The Finding God in Culture series courses offer a guide for spiritual development with cultural artifacts. These courses include prayer practices, reflection questions, historical background, and related scripture.
In Finding God in Culture - Pop Music I, we will focus on music written within the last 60 years by artists who have chosen to engage with a wider popular audience (outside of any specific Church or denomination). The musicians and songs in this unit were selected because they intentionally express some kind of prophetic witness and expression of what faith might be about. Includes a diversity of musical styles.
About the instructor:
Originally from New Jersey, Wendi Bernau
earned a Bachelor of Arts from Tufts University, a Master of Music (in Orchestral Conducting) from the University of Tennessee Knoxville, and a Master of Divinity from Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth TX, and a Doctor of Ministry (in Art & Theology) from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington DC. She has served as the associate conductor of the Oak Ridge Symphony, director of the instrumental music program at Manley Baptist Church, brass faculty at the Community School of the Arts, music director of First United Methodist Church of Glen Rose, and associate pastor at White’s Chapel United Methodist Church, and is now a spiritual director, coach, artist and retreat facilitator for the Missional Wisdom Foundation. Wendi has taught undergraduate classes in music theory and ear training and music appreciation, has been a featured trombone soloist and is an award-winning artist and sought-after speaker and performer. With formal training in visual arts, music, theater, literature, theology, spiritual direction and coaching, Wendi continues to develop exciting, innovative events in Arts and spirituality. With Missional Wisdom Foundation, Wendi develops curriculum, teaches classes and facilitates workshops, retreats and worship services, both online and on location. Wendi’s classes are appropriate for ecumenical and diverse groups:
“Sometimes I think we tend to view our spirituality as something external - we talk at God instead of listening for God; we have all our answers and God in a neat little box - but my goal in any of my classes or workshops is to look for other possibilities and perspectives. For me, success is when people come out of our time saying ‘I’ve never thought about it that way before’ or ‘I’ll never see that (whatever it is) in the same way again.’ My ministry is designed to offer people innovative ways to practice their faith that are consistent with our Christian tradition and I think the Arts are extremely valuable for that purpose: painting, music, dance, literature, photography, cinema, theater - all of them! Listening for God is challenging for us today because it doesn’t seem productive; it seems wasteful, of time, resources, energy, or people think they aren’t creative; but this is false. In any of the programs I facilitate, an end product is never the focus; the important part is the process - both as an artist and as an observer/participant. Are we listening to hear God speak? Reflection is the key to this: without reflection, it isn’t prayer, it’s just art. Intentional spiritual experiences in the Arts are very personal, and like most valuable experiences, when we can release the desire to control the outcome and hope to be surprised, amazing things can happen.”