Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Verlee Mickel By Any Other Name...

...would sound better, huh? I get that one from Name Generator. Same place I got Tangia Aspen Cade and Lainey Stone Sailor. I've heard of stone drunk and stone fox, but never Stone Sailor. Still, there's a first time for everything, eh? (Note to self: my next novel is not that place.)

Think I'll stick to the phone book. It's where I found Ima Pickel.

If you have a pregnant friend, do not tell her about this site until she and her man have settled on names already. I cannot be responsible...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Word Up!

My friend Kelley's little girl, Maggie, is into the PBS show, WordGirl. Last time I saw Maggie, she was throwing her fist into the air and charging forward saying, "Word up!" The word for the day was "frog." (When I saw her a week later, the word was...still "frog.")

Today I'm taking my cues from little Mags and wording up. The word for the day here at SPS is "beauty." In our last episode we considered physical beauty, which the Bible reminds us is fleeting. (Wrinkles, anyone?)

Yet one kind of beauty is imperishable. Here are some excerpts about that kind of beauty from this WordGirl's fave book:

Psalm 27:4 One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.

Psalm 50:2 From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth.

Isaiah 53:2 He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

Isaiah 61:3 For those who grieve in Zion... to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.

1 Peter 3:3-4 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit that is so precious in the sight of God.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

What Lies...

...are you believing about beauty?

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Art Meets Spirituality

Introducing a new monthly festival on art and life!

Art has been a shaping force in Heather Goodman's life. Through art, she encounters God, is challenged to think in new ways, and see new perspectives. Art influences her spirituality, art, and life. She writes:

I have a feeling I'm not the only one who experiences art in this way.

Hence, Artuality.

Artuality is a festival for artists and art lovers to share the place of art in their lives. Every month we'll focus on a different art form. You can share how this form or a particular piece done in that medium influenced you by writing about it, telling a story, composing a song, penning a poem, or sharing a painting, photography, a quilt, a new recipe, a collage, a sculpture (Play Doh, marble, clay, whatever your favorite medium) or any other art form you love or want to try.

This month is paintings. It can be a painting you've seen at a museum or gallery, a painting you've done, or the one your son hung on the fridge.

For more information or to participate, visit Artuality: A Festival of Art and Life.

For an example of an Artuality post, visit Artuality: White Crucifixion by Chagall.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Sanctified Imagination

Why did God create our imaginations? Our ability to dream, to make up stories, to play make believe?
Surely if He made it and put it in us He intends that we should use it as we interact with Him.

Sometimes though, we're scared to engage our imaginations when we pray or read Scripture because we fear our creativity will push us into the realm of heresy. We might create a make believe Bible-ish scenario that contradicts what Scripture teaches and so... well we just don't even want to go there.

The result is often a flat and one-dimensional faith. We read our Bibles but never glean anything that captures our hearts or minds because our hearts and minds are simply not engaged. We are not grabbed by anything (but our grocery-list-in-progress) when we come to the Lord, because we put more imagination into what we're cooking for dinner than we do into what it must have felt like to be lowered down a city wall in a basket with the enemy army close behind. Or a Hebrew child watching our first blood sacrifice in the Temple courtyard.

Years might even be spent in the Kingdom wondering if this is really all there is to Christianity and secretly yawning behind our devotional books. May it never be!

Of course we need to be on our guard against false teaching and trying to twist the Bible to say things that it doesn't say. Lots of preachers, teachers and Bible readers fall into that. It's the nature of our flesh. But I think we're missing out on a gigantic portion of the thriller/romance/drama/suspense/horror/comedy/poem that our Lord desires to share with us. He is, after all, the world's greatest storyteller.

Let's approach the Scriptures with sanctified imaginations. With our creativity primed and at the ready, submitted to the leading and correction of the Holy Spirit. Praying before we jump into the action, asking the Lord to keep us from making up our own comfortable truth- but at the same time to engage all of our senses, all those parts of us that love a good role play, and every fiber of our story-loving spirits.

And then let's imagine how it must have been to...