Evangel-vision Archives, November 2012

Through our ministries, God allows us to see him work in so many wonderful ways around the world. Here, you get a glimpse of it all through our eyes. Each week, one of our staff shares what inspired, stretched, or encouraged him or her.

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Laurie NicholsLaurie Nichols is Communications Coordicator at the Billy Graham Center.

Because You Lived: Considering Legacy

Growing up, my father would often remind me that everyone has one basic desire: to be acknowledged, to feel as though he or she matters and that his or her life has meaning. Since becoming a Christian, I have often considered this from two vantage points: the vertical and the horizontal.

Our ultimate desire is the vertical decent God makes toward us as we reach the end of our day, our year, our life: it is the breathtaking moments when we can almost, almost hear God whisper, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” It is our hope that at our last day, we will be ushered into the eternal kingdom by a brilliant smile on the face of our Savior that says, “Because you lived, the world really is a better place.”

The horizontal acknowledgement is directly linked to the vertical praise of our great God. It is the evidence that our lives really did matter, that we really did allow ourselves to be God’s vessels. It is the idea of legacy.

Nichole Nordeman’s song, Legacy >>, speaks to the very issue of us laying aside what the world demeans important and instead living for the purposes of God:

I don't mind if you've got something nice to say about me
And I enjoy an accolade like the rest
You could take my picture and hang it in a gallery
Of all the who's who and so-n-so's that used to be the best
At such'n'such ...it wouldn't matter much

I won't lie, it feels alright to see your name in lights
We all need an 'Atta boy' or 'Atta girl'
But in the end I'd like to hang my hat on more besides
The temporary trappings of this world

I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who
blessed your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy

When we consider how we would like to be remembered, what first comes to mind? That we found success in our work, our ministry, our relationships? That we did this-and-that or led such-and-such? That we impacted x-amount of people? Do we look to quantity or quality?

What does a godly legacy look like anyways?

  • It looks like an extraordinary display of the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Gal. 5:22).
  • It looks like the call of Micah 6:8: act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.
  • It looks like acts spoken of in Psalm 15: walk blamelessly, do what is right, speak truth, don’t slander, don’t do evil, don’t take a bribe, etc.

In Psalm 24:4, 6 we find a simple summation of the qualities which define a godly legacy:

…he who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully….Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob.

Purity. Integrity. Authentic worship. Honesty. Seeking (or not) these qualities has an exponentially powerful effect on the legacy we leave. “Being acknowledged” is indeed one of the most important desires for us as human beings—we want to be acknowledged by God and by others. Ultimately, however, as with many things in God’s upside-down, inside-out, topsy-turvy kingdom, this comes not from a place of accolades or power or privilege, but from servanthood, respect, and humility.

What kind of legacy have you left thus far? What kind of legacy do you want to leave? Are you living such that on that final day God will say, “The world is better because you were in it”? Without exception, the ultimate acknowledgement of “Well done, good and faithful servant!” on our final day will be marked by evidences that we humbly acknowledged others to the best of our abilities. And it will begin with Nordeman’s question, “Did I point to You enough to make a mark on things?”

 

“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.” – Paul (Eph. 4:1)

What do you think? Let's continue the discussion on our facebook page >>  

Posted November 26, 2012

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CastaldoChris Castaldo is Director of the Ministry of Gospel Renewal at the Billy Graham Center.

Keep on Pedaling!

The doctor said, "The child has severe hemophilia." Looking up at me with charming brown eyes lay a beautiful baby boy. A "severe" hemophiliac. My son. Emotions swirled. "Are you sure?" I asked, feeling pathetic in the doctor’s eyes. "Yes," he responded.

 

Most things in life happen before you are ready. This seems to be especially true with the hard stuff. Our hearts race and minds search for meaning, but some circumstances resist explanation. Looking at the oozing of blood from my newborn son bore testimony to this fact. Powerless, I stood and watched.

 

Little did I know, this was the start of a great adventure. In the coming months and years, this journey would take us through dark moments of despair; in a strange and ironic way, it would also lead to joy. It would thrust us into the crucible of faith, where we would have to believe what we believe, and in the silence of prayer it would mediate peace that surpasses understanding. Bewildered and broken, we would glimpse into the Pauline paradox: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Cor. 12:9).

We Never Arrive

We never arrive until we are home. Pardon the obvious, but think about it. Because we are sojourners and pilgrims in this world, struggle and strain will always attend our steps.

An old missionary from Africa explained this idea well during a seminary chapel sermon. He had us on the edge of our seats with stories of angry tribal warriors coming into his compound with weapons drawn and violence in their eyes. Somehow, on account of the inexplicable appearance of fog, he and his family managed to escape. He explained that through such experiences he had learned a valuable lesson about the Christian life:

To understand the Christian life, imagine riding a bicycle in the middle of a two-way street heading up a steep hill. Your job is to keep the bicycle wheels on the yellow line and keep pedaling. If you veer to the left or to the right, with cars zipping past you on both sides, you’re road kill. And as you get further up the hill, the forces of gravity and fatigue make pedaling more difficult (so get it out of your head that elderly people go on spiritual cruise control). The challenge continues until the end, and there is no reprieve until we finally arrive home.

At first blush, the analogy struck me as overly human-centered, but then our speaker concluded:

Of course, we do veer off the yellow line. Every single day. And when we do, Jesus’ victory—the cross, resurrection, and pouring out of the Spirit—provides forgiveness and healing. But we are nevertheless called to pedal. When our legs feel shot and we’re unable to proceed, we pray for divine strength, and somehow it comes. This is God’s promise: "He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion on the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6).

The Adventure Continues

There are days when the struggle feels too difficult. Yes, I believe in the promise of Philippians 1:6, but sometimes the burden feels unbearably heavy. It’s the feeling I had, for instance, when my boy with hemophilia initially learned how to ride a bicycle. If you’ve ever trained a child to ride a bike, you know one thing: the process is full of falling.

But falling isn’t a viable option when your blood doesn’t clot. So I ran behind my son’s bike with arms outstretched for an hour, up and down the sidewalk, ready to throw my body onto the pavement as a cushion to break his fall.

Walking home that afternoon, I looked at my boy. Yes, he had fallen, and my lunges were too late, but thankfully the damage was minimal. As I looked down on my son holding my hand, my thoughts naturally went upward to the Father in heaven. I wondered. What is God’s posture? What are his thoughts toward us?

The old missionary from Africa came to mind. I imagined God saying: Keep pedaling, son, despite your fears. I know all the bumps in the road, and although you falter and even wipe out, my grace surrounds you to the end.

 

What difficulty has God used to strenghten your faith? We would love to hear about it! Let's continue the discussion on our facebook page >>  

Posted November 19, 2012

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Eric DurbinEric Durbin is Coordinator of the Billy Graham Center Museum.

“Manage Me as an Individual”: The Cry of the Young Leader

I am hearing a lot lately about the next generation of young leaders in ministry—how to recruit them, how to leverage their talents, how to change organizational cultures to be more friendly to the demands of Millennials, Generation Flux , Gen Y.

Would you like a curtain-lift into the backstage activities of my affiliated group? Do you want the inside scoop on how to best handle managing this generation? I can tell you the secret, but I bet you already know it: Just manage us as individuals. Any demographic approach to management is a really bad idea.

Let me ask you two questions (hint: you can only answer yes to one):

Are you currently recruiting, supervising, or developing an individual from this latest generation of employees?

Are you responsible for overseeing the entire demographic of 20-34-year-olds?

The point is this: Generations exhibit trends; individuals exhibit behaviors. Manage your market as a generation and your employees as individuals. Don’t spend your energy understanding macro trends if your goal is to motivate an individual to a particular course of action.

We all have anecdotal evidence that supports our faith in stereotypes. “Oh, she’s definitely a first-born!” “Well I could have told you that, he works in IT, bless his heart.” Though usually a damaging reinforcement to our own inherent biases, this sort of guideline can sometimes be helpful, giving us starting points for interpersonal communication. Moreover, in some industries like marketing and sociology, it is considered best practice to aim for the middle of the bell curve.

There are interesting intellectual ideas around studies into various socioeconomic groupings of people. Studies that group ethnicities, genders, household incomes—and yes, even groupings based on what year they are born—all supply data about human tendencies. These data provide a statistical mean, a middle-marker by which we direct actions meant to affect that grouping.

These actions are effective when targeted to a very large number of people. But you don’t manage a very large number of people. You manage a small group of individuals.

David Ogilvy, generally heralded as the father of advertising, draws a parallel distinction for us: “Consumers are statistics. Customers are people.” Even in the faceless world of mass promotions, sometimes final execution can only be made in one-on-one interaction with a customer.

And when you interact with an individual, all of his or her group affiliations become irrelevant. Millennials are data points, not statistics. They may or may not have helicopter parents. They may or may not be addicted to Twitter. Only some of them value organizational mission over career progression. None of them have 2.5 kids.

If you want data on a single person, all you need is regular conversations with him or her. You will be deluged with information he or she is begging you to observe. In 30 seconds, you have access to a database of facial expressions and hand gestures, vocabulary and enunciation, rate of speech and length of attention span. After a few weeks you can add to the list that person’s stories of ministry and professional experience, some actual work product and reports, positive and negative personal habits. These are all behaviors, empirically measureable, and all adaptable to fit the needs of the organization, within the strengths of the individual.

If we are each truly God’s workmanship (his masterpiece, his poema), if we are each to take our rightful place among Christ’s body as an indispensable and distinct part, then we must each be esteemed and exhorted as unique individuals with distinct skill sets, characteristics, and motivations.

Not all orphans are encapsulated by the story of Oliver Twist. Not all Millennials can be managed by a list of generational tendencies.

Just like all of your employees, you must encourage effect behavior with Millennials by knowing them, talking to them about their performance, and demanding better performance and more production over time. Here is the only generalization about my generation I can champion; on this we speak as one: “Manage me as an individual.”

What generalizations have you heard about the generations? How have you found those to be true? False? We would love to hear about it! Let's continue the discussion on our facebook page >>  

Posted November 12, 2012

-------

Paul Ericksen is Director of Resources (Archives & Museum) at the Billy Graham Center.

Matter Does Matter

 

 

 

While I work primarily in a world of words in the BGC Archives (reading documents, describing them for future researchers, writing emails in response to questions about our collection), I’m grateful that our faith isn’t confined to thoughts, words, even feelings of the heart, but is also reflected in the physical and sensory world we occupy together. Our incarnated Savior is the supreme expression and reality of this.

In the past month, I have experienced this truth in two very different settings.

First, I had the honor to hang and reflect on the works of Japanese printmaker Sadao Watanabe. I first saw his very-expressive original works at a nearby monastery. A seed of hope began growing that the BGC Museum could show these lustrous works in our gallery. Watanabe’s prints span events from both Old and New Testaments.

He places them in a physical context, especially trying to express the truth of scripture to Japanese eyes, hearts, and minds. Any preconception that the religion and history of the Bible is Western is banished with Watanabe’s use of mask-like faces, conveying emotion through bodily posture and the placement of hands and feet.

EmmausHanging these pieces one by one, and then seeing guests reflect on them one by one, is a highlight of my time overseeing the museum. What is striking is how ink, wrinkled paper, the acquired skill of an artist, and the informed or uninformed perspectives of viewers can come together to produce not just an aesthetic moment, but a faith-deepening and gospel-calling experience.

Looking at them again, I’m struck how grounded Watanabe’s works are—not ethereal—little worlds with water, plants, fish and birds, men and women. Like his Christ at Emmaus (left). See an online slide show >> of most of these pieces, but more importantly, make your way to the museum to stand in front of them yourself. Standing before them—“reading” them and letting them “read” me—I felt alive.

matter mattersSecond, last week I hiked a Blue Ridge Parkway trail with my wife. It was early morning, the light still dim, with most leaves having fallen off the trees onto our path. We passed over several creeks/waterfalls, and finally made our way up to a rock outcropping overlooking the parkway and forests to the south and east. (Even as Superstorm Sandy made its way up the East Coast, we saw clouds being pushed westward toward us and felt the wind beginning to blow.) But out on the rock face, we ate our breakfast in the early morning light. I felt fully alive.

As the Apostle John said so plainly: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us…” (John 1:14). The good news we share in our BGC ministries, with our neighbors and families, or those coming across our paths, must be rooted in the truth of scripture and conveyed in words. But it must also be displayed in the concrete, fleshly realities that speak to the shared earthly experience, joy, pain, beauty, and everydayness of those around us. It is where we and they become fully alive.

How have you experienced the Word Made Flesh recently? We would love to hear about it! Let's continue the discussion on our facebook page >>  

Posted November 5, 2012

-------

Laurie NicholsLaurie Nichols is Communications Coordicator at the Billy Graham Center.

Because You Lived: Considering Legacy

Growing up, my father would often remind me that everyone has one basic desire: to be acknowledged, to feel as though he or she matters and that his or her life has meaning. Since becoming a Christian, I have often considered this from two vantage points: the vertical and the horizontal.

Our ultimate desire is the vertical decent God makes toward us as we reach the end of our day, our year, our life: it is the breathtaking moments when we can almost, almost hear God whisper, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” It is our hope that at our last day, we will be ushered into the eternal kingdom by a brilliant smile on the face of our Savior that says, “Because you lived, the world really is a better place.”

The horizontal acknowledgement is directly linked to the vertical praise of our great God. It is the evidence that our lives really did matter, that we really did allow ourselves to be God’s vessels. It is the idea of legacy.

Nichole Nordeman’s song, Legacy >>, speaks to the very issue of us laying aside what the world demeans important and instead living for the purposes of God:

I don't mind if you've got something nice to say about me
And I enjoy an accolade like the rest
You could take my picture and hang it in a gallery
Of all the who's who and so-n-so's that used to be the best
At such'n'such ...it wouldn't matter much

I won't lie, it feels alright to see your name in lights
We all need an 'Atta boy' or 'Atta girl'
But in the end I'd like to hang my hat on more besides
The temporary trappings of this world

I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who
blessed your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy

When we consider how we would like to be remembered, what first comes to mind? That we found success in our work, our ministry, our relationships? That we did this-and-that or led such-and-such? That we impacted x-amount of people? Do we look to quantity or quality?

What does a godly legacy look like anyways?

  • It looks like an extraordinary display of the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Gal. 5:22).
  • It looks like the call of Micah 6:8: act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.
  • It looks like acts spoken of in Psalm 15: walk blamelessly, do what is right, speak truth, don’t slander, don’t do evil, don’t take a bribe, etc.

In Psalm 24:4, 6 we find a simple summation of the qualities which define a godly legacy:

…he who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully….Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob.

Purity. Integrity. Authentic worship. Honesty. Seeking (or not) these qualities has an exponentially powerful effect on the legacy we leave. “Being acknowledged” is indeed one of the most important desires for us as human beings—we want to be acknowledged by God and by others. Ultimately, however, as with many things in God’s upside-down, inside-out, topsy-turvy kingdom, this comes not from a place of accolades or power or privilege, but from servanthood, respect, and humility.

What kind of legacy have you left thus far? What kind of legacy do you want to leave? Are you living such that on that final day God will say, “The world is better because you were in it”? Without exception, the ultimate acknowledgement of “Well done, good and faithful servant!” on our final day will be marked by evidences that we humbly acknowledged others to the best of our abilities. And it will begin with Nordeman’s question, “Did I point to You enough to make a mark on things?”

 

“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.” – Paul (Eph. 4:1)

What do you think? Let's continue the discussion on our facebook page >>  

Posted November 26, 2012

-------

CastaldoChris Castaldo is Director of the Ministry of Gospel Renewal at the Billy Graham Center.

Keep on Pedaling!

The doctor said, "The child has severe hemophilia." Looking up at me with charming brown eyes lay a beautiful baby boy. A "severe" hemophiliac. My son. Emotions swirled. "Are you sure?" I asked, feeling pathetic in the doctor’s eyes. "Yes," he responded.

 

Most things in life happen before you are ready. This seems to be especially true with the hard stuff. Our hearts race and minds search for meaning, but some circumstances resist explanation. Looking at the oozing of blood from my newborn son bore testimony to this fact. Powerless, I stood and watched.

 

Little did I know, this was the start of a great adventure. In the coming months and years, this journey would take us through dark moments of despair; in a strange and ironic way, it would also lead to joy. It would thrust us into the crucible of faith, where we would have to believe what we believe, and in the silence of prayer it would mediate peace that surpasses understanding. Bewildered and broken, we would glimpse into the Pauline paradox: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Cor. 12:9).

We Never Arrive

We never arrive until we are home. Pardon the obvious, but think about it. Because we are sojourners and pilgrims in this world, struggle and strain will always attend our steps.

An old missionary from Africa explained this idea well during a seminary chapel sermon. He had us on the edge of our seats with stories of angry tribal warriors coming into his compound with weapons drawn and violence in their eyes. Somehow, on account of the inexplicable appearance of fog, he and his family managed to escape. He explained that through such experiences he had learned a valuable lesson about the Christian life:

To understand the Christian life, imagine riding a bicycle in the middle of a two-way street heading up a steep hill. Your job is to keep the bicycle wheels on the yellow line and keep pedaling. If you veer to the left or to the right, with cars zipping past you on both sides, you’re road kill. And as you get further up the hill, the forces of gravity and fatigue make pedaling more difficult (so get it out of your head that elderly people go on spiritual cruise control). The challenge continues until the end, and there is no reprieve until we finally arrive home.

At first blush, the analogy struck me as overly human-centered, but then our speaker concluded:

Of course, we do veer off the yellow line. Every single day. And when we do, Jesus’ victory—the cross, resurrection, and pouring out of the Spirit—provides forgiveness and healing. But we are nevertheless called to pedal. When our legs feel shot and we’re unable to proceed, we pray for divine strength, and somehow it comes. This is God’s promise: "He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion on the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6).

The Adventure Continues

There are days when the struggle feels too difficult. Yes, I believe in the promise of Philippians 1:6, but sometimes the burden feels unbearably heavy. It’s the feeling I had, for instance, when my boy with hemophilia initially learned how to ride a bicycle. If you’ve ever trained a child to ride a bike, you know one thing: the process is full of falling.

But falling isn’t a viable option when your blood doesn’t clot. So I ran behind my son’s bike with arms outstretched for an hour, up and down the sidewalk, ready to throw my body onto the pavement as a cushion to break his fall.

Walking home that afternoon, I looked at my boy. Yes, he had fallen, and my lunges were too late, but thankfully the damage was minimal. As I looked down on my son holding my hand, my thoughts naturally went upward to the Father in heaven. I wondered. What is God’s posture? What are his thoughts toward us?

The old missionary from Africa came to mind. I imagined God saying: Keep pedaling, son, despite your fears. I know all the bumps in the road, and although you falter and even wipe out, my grace surrounds you to the end.

 

What difficulty has God used to strenghten your faith? We would love to hear about it! Let's continue the discussion on our facebook page >>  

Posted November 19, 2012

-------

Eric DurbinEric Durbin is Coordinator of the Billy Graham Center Museum.

“Manage Me as an Individual”: The Cry of the Young Leader

I am hearing a lot lately about the next generation of young leaders in ministry—how to recruit them, how to leverage their talents, how to change organizational cultures to be more friendly to the demands of Millennials, Generation Flux , Gen Y.

Would you like a curtain-lift into the backstage activities of my affiliated group? Do you want the inside scoop on how to best handle managing this generation? I can tell you the secret, but I bet you already know it: Just manage us as individuals. Any demographic approach to management is a really bad idea.

Let me ask you two questions (hint: you can only answer yes to one):

Are you currently recruiting, supervising, or developing an individual from this latest generation of employees?

Are you responsible for overseeing the entire demographic of 20-34-year-olds?

The point is this: Generations exhibit trends; individuals exhibit behaviors. Manage your market as a generation and your employees as individuals. Don’t spend your energy understanding macro trends if your goal is to motivate an individual to a particular course of action.

We all have anecdotal evidence that supports our faith in stereotypes. “Oh, she’s definitely a first-born!” “Well I could have told you that, he works in IT, bless his heart.” Though usually a damaging reinforcement to our own inherent biases, this sort of guideline can sometimes be helpful, giving us starting points for interpersonal communication. Moreover, in some industries like marketing and sociology, it is considered best practice to aim for the middle of the bell curve.

There are interesting intellectual ideas around studies into various socioeconomic groupings of people. Studies that group ethnicities, genders, household incomes—and yes, even groupings based on what year they are born—all supply data about human tendencies. These data provide a statistical mean, a middle-marker by which we direct actions meant to affect that grouping.

These actions are effective when targeted to a very large number of people. But you don’t manage a very large number of people. You manage a small group of individuals.

David Ogilvy, generally heralded as the father of advertising, draws a parallel distinction for us: “Consumers are statistics. Customers are people.” Even in the faceless world of mass promotions, sometimes final execution can only be made in one-on-one interaction with a customer.

And when you interact with an individual, all of his or her group affiliations become irrelevant. Millennials are data points, not statistics. They may or may not have helicopter parents. They may or may not be addicted to Twitter. Only some of them value organizational mission over career progression. None of them have 2.5 kids.

If you want data on a single person, all you need is regular conversations with him or her. You will be deluged with information he or she is begging you to observe. In 30 seconds, you have access to a database of facial expressions and hand gestures, vocabulary and enunciation, rate of speech and length of attention span. After a few weeks you can add to the list that person’s stories of ministry and professional experience, some actual work product and reports, positive and negative personal habits. These are all behaviors, empirically measureable, and all adaptable to fit the needs of the organization, within the strengths of the individual.

If we are each truly God’s workmanship (his masterpiece, his poema), if we are each to take our rightful place among Christ’s body as an indispensable and distinct part, then we must each be esteemed and exhorted as unique individuals with distinct skill sets, characteristics, and motivations.

Not all orphans are encapsulated by the story of Oliver Twist. Not all Millennials can be managed by a list of generational tendencies.

Just like all of your employees, you must encourage effect behavior with Millennials by knowing them, talking to them about their performance, and demanding better performance and more production over time. Here is the only generalization about my generation I can champion; on this we speak as one: “Manage me as an individual.”

What generalizations have you heard about the generations? How have you found those to be true? False? We would love to hear about it! Let's continue the discussion on our facebook page >>  

Posted November 12, 2012

-------

Paul Ericksen is Director of Resources (Archives & Museum) at the Billy Graham Center.

Matter Does Matter

 

 

 

While I work primarily in a world of words in the BGC Archives (reading documents, describing them for future researchers, writing emails in response to questions about our collection), I’m grateful that our faith isn’t confined to thoughts, words, even feelings of the heart, but is also reflected in the physical and sensory world we occupy together. Our incarnated Savior is the supreme expression and reality of this.

In the past month, I have experienced this truth in two very different settings.

First, I had the honor to hang and reflect on the works of Japanese printmaker Sadao Watanabe. I first saw his very-expressive original works at a nearby monastery. A seed of hope began growing that the BGC Museum could show these lustrous works in our gallery. Watanabe’s prints span events from both Old and New Testaments.

He places them in a physical context, especially trying to express the truth of scripture to Japanese eyes, hearts, and minds. Any preconception that the religion and history of the Bible is Western is banished with Watanabe’s use of mask-like faces, conveying emotion through bodily posture and the placement of hands and feet.

EmmausHanging these pieces one by one, and then seeing guests reflect on them one by one, is a highlight of my time overseeing the museum. What is striking is how ink, wrinkled paper, the acquired skill of an artist, and the informed or uninformed perspectives of viewers can come together to produce not just an aesthetic moment, but a faith-deepening and gospel-calling experience.

Looking at them again, I’m struck how grounded Watanabe’s works are—not ethereal—little worlds with water, plants, fish and birds, men and women. Like his Christ at Emmaus (left). See an online slide show >> of most of these pieces, but more importantly, make your way to the museum to stand in front of them yourself. Standing before them—“reading” them and letting them “read” me—I felt alive.

matter mattersSecond, last week I hiked a Blue Ridge Parkway trail with my wife. It was early morning, the light still dim, with most leaves having fallen off the trees onto our path. We passed over several creeks/waterfalls, and finally made our way up to a rock outcropping overlooking the parkway and forests to the south and east. (Even as Superstorm Sandy made its way up the East Coast, we saw clouds being pushed westward toward us and felt the wind beginning to blow.) But out on the rock face, we ate our breakfast in the early morning light. I felt fully alive.

As the Apostle John said so plainly: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us…” (John 1:14). The good news we share in our BGC ministries, with our neighbors and families, or those coming across our paths, must be rooted in the truth of scripture and conveyed in words. But it must also be displayed in the concrete, fleshly realities that speak to the shared earthly experience, joy, pain, beauty, and everydayness of those around us. It is where we and they become fully alive.

How have you experienced the Word Made Flesh recently? We would love to hear about it! Let's continue the discussion on our facebook page >>  

Posted November 5, 2012

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