This year Ready for the Road Ahead is taking on a new direction. It is one that follows the grand theme of sight in all aspects which runs throughout Scripture. My weekly writings will be excerpts from a book of the same name which should be published (Lord willing) later this year.
Our granddaughter Leigh was known as a “rule-bender” in her early days. She’s always been very competitive and like most children she didn’t like losing. So if there was even the slightest hint that she might lose whatever game she was playing, she’d change the rules midstream to give herself the advantage. I’m not sure why people in general have a tough time sticking to the rules and constantly try to bend them. Maybe we have difficulties with rules because of a selfish nature or the impression that the world revolves around what we want, what we think, and how we think life should always go the way we’ve planned it. The current climate of our culture certainly feeds that point of view. Although I think this aversion to rules goes much deeper. I think it goes all the way back to the Fall. At some point in that pristine garden Adam and Eve, much like Leigh, decided they didn’t like God’s rule so that when the Serpent suggested an alternative “rule”, they exercised their will and broke the God-given one. The boundaries set by rules are not limited to life. In life they work as a guide for successful living- both physically and mentally. In art they work to give a picture a sense of balance and produce a thoughtful experience.
The most well-known of these “rules” is The Rule of Thirds. This compositional standard applies to every visual format; not just photography. The Rule of Thirds evenly divides your picture into nine squares by overlaying an imaginary grid of two horizontal and two vertical lines on the picture plane. According to the rule placing your subject at any one of the four spots where the lines intersect will have more visual appeal to your viewer than if you placed your subject in the center of one of the squares produced by the lines of the grid. Some of the most innovative and creative photographers follow compositional rules like the Rule of Thirds but their skill makes this basic rule virtually unnoticeable. Instead of stifling the creative process compositional rules support your creativity. They enhance creativity rather than hinder it much like “life rules” protect rather than restrict the ability to live life to its fullest.
I have the pleasure of belonging to two photographic communities- my local photo club and an on-line site (365project.org) which has participants from all over the world. The idea of this site is to post a picture each day- a photographic diary of your life. It always seems that when someone decides to “break the rules” on 365 they are compelled to apologize for this decision whereupon another photographer will offer these encouraging words to release them of their “guilt”, “Don’t worry! It’s your project; your rules! Do what works best for you.” That may work for The 365 Project, but it doesn’t work with God. God’s rules, as presented in Leviticus and Deuteronomy are fixed and everlasting, but that doesn’t mean they cannot be adapted to life. The pithy sayings of Proverbs help to demonstrate a number of ways the laws listed in Leviticus and Deuteronomy can be applied to life. Through short and direct wording they sum up a truth based on experience and observation. The main thrust of these witty sayings is for the hearer to acquire wisdom. According to the Bible, wisdom is the necessary skill that one must have in order to live a godly life and to make godly choices (Prov. 2:1-6). Proverbs are an effective teaching tool just like the Rule of Thirds is a great asset to a picture. Even Jesus used them (Mt. 2:27; 6:21; 7:13).
I have discovered that I am much better at following a plan or routine when I want to accomplish a goal and I’m better off making a list of what I need to accomplish if I want to get anything completed around my home. I think I like the “black and white” aspect of those self-imposed rules. But there are days when I have to adjust my routine or alter my list because “life” is not always on the same schedule as I am! I have to make decisions based on what is feasible and what is necessary so that I’m pleased with the way things turned out at the end of the day. This is true in the artistic sense as well just as it is with faith. Deciding the right placement of my subject is like deciding what will be most God-honoring in the way I live. Just as the rules of composition enhance the beauty of a picture, making wise decisions in favor of God’s rules enhances rather than inhibits life (1 Cor. 10:31; Col. 3:17). Proverbs illustrates that my best decisions will always favor on the side of the “rules”. Photographically speaking, Proverbs is the way your life picture looks with the Rule of Thirds in action (Prov. 2:1-22).
Ann H. LeFevre, M. Div.
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