Living at the convergence of faith and art.

Posts tagged “Truth

All Ways Growing in Freedom

 

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David Zawila / unsplash

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 4:11

 

I was reading from Galatians this morning and while I do grasp what Paul is on about, Father’s Spirit struck me with a contemporary parallel. In the second half of Galatians, Paul is dealing with those who preach a need for physical circumcision, a return to the burdensome slavery of the law. He’s working to separate the Jewish past of Mosaic Law from the Christian future of the new covenant in Christ. You ought to read it. You might find it interesting on its own merits.

What filled my heart is the powerful movement and need to move away from the spirit of mere religion and out into the liberation that Christ bought for all who believe in Him. Christ bought that liberty with His broken body and His shed blood – blood-bought as Joyce Meyers likes to put it.

I am so in love with Father God and am so deeply grateful for His restoration of relationship with Him through Christ. Words fail to fully express my gratitude and joy at this liberation and new relationship in which I now dwell.

The “yoke of slavery” which Paul speaks of is a yoke of law, of works, of burdensome ritual now rendered obsolete and moot in our lives as believers. I find, in the community I dwell in, that all of us still retain vestiges of the habitual influence of the spirit of religion. Having left that old world behind and been made new in Christ through relationship, not religion, I find that I still fall into very subtle habits of thought and action which reflect my own toxic past.

Some of my transformation that Father has lead me through has been hard won. It didn’t come about easily, nor in a flash. I confess that I had pains of the soul and spirit which had become very comfortable. They hurt, but I was both comfortable and familiar with them. Some of them were very difficult to release into Jesus’ hands.

My Beloved Father, by washing me in His love 24/7, shows me something different. He promises me something far better if I will but choose His gift over that with which I am familiar. It’s what my son, Levi, calls the genuine article versus the Liar’s fake. In this, Beloved Father has proved, time and again, that He is indeed faithful. He has proved His ongoing, undying, forever and ever love for me. When I release to Him something I no longer want, I receive a gift of immeasurable worth. That which He has for me does far more than merely replace what I’ve given up. Father’s gifts are many times greater, in every way, than what little toxic filth I’ve given up. Over time, it has become easier to recognize and release more and more vestiges of my old self, my old dead self.

As Father and I spend time together, situations and circumstances reveal old, tiny, bits and pieces of my old dead self and we deal with them. This process is somewhat like wounded soldiers who return from battle and are filled with shards of shrapnel. Over time their bodies push the fragments to the surface where they are washed away in the shower, or simply fall off. My vestiges are being brought to the surface, not by mental revelation, but by experiential relationship with my Father. And with a little minor surgery of His Divine Love, they’re removed one by one. My shrapnel is replaced with more and more of Him and I love Him for it – Amen.

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Guest Post: Back it up With Scripture!

Faith Rockrimmon is an author (Rose Rock Book Link, Rejection & Identity I, II), a blogger, and someone who generously shares the insights that Father God gives her.  When I read this blog post I saw so much of my own journey, that I asked Faith if she’d mind if I re-posted it to Creative Harmonies.  She graciously agreed, and here’s that gift.  I hope that you’re spiritually nourished, as I was.  Enjoy.

BACK IT UP WITH SCRIPTURE!

 

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How many times have I been asked, “can you back it up with scripture?”  And then I have to explain that I don’t require that from Father.  Whoa, that annoys them!

I’m completely aware that it’s been done this way for a hundred years, but like so many other traditions, Father eventually tips them over.  And then I stand in fear and amazement at what He’s done.

Some years ago, when Father showed me a new insight or revelation, I’d put my hand up and stop Him from going too far.  Looking back I think it was a horrible response.  But, He didn’t seem offended. He waited patiently while I scoured scriptures and commentaries for confirmation.  Only then could I embrace His gift and experience the thrill of receiving it.

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It was quite a time-consuming process that delayed my joy.  And eventually, it occurred to me that I could pick and chose scripture “at will” to fit any slant of any subject.  It was a game.  Like a puzzle.  And I was the mastermind.  Somehow that didn’t taste very sweet, but that was how it was done.  It was the accepted process.

Then came revelations that opposed accepted theology.  And I couldn’t find anything to back them up.  It would appear that I was creating my own version of Christianity, which was not my heart.  37 thousand denominations were quite more than enough for everyone.   So immediately I suffered a crisis of faith, wondering if I had been duped by satan all along thinking it was God’s voice I was hearing.

Oh, the heartbreak and tears as I begged Him to save me from this horrible pit.  For days, my heart churned.  I’d trusted Him.  And now this.

Now I wondered.  I doubted.  Who was I talking to and would Father save me?  Slowly I asked questions full of suspicion and mistrust.

But He still wasn’t offended, and He quickly responded with information.  It explained why my revelation wasn’t common knowledge.  And as this happened time after time, a pattern developed.   It was usually fairly simple.

Sometimes a translation wasn’t accurate.  Sometimes the context wasn’t considered.  And sometimes, the history of society wasn’t understood.   Behaviors of a period change the meaning.  Words and phrases change quickly.  Our own society has new words and phrases that were unknown 50 years ago.  All these factors change things.  Scripture isn’t simply black and white.

Here are a few examples.  “When pigs fly.”  “That’ll cost an arm and a leg.”  “You let the cat out of the bag.”  “Break a leg.”  Or “That’s a piece of cake.”  We know what they mean but imagine someone from 600 B.C. reading one of them.   What a wrong concept they would have simply by reading what we wrote in black and white.

“It’s right there in black and white” is the response when I explain how quickly words change.  And Christianity has great tunnel vision in this regard.

Imagine if you “wrote on someone’s wall” even a 100 years ago or “had a troll on my thread”.  A pioneer would think you were crazy!

So imagine my surprise when I discovered that “turning the tables” was an everyday occurrence in the temple.  Merchants turned their tables to the wall to indicated they had closed up shop for the day.

Well now, that puts a whole new twist on Jesus’s actions.  Maybe He didn’t have a temper tantrum after all.

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And imagine my surprise at discovering the everyday phrase for Nero, the emperor, was “The Beast”.  Is it possible John in the book of Revelation, was talking to people who’d know exactly what he meant?  That could totally change our doctrine.

And what if, Father never meant for us to make scripture superior to hearing His voice?  Maybe it was meant for inspiration and guidance, but not in place of God, Himself.

Time after time, the overwhelming evidence of our flawed theology stunned me and I’d sit staring out the window at the mountains.  It was beginning to appear that almost nothing about our doctrines was constructed appropriately.  And this revelation put me at odds with most of my fellow believers.  If I ever opened my mouth, I was going to be explaining myself rather than sharing a revelation.

Then I had an epiphany, after once again asking Father to wait while I researched.  He always said, “Take your time.  I’ll be waiting.”  But suddenly I realized I was stalling my moment of joy.  Not only that, I was slowing down my progress.  And for what?

How quickly might I progress if I stopped putting the brakes on Him every time?  And how important was it for everyone to understand me before I continued?  Did I really need anyone to agree with me at all?

It was certainly a light-bulb moment.  And to top it off, Father had proven Himself to me so many times that I was completely, and absolutely confident He was able to prove everything He said, anytime I needed Him to do so.  He wasn’t able to lie.  And He obviously knows a whole lot more about everything, than I do.

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I stopped worrying about who’s voice I was hearing.  We’d had so many conversations that I recognized His voice now. I had no more doubts about His identity because His most overwhelming trait is that Love that becomes apparent in every one of His conversations.  It is most assuredly the greatest Love ever imaginable and it’s never superficial, or vain, or trite.  Nothing evil can imitate it.  It truly is the ultimate proof of Him.

That moment was like taking the training wheels off a bike and trusting gravity to work the same way every time.  It’s completely freeing, and wild.  I knew it looked dangerous and reckless to those watching me.  So how would I convince them that God was really holding the bike up?

I didn’t know.  So, I continued searching scriptures for confirmation in an effort to convince and assure others.

But it didn’t last long.  It was quickly clear that those were very dingy, controlling reins.  And they don’t work.  No matter how much proof I could gather, there would always be people who wouldn’t buy it.  They would always think bad things and say mean things about me.  Always.

That’s because people do 2 things when presented with an idea contrary to their normal beliefs.  They accept it instantly.  Or they reject it instantly.  Neither of these decisions requires proof.  It is simply a human trait.

One group will dig deeper and the other will be long gone.

Father gave me one more insight.  It isn’t my job to make sure people believe me.  The truth is placed in front of them so they can pursue proof on their own.  That’s what He wants – our undivided attention, reaching for truth.

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So when I share, it’s not to convince anyone or make them follow me. It’s to coax them to come searching on their own.  Father doesn’t need my assistance holding their hand because He didn’t need anyone holding mine.  He used all sorts of people along the way, speaking messages they sometimes weren’t even aware He was using.

Ironically, I thought Father was guiding me toward ordination.  I took courses from 2 bible schools and I smile at the wonderful things I learned.  And I chuckle at the things Father proved wrong in the process.  Eventually, I understood He wasn’t heading me toward formal theological education.  And for a minute I was heartbroken.  But He said, “I want to teach you, myself.”  And I couldn’t resist.  It’s like the most intimate invitation from the best teacher in the universe.  How special could I possibly feel?

I loved the first time He gave me a message through an atheist lady.  She had just finished telling me why God didn’t exist and her very next sentence was the answer to a question I had asked Him earlier.  It didn’t fit into her conversation and I’m not sure she was aware that she’d said it.  Had Father just abused her free will?  Actually, I think He had only abused that ugly spirit that was riding on her.

Anyway, I’ve seen Him lead a woman all her life, who’s never stepped inside a church.  And I’ve seen Him speak through someone who didn’t believe in Him.  He doesn’t need my help to fix others.  He simply wants me to share my stories and revelations.  He’ll take it from there.

“Study to show thyself approved” isn’t instructing us to memorize scripture and argue effectively with each other.  It’s a compliment to “Seek and ye will find” because there are billions of “pearls of great price” worthy of attaining.  They are all inside His presence.

music“My sheep know My voice, and a stranger they do not hear.”

So how does it happen that someone hears Father say something and another person hears something different?  That’s pretty simple.  It’s maturity and intimacy.  A 5-year-old child doesn’t get the same answer from their Dad that a 15-year-old gets.  That doesn’t mean the 5-year-old’s answer was a lie.  It was appropriate.

A stranger doesn’t get the same answer from a man that his wife will get.  That’s because his wife is not only intimate with him, but she has a history with him and knows things about him that the stranger couldn’t know.  Father wants that kind of intimacy with us, where He can share His heart and we’ll understand what He means simply because we know Him so well.

It’s how a relationship works.  And it’s so much better than scraping together a bunch of scriptures to prove what I just saw.  Father is still the greatest teacher of the Universe and He always will be.

Thank you for sharing my journey and I send blessings with you on yours.

Faith


Truth Through a Lens

  lifethroughalens This evening, I watched a film (80 mins) on photographer Annie Liebovitz, Life Through a Lens. It’s aptly titled because following her early career to today, it’s an historic walk through the 1970’s, 80’s, 90’s, and now. We revisited San Francisco and the sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll era. We wandered through several decades of Rolling Stone magazine, read by anyone wanting social and cultural change. We moved on to her current work with magazines, Vogue, and Vanity Fair. It was 40-years of American, New York cultural history and influence.

What struck me most was how so many up and comers find their creative expression in such destructive lifestyles. She talked about her incredibly close friendship with the late Susan Sontag, singer & visual artist Patti Smith, and her engaging work in the lives of a vast array of celebrities. This film is a whirl wind tour of the back half of the twentieth century all seen in the tumultuous context that is artistic New York.

This morning Manuel Luz, singer/songwriter and author wrote a wonderful post. In Science, Hendrix, Banned Books & Brokeness he spoke of how truth is so often found even in the midst of lives of death and destruction.

Angst is real. It’s a part of what is true. So if you’re wanting music or any art form that is true, you go for truth, regardless of where it comes from. I think Jimi Hendrix was doing something that was actually really true. Now he was coming from a sense of brokenness, and I feel bad for that because he never was able to reconcile that. My faith is what has helped me to reconcile…”

So many Christians in this season – and it’s becoming less so, praise God – keep ugliness and unpleasantness at arms length simply because it is unpleasant and ugly. They’re not really looking for God’s Truth, but merely a quiet, pleasant life. When it comes to their kids being seduced by pop culture, or secular humanism, their tendency is to wall themselves off with their families lest they be contaminated. In this way, these Christians are operating from a posture of fear and are allowing themselves to be neutralized by their enemy, the Liar. To them God isn’t very powerful, and evil must be battled even here in the physical / material realm. Folly this.

This is perhaps the main reason the institutional church fights to manage artists who are Christian; much Truth is found amid ugliness and unpleasantness. If the artists are forced to seek Truth in stringently clean, fully Christianized contexts, well then, it will be not only beautiful, but pleasant. However it will contain absolutely no Truth.

Because artists are open, brave, and receptive to the world around them, their lives are often lived as loose cannon, rolling around the deck of life and doing “damage”. Christians who wall-off and shelter themselves from unpleasantness and ugliness seek peace and order, something that life has very little of, and in so doing endeavor to present a Theology of Aesthetics. In effect these wall builders seek to dictate and control expressions of beauty and the arts. Therein lies much of the basis of the centuries old friction between the institutional church and artists.

This is why I am creative outside of the church, and in The Church (Body of Christ). I do not allow any institution to dictate to me what I will or will not produce as art. If the creative person is censured, there is little or no Truth in the work, just Christian propaganda; yet another reason why 1-million Christians are leaving the institutional church every year and seeking God in person – directly and relationally.

And all of this was triggered and unpacked just by a documentary film on the greatest cultural photographer of our times.    Amen ~