Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Simple Complexity of Art

I love art because it is the most simple complex thing I can wrap my mind around. I live and breathe art. I love to create it; I love to see others create it; I love to show it to others. I'm not just talking about paintings on a canvas, while metaphorically speaking, that would do. I am instead talking about the art of life--or in this specific post, the art of life and ministry. You see, ministry has a lot to do with art whether people want to admit that or not. Jesus and the disciples had to minister in creative ways. Do you remember that fancy church word "parable." It's a story and it helped illustrate a concept. It was art and that same art is still as important today as it was then. Here's three reasons why I think so:

1) Art is an act of free will. Since the beginning of time, God has allowed us to make decisions. He has allowed us to choose right or wrong, black or white, naked or clothes, obedience or disobedience. Art is just one way that we truly have the freedom to make all the choices we want. What an awesome display of free will when an artist puts together a sculpture from a bunch of pieces of trash! Some people would say that is crazy, but in the artist's mind, he/she could do whatever he/she wanted to do...because that's what art is all about. In ministry, we have the same great freedom to let go and live free...take risks and see where it takes us.

2) Art is a source of positive release. Most great creations come from the innermost release of our souls. Have you ever had something on your mind and finally just wrote it down to clear your conscience of it? Next thing you know, you see a poem in those words so you write some music and put the lyrics in. Finally, you have a Billboard top song and you are making millions of dollars on one thought? maybe you haven't been there. The great thing is that we have the potential to release that from inside of us! It feels great to get something on paper that was on your mind. That release that we call art is usually more than we could have ever seen. It's the culmination of our thoughts, the cries of our inner soul, and the creativeness given by a creative God that create this thing we call art. The wonderful potpourri of our lives presented in art make it a beautiful thing to create, witness, or support.

3) Art relates to everyone. There are few things on this planet that can boast that statement. The fact that art has the potential to be relevant to everyone is an enormous gift! Imagine all the things you could do with that type of influence. Music is one of the best places to see this statement in its fullness. Everyone likes music. I'm not talking about a specific genre of music...just music. It's amazing what power music can have on an individual. Some people's lives are changed by a song or musician! That's incredible if you ask me. But it's not just music. Art can touch everyone, everyday, everywhere in positive and negative ways. It is often at the root of most controversies. Yet, it can sometimes be at the height of beautiful things. Art is the fuel behind the definition of beauty. It makes life worth living because we all know it's there and makes us feel better, gives us a reason to shout, forces us to think, takes us to happy or sad places, and reflects our personalities.

Art is a passion of mine for these and many reasons. What's your passion? I'll bet art has something to do with it. God bless.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

That freaky cat in the window...

We moved into a new apartment complex in Oswego, IL at the beginning of August. It has been really awesome. When I get home from work or back from an errand, I tend to just glance around at the other apartments. On the end of the building we are in, there is a two bedroom apartment. In this apartment there is a cat...a black one...and it sits in the window...all the time. Now, I don't usually mind cats. I had two growing up and usually didn't have a problem with them. I'm probably more of a cat person than a dog person. However, this cat freaks me out!

Every time I walk past this apartment, he is in the window on the second floor. His black silhouette always catches my eye. Or is he forcing me to look at him? Either way, the cat just sits there and stares. By the time I get a little further down the sidewalk, he moves into the next room so he can look out that window. He/she just sits there. I don't know what's up with this cat, but it's starting to freak me out! I think he might be eating my soul or something. Someone call an exorcist.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Exit Signs

Have you ever stared at an exit sign before? Maybe in class, or on the train ride, or during that boring date...I was at work tonight and staring at an exit sign. I caught myself wondering, what is the point of an exit sign? I mean really. They're pretty and all and are really annoying in the movie theaters just below the big screen, but why do they have to be there?

When I was in elementary, we went to a smoke house for a field trip. The fire department had this trailer home that they would pump fog into and tell you how to get out in case you ever had the same problem in your home. So, I know from my elementary "smoke house experiences" that exit signs are really meant for fires. When you can't find the door through the thick smoke, you're supposed to look for that red or green exit sign and crawl towards it. Or maybe, you're just looking for the door in broad daylight. Either way, it points us in the right direction...towards our destination.

God kind of does the same for us. We all have or had a sinful past that would consume our lives. So many times we would just sit there in the darkness and smoke and just wonder which way was out. But God turns on the exit sign for us. He shows us the way out. We stumble and crawl and cough as we make our way through and then we finally reach the exit. There is light again and fresh, cool air. It is a great feeling to know we got to our destination. If you are in the dark, smoke-filled room, look for God turning on the many exit signs in your life. If you have already been led by God out of the room, are you already going back in and getting lost? Take the exit signs seriously and find your way out. God bless.

Friday, September 7, 2007


This won't be the last time I say anything about this. It hasn't been the first time someone has said something about this. But to's awesome to think about.

Do you remember in elementary Geography class when we learned about all the different climates in the world? I don't remember much of it, but I do remember that North America is one of the few places in the world that actually experience FOUR seasons of change. Now, the world knows the four seasons, we all base our timelines and schedules around them. Winter may not have as much significance in Egypt as it does in the U.S.; however, it is still called winter.

For as long as I have been on this planet, I have lived in the prime location for the recognition of the changing seasons. The midwest may be one the best places to experience that. Today I stepped outside on a normal early September day and realized something different. It was hot as usual, but not that hot. There is still a bit of humidity holding on for dear life. But the sky was cloudy and the wind was picking up. I took a deep breath and automatically thought..."Autumn is near..." Have you ever tried to pinpoint the first day that the weather takes a turn for the next season? Now, I'm not sure if this is documented anywhere, but this might be that first day that the season took a turn from Summer into Autumn. I felt it in the air.

I remembered the way the sun tries so hard to be seen in Autumn. I remembered the wind picking up everyday to clear the old leaves off the trees to make way for new life. I remembered most of all the smell of Autumn. Do you know the smell I'm talking about? Maybe it's different for everyone, but I smelled that today and I knew that Autumn is on its way. I know that the first official day of Autumn isn't until September 21st, but I feel like Mother Nature is one step ahead of us saying, "You think you know me? I'll change whenever I feel like it!" Good for you Mother Nature. Thank you for keeping us on our toes.

Some people never know what the difference is between Summer and Winter...Fall and Spring. They know that is what the time of year is called, but they've never seen it. Some people have never seen snow, heard a thunderstorm, or even seen much rain. These are the things we take for granted...the things I take for granted. What will you celebrate today as Autumn is upon us and Winter is ever nearer? Take some time to appreciate the beauty of seasons, especially if you're in a place that knows all about season changes. God bless.