Archive | April 2016

An Earth Day Tribute To The Creator

I was born here in the Great Lakes Region, and am most grateful for this blessed location! It is and always will be part of the fabric from which I’m spun.

I spent my early morning in a nearby park. I didn’t even remember that it’s Earth Day. All I wanted was to get away from the house for awhile. Sometimes it’s these little inspirations which bless us the most of we simply say yes to them.

The river in that spot was beautiful and serene this morning. Geese were strutting about, flying overhead, swimming around and honking heartily to one another. There was other wildlife too, mostly squirrels who provide their own form of simple entertainment – the best money can’t buy!

It was rather warm at first, but then I noticed tendrils of fog dancing down the river. They looked like tall angels. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like that before, even though I’ve spent a lot of time in my life by the water’s edge, either by one of the Great Lakes or their many rivers. It was eerily incredibly beautiful, breath taking even, and soon the whole river and the park were enveloped in a heavy cool white mist.

Two fishermen patiently drifted through it, as an occasional “big one that got away” leaped into the air, just out of range of their fishing lines. It had a comic element to it, as if they were teasing their persistent “stalkers” in their little bobbing craft.

By some standards this would be regarded as a boring morning, but it’s in moments like this that I’m reminded why I still live in and love the Great Lakes Region.

There’s nowhere else on Earth I’d rather be.

Mid Week Rant

Curious. One gets the strong impression these days that one is criminalized, called self righteous, or otherwise demonized – even by other Christians – because one does not use foul language, drink alcohol, smoke, do drugs, sleep around, embrace or condone an anything goes lifestyle, have a life driven by one dark drama after another, etc. It’s a world where it is socially and politically incorrect to say, “I love Jesus” out loud! Who cares?

Just because someone actually lives within divinely powerful freedom from these things (and more) – the freedom wherewith Christ has set us free – does not necessarily make that person a hypocrite, judgmental, or a hater.

Sure, there are those people who are outwardly pious, Bible toting, Bible thumping, rotten to the core within, and hiding behind a religious veneer. I get that. They need to be saved too!

However, in any number of cases, some of us actually have been delivered from the dark side and one or more of these behaviors by a powerful experience of the Lord Jesus Christ, having crossed over from the kingdom of darkness into His kingdom of light by a powerful intervention of the Holy Spirit. This major deliverance brings such a sense of joy and liberation that we want only to follow Jesus in committed and consistent discipleship all our days. There is no longer any desire or inclination to participate again in the unfruitful works of darkness.

Yes, I get it the He was one to “hang out” with sinners, but it was with a view to revealing to them the reality of the Kingdom of Heaven, that they no longer have to live under the power of darkness, and that they could be set free. He wasn’t hanging around them just to go to a trendy event among the outcasts and infamous. And He wasn’t hanging for them on the cross, just so they / we could remain in sin and talk the antinomian pseudo gospel that stops at mental belief with no life changes.

After all, “being saved” is a real event in a life, not just a belief. It’s where a “believer” becomes a “receiver” of the powerful life transforming Love of God in Christ Jesus!  He also sends the Holy Spirit to be with us and within us to see the job through for the rest of our life – our complete transformation. “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” (John 14:15-17)

It’s an old fashioned message that He came to call sinners to repentance, yet one that may be getting lost, not only because of the subtle or not so subtle deceptions of New Age infiltration into the churches, but by a watered down Gospel that does not take into account the power of the Holy Spirit, and thus does not present a complete picture of salvation.

We also hear from so many people who are crying out, “Don’t judge us!” But it seems to be the outcry from the camp of individuals who are already judged as they manifest a life still lost and clearly outside the power of the Living God. This is reminiscent of the demons crying out in Jesus powerful presence, echoing Matthew 8:29 – “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”

So, we’re being judged for the good that God has wrought in us and accused of self righteousness, and because the Holy Spirit is within us, we hear the almost continual droning, “Please don’t judge us!”, when we’re not doing that either!

Where’s that coming from? How do you spell “accuser”?! Go figure.

Let’s try to keep our heads above this flood of accusations! After all, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

May we overcome the accuser (and his mouthpieces)  by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of our testimony; and by not loving our lives unto the death.  (Revelation 12:11)

Engraved Invitations

Spring is one of those special times of year when invitations are sent out, often for celebrations which are life changing or rites of passage from one phase of life to another – confirmations, graduations, weddings and the like.

As the old greeting card ad used to put it, it is a time of year “when you care enough to send the very best.” That often means taking great pains to have special invitations made to invite guests to these events… gilt edged, beautifully crafted, engraved invitations.

God also cares enough to send the very best, His handiwork in Christ. We are the living invitations God sends out into the world to invite people to His Gospel Feast. These are special invitations, bearing His image and His seal. All the invitations have been engraved.

So, perhaps it is time to consider spiritually what it looks like for Christians to be “en-graved” invitations. This is not going to be a lengthy offering, but simply the provision of a few bullet point Scripture passages to get us pondering this truth in our hearts…

Galatians 5:24 – My flesh is crucified in Christ.

Galatians 2:20 – I have been crucified with Christ. Now He lives in me.

Galatians 6:14 – The world is crucified to me and I to the world.

Romans 6:6 – My old self is crucified, and the body of sin is done away with. I am no longer a slave to sin.

Romans 6:4 – I am buried with Jesus through baptism into His death. (Truly, I have been en-graved!)

Romans 6:5 – I am united with Him in the likeness of His resurrection.

2 Corinthians 4:10 – The death and resurrected life of Christ Jesus is carried about in my body now.

Philippians 3:10 – I have been made one with the suffering, death, and the power of the resurrection of Christ Jesus.

Colossians 3:1-3 – I have already been raised up with / in Christ; therefore, in the power of His Holy Spirit, I keep seeking what is above.

Colossians 3:10 – By the power of the Holy Spirit, I put on my new self in Him.

Ephesians 2:6 – God has already seated me with / in Jesus in heavenly places!

These bullet points are some of the most powerful, faith building statements of our truth in Christ that I can think of. They provide a God’s Eye View of His people whom He has created anew in the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ – the living invitations He sends out into life to seek those He loves who need to find their way home to the feast.

I chose to briefly affirm them in the first person, since this brings it home for me as a reminder of what I’m supposed to look like as an “engraved” invitation. In this I keep on asking, seeking, and knocking according to the Father’s will. I am His workmanship, His invitation, to the Gospel Feast, the banquet of the Lamb Who takes away the sin of the world.

Certainly these passages are worth contemplating in their context and in the quiet of our hearts, as we receive, rejoice in, and give thanks for the truth of our reality in our Lord Jesus Christ.

PODs

This rather wordy entry is something of a segue into a less wordy phase of life for me – where it will be my intention to communicate more by color and light than with words. This may not be an easy line of thought to follow, but it is my hope to communicate something of how new forms of art can be a form of mystical, heart to heart communication… See more beneath image.

 

Nothing Mundane On Munday.png

Each day I become more convinced that “in the beginning” our Creator Father never originally intended for us to live within the confines of walls. Even if they are walls of words and definitions. These “word walls” could be called PODs – PRISONS OF DEFINITIONS.

Here are a few acronyms for POD, and there’s a mixture here for good reason: place of delight, place of deception, prison of delight, prison of deception, prince of darkness, prince of delusion, price of delight, price of delusion… Perhaps there is no end to this list. Undoubtedly, dear reader, you could come up with countless more that fit the context of this writing.

Additionally when in the POD, we are POWs – prisoners of words, prisoners of (spiritual cosmic) war! Prisoners of words, one might say, are under a “spell”.

In a sense, due to our fallenness, this life is somewhat of a “life sentence” for eternal beings. At some point, however, we hopefully wake up and realize that we no longer have to accept life in the POD as POWs.When this happens, it’s the end of the game for the Poor Old Dragon whose head was crushed and who was stripped of his authority at Golgotha.

As an artist, this leads me on to an interesting phase and into a more dynamic return to, interestingly, abstract art, which (as I perceive it) communicates the Unlimited to the unlimited by the unlimited, as the POD is left behind.

Words limit with their definitions, their attempts to communicate what cannot be expressed – especially when there are attempts by those still in the PODs to define spiritual reality or experiences of God’s Grace which they have not had themselves. There is the tendency to demonize what cannot be understood. Some examples of demonization are contemplative Christian, Christian meditation, Christian mysticism, inner Christianity, or even spiritual Christianity. There is an attempt on the part of some to put souls back into the PODs of condemnation and demonization because of a heavy indoctrination of fear.

But the upshot is provided by a parable from Nature herself: Pods in the natural realm hold ungerminated seeds. For the lover of God, the POD (Place of Delight in His presence) becomes the Portal of Destiny! That which is not intended to remain, but to become what the original divine intent IS, must come to its Point of Deliverance from the Place of Darkness, enigmatically holding the inevitable seed of Light awaiting its bursting forth!

Just describing this begins to unfold why words don’t really cut it! So my excursion here is intended to encourage the quest of using art to communicate deeper spiritual reality.

The Inside Scoop: So, Why The Focus On “PODs”?

Experiencing a profound sense of frustration of late, I took a turn off the beaten path awhile to another creative “place” – a little excursion into making more realistic art and abandoning a fascination with abstract and digital forms. What this left me with was a profound sense of dissatisfaction, for while it was on one hand good to know that I could still skillfully come up with realism, on the other there was the realization (for me) that making “real” art is more like imitating, mimicking, or reproducing an image of something which is already created. For me it wasn’t anything deeper than that. It was not satisfying. It was not fun, and it made me really tense!

Maybe this is why I love Van Gogh and the Impressionists – they interpreted rather than tried to copy what they saw. It was a bridge between the classical art world and that of full blown abstraction.

I realized that, while making “real” art is a nice place to visit, I don’t care to live there. My realization about creating abstractly is that it is a non POD kind of communication – it has the potential – at a level that reaches out beyond mental constructs – to take both the artist and the viewer to a communication space outside the limited POD of either, into creative consciousness without limitation.

Now, people very much in the pseudo security of their POD’s limitation often react to abstract art with such expressions as “I can’t wrap my head around that, so I don’t like it.” “I don’t ‘understand’ modern art.” “I don’t get that.” Or even, “I can’t even look at that – it scares me!” (Yes, I did have someone actually tell me that.) There are those who even demonize it, just as they do mystical Christianity.

This is because something that “does not make sense” to the intellect challenges the limitation of the mental POD. That’s why a POD can be at the same time a Place of Delight and a Place of Darkness. Darkness – limited awareness – can be very much challenged by art which to some beholders “does not make sense”. Darkness is comfortable to a baby in the womb. Why do you suppose he screams when it’s time to be born? And there may be a whole lot of screaming when it’s time to be truly reborn!

Abstract art challenges the limitation of the POD; it knocks on that shell and says, “Hey, come out and play! There’s a whole creation out here. How about letting go of that shell of presumptions, limits, and drab colorlessness? how about a breath of fresh air. Once you do, you will never want to go back inside that POD!”

In fact, you will not be able to go back. Innately we know that, and it scares us.

This is why, in my opinion, making abstract art is an adventure into high mysticism (another anti POD word… or is it ante POD bursting?) – the demolition of the belief in scarcity and limitation. Seriously, do we really have any idea what it’s like to be truly unlimited beings?

What’s outside the POD? Color, light, sound, and the raw elements of a new creation, creativity, and unlimitedness! Once you crack through the POD, you realize the “life sentence” is over. And once the POD has served its purpose, it becomes chaff blown away by the Wind, on its way to the Fire, for that which has no life in it was once constricting and limiting and is useless for anything but burning.

Definitions of ourself or others are simply word PODs: political affiliations, religious denominations, roles in life… often create PODs of limitation because in buying into them, we fall under their “spell”.

I am this… I am that.

But the Unlimited Source from Whom we emanated and Whose holy image we bear simply says, “I AM”!

So, what do you think that makes you?

The artist who does not (pardon the pun) “feel drawn” to being a copier of what has already been created may become one who communicates more deeply from the Unlimited to all of us who are spun from the Unlimited!

These are answers I’ve been given as much needed direction at this time in my life – that I ought to be less about words, and instead embrace more the creation of “unlimited” art expression available only through the flow from the innermost being!

If you cannot wrap your head around that, it’s OK. But it may be a little tap on your POD (whatever it is) of limited, intellectual – mental constructs, and rigid definitions and living. It may be an invitation to come and have a little romp (simply defined as playing roughly and energetically, as in the case of children or animals), with what cannot be “articulated” with words.