Reminders

On being present:
"I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor,
every atom of me in magnificent glow,
than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time."

-Jack London
"All you have is now."
- 'Socrates' from the movie Peaceful Warrior.
 
"We manage time; we waste time. We spend time; we save time. We wish the time would come; we wish the time would pass. We see time fly; we feel time drag. We watch clocks and carry calendars, creating the illusion that we somehow control time, yet all the while moments flow forward like a mighty river that cannot be stopped, harnessed, or re-routed. 
Yet, God controls time. He created time and we, his creations, are fenced by his time, directed and guided by his holy and loving hand. The year 2012 is a gift of time from God.
How will you use it? 
What do you think God wants you to do with the 365 days of this next year?"
- Gabriel Wang (a brother in Christ)

On taking risks:

" A ship in harbor is safe -- but that is not what ships are built for."
-
John A. Shedd
"Art hurts. Art urges voyages - and it is easier to stay at home."
- Gwendolyn Brooks

"One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things."
- Henry Miller


“Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.”
- Matsuo Basho



 If man were never to fade away like the dews of Adashino,
never to vanish like the smoke over Toribeyama,
but lingered in forever in the world,
how things would lose their power to move us!
The most precious thing in life is it’s uncertainty.

- Yoshida Kenko
Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
- Samuel Beckett

Perfection VS Excellence:
Perfection is being right
Excellence is a willingness to be wrong

Perfection is demanding
Excellence is freeing
Perfection asks what does this require
Excellence asks what can I give


Perfection is fear
Excellence is love and risk


Perfection is anger and frustration
Excellence is empowerment


Perfection is control
Excellence is spontaneous


Perfection is judgment
Excellence is accepting


Perfection is consuming
Excellence is surrender

Perfection is doubt
Excellence is confidence

Perfection is selfishness
Excellence is trust

Perfection is a destination
Excellence is a journey
- Author Unknown

On being secure in Christ:
"...we need to first identify what immaturity looks like. I think it is best summarized by Ephesians 4:14: “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching…” Immaturity is most notably marked by a lack of stability in the self. An immature woman doesn’t know who she is or doesn’t feel confident about herself, so she is a slave to that search. She does things to get attention, she tends to be selfish and self-absorbed, and she can only mimic those she admires, all because she doesn’t have a clear vision of who God created her to be. As a result, she is “tossed back and forth” by the waves of many different influences–the need to be liked and accepted, societal standards of beauty and success, etc. In this way, an inappropriate use of one’s sexuality reveals not empowerment, but bondage.

Maturity, on the other hand, is a state of being anchored. A mature woman rests in a posture of stability, able to analyze and reject the unhealthy influences around her instead of being rocked by them. As a Christian, she knows who she is in Christ and she knows what her purpose is, so she is able to operate out of that place of strength. She is not a slave to others or her surrounding cultural standards. And because she is not preoccupied with herself, she has the freedom to look outside of herself–not for affirmation, but to affirm and care for others.

Now I know that, according to those definitions, NONE of us is fully mature. Ephesians 4:13 equates full maturity with the “fullness of Christ,” a goal none of us will reach this side of eternity. Maturity is a lifelong pursuit that often has nothing to do with age... . There is a definite spectrum, but within the bounds of the church that spectrum is measured in relation to Christ. As Christians, the key to maturity is found in Christ. The more we anchor ourselves in Him, the better able we are to resist the waves that threaten to toss us about. That, not sexuality or even the ability to vote, is the true sign of maturity. And that is a message that we should not only be teaching our daughters, but women of all ages."
- Sharon (SheWorships), 'Women, Sexuality, and Being a Mature Adult'

On being an artist for Christ:
"An artist knows that what you can see and observe is only the beginning of our journey to discover the world.... Artists have insight into the invisible qualities of the Reality...

Do you not know that the first people known to be filled with the Holy Spirit were not priests, kings or generals, but artists named Bazelel and Oholiab, who built Moses’ Tabernacle? Do you not remember that even the Babylonian kings wanted artists from the exiled nation; and they were the first to be exiled? Artists have skills and power that a dictator is afraid of, or want to use. ...

A painter does not merely reproduce what is thought to be seen by the eye; an artist task is to train the eye first to truly see, and then learn to disregard what we have been taught, to throw away imposed categories -- those easy preconceived notions that lure us to think that we are seeing when we are not, but merely looking. An artist’s task is to see through the eye into the eternal, into the invisible.

God has always, from the beginning, been an artist. He has spoken through the prophets and poets. The Bible begins with Creation, and ends with a New Creation. Everywhere in between God has chosen broken vessels, his creative creatures to create in love.
Artists: Create for our Father, improvise with the Spirit. Create through the Medium who binds all things together, and then you will begin to hear sounds of “the world that ought to be.” Surely, there will be birth pangs right up to that time. There will be more “Ground Zeros” created by destructive minds, twisting creative impulses into diabolical powers. Undo what they have done. Stand upon those ashes all around us, and open your hearts: look up, to Create in Love.

You must become as one; the Body of Christ. Love one another. Love is creative: Love is generative. Be diligent in the work of bringing unity in diversity of the Body. Art provides a wonderful example of diverse voices, instruments and colors to be brought together for the magnificence of the whole. You are God’s Masterpieces, a tapestry of diversity, created in Christ Jesus to birth more Masterpieces.


Finally, let me address the artists of the far country (Luke 15:13); you are starving though you have much. The corrupt world has given you celebrity, and the ephemeral treasures of the earth. Return to your first love. Come home. Creativity is a gift; art is a gift. Do not make it to be other than that, or you will be crushed by your own gifts: and do not try to numb the pain you feel down inside of you with anything other than drinking in the Holy Spirit. There are also some of you, in the far country, who have also ascetically removed pleasures for the sake of “pure expression.” Do not think that just because you have forfeited the whole world, that you have gained your souls. Return to your first love, be filled with the Passion. As a child, you explored the colorful margins, finding exhilaration in sound, movement and rhymes of words. Come home, and join me in preparing for the Feast to come.


Do you not know that we are planning a wedding feast? Have you forgotten that, Churches of North America? You are wedding planners! What wedding would lack music, art, poetry, dance or delectable foods? Start preparing, begin to breath in the aroma of grace; we need the best artists, poets, dancers, musicians and architects. Become an artist of the Kingdom, preparing for the Feast of grace."


-Makoto Fujimura, 'A Letter to North American Churches'

"... ‘something is missing in my Christianity because your voice isn’t there,’...‘I want to see artists who are theologians and leaders who will teach me something about God that I otherwise wouldn’t understand.’...

... “Can the art that is present in the world be redeemed and be a part of the church?” By “redeemed,” Youngren doesn’t just mean hung up on the wall, but fundamentally changed from the core so that, as he said, “everyone can respect it and see it right alongside the rest of art and know that it’s different.” ...

The poet Luci Shaw ... in her essay “Beauty and the Creative Impulse,” she expresses her concern:
The church has given considerable attention to Truth and Goodness, to theology and ethics. But too often beauty has escaped us, or we have tried to escape from it. This is partly because of its innovative, experimental aspect, its way of reaching for originality or a new way of expressing an old standard. In many Christian circles this is felt to be dangerous; the pursuit of beauty is seen merely as an option, and a seductive one at that, because beauty can be neither controlled nor programmed.
Despite many churches’ fear of artistic impression in a corporate context, impression is often how God works. ... When God called Abraham and first told him he was going to make him into a great nation, he didn’t sit him down and say, “Here are my promises 1-5, sign here.” Rather, God said, “Abraham, come outside. Look up.” Abraham gazed into the luminous Middle Eastern sky. As he was contemplating the stars, God continued, “See how amazing that is? That’s what I’m going to do with you.” God started with impression and then moved to propositions. He directed Abraham’s attention to his handiwork, and then asked him to imagine the impossible.

In his essay “The Imagination: Its Function and Its Culture,” George MacDonald writes:

In truth, a very wise imagination, which is the presence of the Spirit of God, is the best guide that man or woman can have; for it is not the things we see the most clearly that influence us the most powerfully; undefined, yet vivid visions of something beyond, something which eye has not seen or ear heard, have far more influence than any logical sequences whereby the same things may be demonstrated to the intellect.
... Becoming more Christ-like, not just better artists, is its main priority. “If we‘re not doing the hard work of studying Scripture and taking care of our own spiritual lives, why in the world would people listen to anything we put out?” Guerra asks. “There needs to be a well from which we are drawing, and that well needs to be rich in the truth so that we aren’t given to vagueness or heavy-handedness.” 

... “This practical modern world is prone to conceive beauty as an extraneous luxury,” Charles G. Osgood writes in “Poetry as a Means of Grace.” “We do not think of it as an integral and inseparable element of our living, as did the Greeks; or as did the Christians for many centuries. . . . .Beauty is an indispensable and logical part of practice and worship in the religious life.”
Because many don’t treat art as an integral part of living or worship, they do not  know how to experience God through creative impressions and musical abstraction. They don’t know how to receive art unless it is spelled out plainly. ...

... It’s a gift to participate in the searing of truth in people’s lives. ...


We need artists who can build the church, and others who are willing to fund the construction. “We need artists who are strong, who are free, who know their story, know their songs well, and can lead people into our freedom dance... "

-'Artists Build The Church' by Kristen Scharold

"Impact doesn’t occur when we’re pursuing impact; impact occurs when we’re pursuing God."
-
Phil Vischer

"It is also so easy to block the creative flow by chasing impact. Instead of creating from what moves us we create from what we think others might like to hear. Do you grasp the enormous difference? People are inspired by inspired people. When we create out of our own emotions the raw humanity shines through and it is brilliant and alive and it has God’s touch all over it. When we create out of our desire to please other people, our hearts are just not in it. What comes out is dull and lifeless, a failed attempt at reality, a poor portrayal of passion."

-
Mandy Steward, 'The Danger Of Pursuing Impact'