Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Eid Mubarak

I missed this a couple of weeks ago, but Mezba Mahtab of Teaching Kids the Holy Quran wished his readers a joyous Eid Mubarak, or 'blessed festival', for Eid al Adha. This holiday commemorates the obedience of Abraham who was willing to even sacrifice his son to God (Muslims and Jews/Christians differ on which son was involved). This is also the end of the annual Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca.

This is actually the first time I've seen the Kaaba depicted in LEGO. It seems a pretty obvious build, as its cubic shape fits in with the basic LEGO architecture. The Kaaba is the holiest site in Islam. It is believed to have been built by Abraham and Ishmael. By the sixth century AD, this had become a religious structure revered by many groups, and was filled with idols. When Muhammad came to power in Mecca, he had all of these removed and rededicated the structure to the worship of Allah. Today this building is the focal point of the Hajj, which is one of the five pillars of Islam, and also the point which Muslims face each day during their prayers.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Always winter, never Christmas

"As she stood looking at it, wondering why there was a lamppost in the middle of a wood and wondering what to do next, she heard a pitter patter of feet coming towards her..." SlyOwl's depiction of Lucy and Mr. Tumnus is another MOC offered via Creations for Charity. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is, of course, an examination of the story of Christ's death and resurrection set in a children's fantasy world.

BTW, if there is something you want at Creations for Charity, you should move fast. These are by definition one of a kind items, so if you can't find this or one of the other MOCs I highlighted, it's because someone else already purchased it.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Creations for Charity

All of the world's major religions value charity. Zakat, or alms-giving, is one of the five pillars of Islam; the Hebrew Torah is replete with admonitions to be concerned for orphans and widows; and so forth. At this time of year, we are often especially reminded of the needs around us.

A really cool idea was pioneered last year by Nannan Zhang, a prominent member of the LEGO hobbyist community. He asked a number builders to donate their own MOCs which were sold through Creations for Charity. All of the proceeds went to Toys for Tots, to purchase gifts for needy kids. Last year they raised over $3000, and they've already doubled that this year, with two weeks left to go in the campaign. Some of the creations offered for sale this year include Nativity by Thepaleman9
and the Hallgrímskirkja by Bruno and Tanja Kurth. If you're looking for a way to share a little with some kids who have less than you, and get a great LEGO model in the bargain, check out all of the offerings at Creations for Charity.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Pop-up Kinkaku-ji

I ran across an Italian language blog, Religione 2.0, that has occasional posts on LEGO creations. One of the ones they've featured in the past is an older MOC that I haven't posted here yet, Talpaz's Pop-up Kinkaku-ji. You really have to watch the whole video to believe this. The Temple of the Golden Pavilion is a Zen Buddhist temple built in Kyoto, Japan. The original dates from 1398, but was destroyed 60 years ago and the present building is a reconstruction.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

After Henry VIII separated from the Catholic church, England was torn by religious upheaval. The basic rivalry between Protestant and Catholic was ultimately decided in favor of the former, but the Puritans felt that the Church of England hadn't gone far enough in removing Roman influences. In the late 16th century in in Babworth, Nottinghamshire, pastor Richard Clyfton preached a separatist message. Membership if the Anglican church was mandated by law, and Clyfton's followers faced persecution. Some of them eventually left for the Netherlands, but, unhappy there, they later hired the Mayflower to transport them to the new world. In 1620 they made landfall at Plymouth, Massachusetts (shown here by Bumblejeep44). In 1621 they celebrated their harvest with a feast to give thanks to God. I hope that this year has given you all much to be thankful for and that the year to come will as well. Have a great day!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Day Four

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
-Genesis 1:14-19

Alyska Bailey Peterson, who I previously blogged, has another beautiful stained glass window, Creation: Day Four. This is a LEGO interpretation of a stained glass window at the Sacred Heart Church in Bilton, England. She's planning on continuing on to tell the whole story of creation in stained glass, so I'll be excited to see the rest of this project.

Found via MosicBricks.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

LEGO FanWelt 2010

Germany is my third largest source of readers, and those of you who may be in the region may wish to check out LEGO FanWelt 2010, a gathering of LEGO fans in Cologne. Notable models on display include Holger Matthes' Frauenkirche and Jürgen Bramigk's Kölner Dom.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Daruma doll

Nelson Yrizarry made a LEGO version of a Daruma doll. These round figures, popular in Japan, are stylized representations of Bodhidharma, the founder of Zen Buddhism. They are seen as talismans of luck; the oval shape allows them to right themselves if knocked over (like Weebles), symbolic of bouncing back from life's difficulties.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Nikolaos of Myra

Regardless of what Clement Clarke Moore wrote, Nikolaous of Myra was not a right jolly old elf, but rather a Turkish bishop in the second and third centuries. He was known for his generosity and became the modern symbol of Christmas gift-giving. This LEGO sculpture was on display at Legoworld 2009, a gathering of LEGO builders in Zwolle in the Netherlands.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Built between 1907 and 1910, the Christuskirche, or Christ Church, is a Lutheran congregation in Windhoek, Namibia. Lutheranism is the largest religious grouping in Namibia (50% of the population), going back to its years as a German imperial protectorate. This LEGO rendition was donated by a local toy store as part of the 100 year celebration of the Christuskirche.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sacré Cœur

Built between 1875 and 1914, the Basilique du Sacré Cœur looks out over the city of Paris. A LEGO rendition of this Catholic bassilica looks out over a Paris Toys R Us store.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Yivli Minare Mosque

The Yivli Minare Mosque is one of the oldest Islamic buildings in Antalya, Turkey. Around 1225 a Byzantine church was transformed into a mosque. This building was destroyed the next century, and rebuilt in 1373. Today this building no longer functions as a mosque, but is rather a museum.

This microscale creation was part of a huge collaborative display by European LEGO builders. Conceived by Tobias Reichling and Bruno Kurth, five builders constructed a huge (fifteen square meters) LEGO map of Europe and twenty different people contributed forty-four microscale versions of famous European landmarks.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hail, Mary

A Marian procession is an old tradition that is not practiced today as much as in the past. Mister Zumbi made a LEGO version. Who knew that Batman was Catholic? :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Stained glass

Survivors of Trauma at Saint Silas Church in Belfast is a support center for victims of the sectarian violence there in recent years. Alyska of PottyKittyStudios made a great version of the stained glass window at Saint Silas. This was recently on display at LEGO KidsFest.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Silver Chair

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis are full of Christian symbolism. One of the main themes of the Silver Chair is learning to follow God's leading, even when you are in unfamiliar circumstances. Andrew Becraft illustrates the giant steps encountered by the main characters.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Día de los Muertos

Yesterday was Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. This holiday, celebrated in Mexico and by some Mexican Americans, is derived from the Catholic feasts of All Saints (November 1) and All Souls (November 2), remembering those who died. Celebrants often visit the graves of their family members and bring along food and other remembrances. Pasukaru76 has a humorous take on this, taking out great-great-great-great-grandpa for a coffee.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Read with meaning

Mezba Mahtab has started a new project Teaching Kids the Holy Quran. He's using LEGO to illustrate passages from the Quran. He's planning on a couple of updates a month, so we'll be sure to check back regularly.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Diet of Worms

True story - in my high school European history class, our teacher had one of the students convinced that the diet of worms was a special weight-loss plan for Emperor Charles V. Unfortunately for that student, this was really the assembly where Martin Luther refused to step down from his teachings. Chris Wunz illustrated this in recognition of Reformation Sunday.