Here's the conclusion of my interview with Judith Couchman. She has published more than 40 books, compilations, and Bible studies. Her books cover topics as diverse as art history, discovering your purpose, thriving in difficult times, shaping the soul, body image, flower gardening, and breadmaking. But whatever the topic, Judith leads readers to consider their own spiritual growth and formation in everyday life. In addition to her publishing career, Judith now teaches ancient, early Christian, Byzantine, and medieval art history courses as a part-time instructor for the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
Judith has worked as a full-time freelance writer, speaker, and writing coach for 15 years. During this time she created the Write the Vision Retreats, intensive weekend gatherings for female writers, and the Designing a Woman’s Life Seminar, a one- to two-day workshop to help women find their purpose and passion in life. She’s also spoken to professional and women’s groups around the country, and has served as a magazine teacher and consultant to nonprofit organizations overseas. In recent years she’s donated consulting time to Eastern European editors of Christian publications.
Before working as an author, Judith founded and served as editor-in-chief of Clarity, a national magazine for women. She’s held jobs as an editor, journalism teacher, communications director, and public relations practitioner. She’s also received national awards for her work in each of these positions, and for her books. Check out her website and blogs:
LeAnne: What three things do you want your students to know when they leave your classroom?
Judith: First, because I teach online classes, I want students to know how to research and study on their own. These skills will serve them for a lifetime. Second, art is an expression of its culture and time period, so we need to understand the culture and era in which artists created it. Third, one era of art isn't "superior" to another. When we understand the context, we can appreciate its contribution to the world.
LeAnne: You're a speaker, too. Your seminar, "The Mystery of the Cross", based on your book by the same title, sounds intriguing. You talk about how early Christians honored the message and image of the cross in their art, worship, and lives. Can you tell me more about that?
Judith: I'll first say that I develop seminars based on some of my books. So currently I have about six seminars I offer to churches and organizations. The Mystery of the Cross seminar helps people understand the work of the Cross, how it transforms them, and influences their everyday lives. I use images and sensory experiences to enhance their understanding.
LeAnne: Is there anything you'd like to add about the topic of Christians and the arts?
Judith: Be yourself. Be true to your creative calling. Take in wisdom, but in the end, don't run your creative life based on what other people think. Pursue your passion. Listen to your soul. Your work will be authentic and meaningful, for you and your audience.