Category Archives: The Art of Worship

“STJ 86: Taste and Bee” – Process & Theology

This art piece – STJ 86: Taste and Bee – thinks through Anglican, Sarah Coakley’s, articulation of desire in a Mennonite context. Here are a few slightly edited excerpts of an essay I wrote for professor Jeremy Bergen this year at Grebel Uni.:

STJ 86 Taste and Bee

“STJ 86: Taste and Bee” by Lisa Obirek, December 2015

5 reduction linocut on stonehenge paper with added media: water soluble oil, paint pens, raw bees wax, nail polish, gold leaf

This piece is called a “print” and fits within the broader artistic medium of “printmaking.” The more specific term for this particular print is called a five-reduction linocut. This means I use a traditional piece of rubbery linoleum which is essentially just heated up linseed oil and I carve designs into the same block of linoleum in five different stages.  I use carving tools that are similar to traditional wood carving tools on a smaller scale. These carving tools have different ends, or “bits,” that make their own distinct cuts into the linoleum. Continue reading “STJ 86: Taste and Bee” – Process & Theology

A good prayer

I have found that virtually every time I am involved in some sort of worship setting I am drawn to one of the prayers in Sing the Story. As the title of the post says, it’s a good prayer. Given that I’m not able to use it nearly as often as I’d like to, I thought I’d post it here.

Christ, whose insistent call

disturbs our settled lives:

give us discernment to hear your word,

grace to relinquish our tasks,

and courage to follow empty-handed

wherever you may lead;

that the voice of your gospel

may reach to the ends of the earth


What is a prayer of invocation?

In many churches the prayer of invocation begins the worship service. We begin worship by asking God to be with us. It makes sense.

In the past few weeks, I have encountered my first argument against the prayer of invocation: God is already here among us, so why are we implying otherwise with a prayer of invocation? Much better suited to beginning worship, the argument concludes, would be to begin worship with a prayer of acknowledgement.

This argument/practice also makes sense. Indeed, I think it is appropriate to begin a worship service with a prayer that acknowledges God’s faithful presence. However, this leaves me wondering about the prayer of invocation. Before we agree to scrap it, I think it is worth taking a closer look at it. After all, people of the covenant, old and new, have often called out for God to be present. What positive things are going on when we do so? What do we risk losing if we stop? Continue reading What is a prayer of invocation?

Robert Pogue Harrison on Epicureanism, Stoicism, and Christianity

In a recent conversation I referenced a passage from Robert Pogue Harrison’s Dominion of the Dead, one of the most insightful books I have ever read. The passage contrasts Stoic and Christian ethics, claiming that Stoic ethics roots itself in a dispassionate alignment with the impassive logic of the earth, while Christian ethics roots itself in a celebration of the promises and delights that that the earth offers to us. Continue reading Robert Pogue Harrison on Epicureanism, Stoicism, and Christianity