real world.” A friend of the family offered me a job through a laborers union in Philadelphia. A dead end job with what seemed like great pay at the time. I went from frolicking the tree laden campus of the University of Delaware to literally digging holes in the trash laden streets of Philly. Growing up in the shadow of Philadelphia, I had been to the city’s tourist attractions many times, but with this experience I got a first hand look at how depraved many parts of the city were. Houses crumbled around our work sites, discarded cars were strewn throughout the city, and bullet holes often decorated the buildings that managed to remain standing. The company I worked for had a contract with the city to dig up all the rotting gas and oil tanks buried in old gas stations and maintenance shops and replace them with environmentally safe tanks. I was on the crew that got to dig them out and dig up the contaminated soil. It was lovely work. In less than six months the company downsized and I welcomed the day I got laid off. I left without any desire to return to Philadelphia; it was years before I even returned as a tourist. After working construction for a few more years, I decided to try college again, so I enrolled at UD once again as a part-time student. I ended up taking a one-time-offered Art History class titled “American Art and the Religious Imagination.” It is easily one of the best classes I have ever taken. The grad student who was in complete creative control taught with passion, and he even required us to take field trips. One of the places we visited in North Philly was called “The Village Neighborhood.” It began in 1986 as a community outreach by Lily Yeh to clean up the park of a run down neighborhood and to use the materials of the city to create art that could bring a little beauty and color into an otherwise drab existence. Since then the project has grown throughout 260 blocks of the neighborhood. As I walked the streets of The Village Neighborhood, I was touched by more than the interesting urban artwork. I saw a people who were small in number developing a way that could transform a community with no hope to one that could produce a significant change in the lives of a significant amount of people. 

Guardian Angel Park -Angels

Guardian Angel Park -Angels

As we drove through the poverty stricken streets, I noticed most of the empty lots still had debris from the demolished buildings and a lot of trash built up from what some members of the community left lying around. Everything was rundown, falling apart, littered and graffitied. Kids played right on the streets with the trash and decaying architecture.  Some graffiti was more art rather than just tagging; I have always been intrigued by the amount of quality murals that decorate the various areas of Philadelphia. Every time we passed an interesting mural, I expected it to be the beginning of the Village; yet as we turned by Guardian Angel Park, I immediate realized why this was considered to be a sacred place. Two tall angels looming over the community painted on the side of a house send a definite message to onlookers that this place is protected. Whether the protection is from a deity or simple the strength of the community depends upon your faith, but a deeper look into these few blocks reveals more than fancy artwork and few cleaned up lots. The Guardian Angels overlook concrete children and animals playing beneath them. Each angel bears a sword and cradles a child to suggest that true safety needs more than outward strength, but also the intimacy and love that brings inward security and confidence. The abstract colors and shapes of the concrete creations are symbolic of the abstract and colorful life in the inner-city, and the concept of using tiles, bricks and concrete is brilliant for an area where vandalism and decay have been prevalent. As special and sacred as this place is, it does not feel at all out of place in the city. There is a comfortable flow from the surrounding city blocks to where the streets seem to grow into angels and children and concrete arms reaching up for joy in a dance of colored tiles with a backdrop of urban mysticism. 

Angel Alley

Angel Alley

Angel Alley is just as intriguing as the park. With warrior angels lined up from one end to the other, one can stroll down this alley with confidence. In the middle of the angels is a figure who must represent a deity, at least a man in charge, or perhaps he represents the community being protected. Of the angels that he stands between, one holds a book which might represent scripture, or it could symbolize the freedom that gaining an education can bring. The other holds a baby, perhaps a symbol of Christ, or just the comforting thought of having security in faith. The Village Neighborhood seeks to meld differences of religion together in order to achieve a sense of common unity. The wall opposite the angels displays a pattern of tiled squares checker-boarding triangles with smiling faces. They give the pedestrian a sense of welcome.

Meditation Park -Tree of Life

Meditation Park -Tree of Life

Meditation Park has a slightly different look with its stone ground and only one large circle seating place. Its surrounding walls only bear one image of the Tree of Life. In the Christian tradition the Tree of Life represents innocence, purity and eternity. However, as one sits and meditates in this surrounding area, it is easy to get the impression that this Tree not only represents new spiritual life, but also the growing and budding life of the community from the ruins of an at-risk neighborhood. That is exactly what the combination of artists, teachers, and community members have done here. In addition to the artsy remodeling of the exterior of the buildings and empty lots, they have also repaired abandoned buildings and transformed them into art and education centers. Joseph Joubert, a 19th century French philosopher, said, “He who has imagination without learning has wings and no feet.” The Village takes kids off the streets and offers them the foundation they need to help them accomplish whatever their dreams may be.

Ile Ife Park

Ile Ife Park

Ile Ife Park, however, is my favorite place in the community. The first to be conceived and created by Yeh, Ile Ife Park has a path through beautiful gardens, concrete chairs and couches (which are actually comfortable to sit in), and a group of concrete arms growing up from the ground and reaching into the sky. This stage is set against a mural displaying a large bird in flight signaling to anyone in the community who gathers there that they also can fly. I have learned that a key difference in those who are poverty-minded and prosperous-minded is the later like to surround themselves with objects of beauty and art (Eberle 104). Art and nature inspire the human soul to be creative and productive. I have also read about a doctor who worked in Harlem and lamented that the poor he served just needed something to break the cycle of poverty; he observed that even if he ended up on the street with no money and no housing, he still had his positive upbringing and education to enable him to get up again. Lily Yeh not only brought a community together to create external beauty, but she has started a movement that brings education and inspiration to the impoverished and gives them the opportunity to take responsibility for their neighborhood and their own lives as they learn and grow in confidence and self-esteem. This movement has grown from The Village Neighborhood in North Philly into the organization Barefoot Artists which replicates the success of The Village to impoverished communities all over the world.

Guardian Angel Park -Concrete Kids

Guardian Angel Park -Concrete Kids

Being guarded by angels, The Village Neighbor-hood truly is a sacred place. Does sacredness rest in the traditions of objects and ancient cathedrals and temples, or is it a matter of the heart? Is sacredness religion? If so, my religion teaches that, “a pure and faultless religion in the sight of God the Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in trouble” (James 1:27, Revised English Bible). When he was criticized for hanging out with people considered profane, Jesus replied, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick; I did not come to call the virtuous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17, Revised English Bible). Whatever your faith is, let’s break out of our traditions and start healing people. There might not be a program as interesting as The Village Neighborhood in your community, but there is always something you can do to contribute and help those who are in need. Perhaps you are called to start something on your own. My experience at The Village planted a seed in me, and eventually I got involved in my own church’s outreach to the projects of Wilmington, DE. Before our class left for the day, I was able to chat with a few kids who were finishing up pottery projects. They all said they loved their classes “except for the cleaning up.” These kids now have the experience of owning a sense of creativity and accomplishment; they have more tools to help them move past the limited expectations of poverty level children. As they grow older and move on with life, I’m sure they will each get a sense of awe and sacredness in their hearts when they think of their experience in The Village Neighborhood.

Lily Yeh -1986

Lily Yeh -1986

For more information check out the following websites:

                http://www.villagearts.org/index.htm

http://www.barefootartists.org/index.html

  • Eberle, Harold R. Developing a Prosperous Soul, v.1. Winepress Publishing. Yakima: 1997.
  • All scripture references are from The Oxford Study Bible: Revised English Bible with the Apocrypha.   
  • All pictures are from barefootartists.org.

Peter L Richardson
Spring 1999, revised Winter 2009