Living at the convergence of faith and art.

Posts tagged “mere religion

Floating But Safe

tiffany-ceiling-smlI am floating and feeling somewhat disconnected. I am not lost. The floating is perhaps a number of things. I know that part of it is Father’s liberation from the strict laws & rules of theologist / institutional religion. That kind of floating is awesome and wondrous. I love that. I also know that some of the floating is Father’s liberation of my art. That too is free of the legalism & marketing forces of the gallery / museum / so-called art-world system. Father God has liberated both sides of my destiny, those of my faith, and of my art.

I sense that this disconnection I feel, this floating, is also a huge time of opportunity for me. Father has lead me to believe that stuff like loss, dislocation, change, adversity, etc., are in fact opportunities. They are difficult, maybe painful openings in life which allow for something new to be planted.

We plough the Earth, literally rip it open, in order to prepare it for new seed. I’ve come to grasp that my life is sometimes ripped open by situations and circumstance of loss, change, or adversity, and yet, even as I grieve in those times, I know that I’ve been ploughed open so that my loving Father God can plant new seeds of opportunity in me.

So often I’ve found myself tight fisted against these painful events and forces. In my youth tumult was a daily visitor and I wanted no more of it. But in my new life of relational faith, I’ve found at first a comfort, and now a joyful desire for the new seeds Father wants to bless me with. I’m not afraid anymore. When the plough of change comes roaring through, I now reel far less in the pain of adversity, loss, and change. Yes, it still hurts, I still grieve, but no where’s near as much as it used to. I think that’s because I know a new planting of opportunity is coming, and Father is making preparation(s) for it. I embrace my Father God and His plans for me and my destiny. I want them because in them I become more of who and what He has designed me to become, and in this way I bring Him glory, my life brings Him glory.

For me, feeling a sense of floating and disconnection is far less about the absence of safe ground beneath my feet. It has become more of a life-posture of being available to being drawn by Father into whatever He has written into my destiny. I need to say that a destiny is not a carved in stone mandatory program. We are not biological robots that Father plays around with. That’s Greco-Roman pantheon thinking. No, we are masters of our own lives because while Father has written a destiny for each of us, we are entirely free to go our own way. We have freewill, and that’s another subject for another time (see the teachings of Steve Harmon).

I willingly take up this posture of availability to Father’s will and ways, of desiring with all my heart to step into my identity and destiny. I willingly embrace the plough of adversity, of change, of loss, and of grief because my joy is in my Father God. He has plans for me, plans to prosper me and not to hurt me (Jeremiah 29:11-13). My Father loves me and I can trust Him to surgically alter my life, just as we see in the Chronicles of Narnia, when Aslan cuts Eustice from his dragon self, setting him free.

I love feeling as if I’m floating with the only certainty being my relationship with and in my Father God. I am safe. I am blessed. I am lavishly cherished, as Graham Cooke might say. I am being brought into infinite prosperity. I am led to lay up all of my treasures in Father’s Heaven where they’re available forever (Matthew 6:19-21). My sense of feeling as if my life is floating is grounded in my complete trust in Father, in His infinite, divine, and lavish love for me, and in my relational faith with Him.

The grieving of change and of adversity are all opportunities just waiting to be planted in my ploughed up life where, under the care of my Father God, they will blossom and bear fruit of unknown consequence forever and ever.

Amen ~

Advertisements

FAITH Driven / Not CHRISTIAN Artist

Snow at Wildi HouseIt’s a discussion (I don’t waste my time in debate or argument) that’s literally as old as the hills.  When we live as Disciples of Christ, what does that really look like?  In my art-making, I’m searching for and realizing that context whenever I work to make meaning – art.

FAITH is what powers my art-making.  FAITH is what I need to choose a color, blindly create a texture, or sketch an image that’s a mere blur in my mind when I’m awakened in the middle of the night with an “idea”.  FAITH drives the confidence engine I need to keep making art even when I’m experiencing a lag in self-confidence.  FAITH in God’s design of me and my life; in His divine plan for the good work He has begun in me and which He will see to completion.  FAITH propels me forward even when I see no way to move.  FAITH says that my art is from God for this world.  FAITH says, “I need you to create, to communicate My messages to people who need to “listen”.  FAITH says not to worry about whether it will “work”, but to simply do my very best.

Here’s an awesome “poem” that clearly speaks to this tough-love truth.  May I suggest you REPLAY this piece several times.  Every word in this poem speaks volumes of truth to us all.

Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus | YouTube | Jeff Bethke/bball1989

MERE RELIGION is nothing more than dried up, over-regulated, rituals and rules which have absolutely no meaning.  MERE RELIGION actually keeps us from God; it gets in the way.  MERE RELIGION is what Jesus railed against simply because it stood between God and His people. MERE RELIGION is a dead lifestyle of dead works. MERE RELIGION is dead, closed, and restrictive.  MERE RELIGION is precisely what Martin Luther questioned when he nailed his 95 Theses on the front door of the church.

FAITH however is a living, life-giving, breathing, life-changing relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ.  FAITH is taking risks, making mistakes, and believing in what cannot be seen.  FAITH is alive.  FAITH is as tough as our willingness to submit to God the Father and follow Him wherever, whenever.  FAITH is open, organic, relational, living, dynamic, and powerful.

CHOICE is within everyone’s grasp because Christ’s death & resurrection makes that possible.  I choose FAITH over MERE RELIGION any day.  My life, my art, my marriage are all driven by, nourished by and nurtured by my walk in FAITH.

YOUR TURN;

What does FAITH-driven art-making look like for you?  How does your FAITH in God, through Christ, empower, nurture, nourish, and make works of meaning?