Love is…

Love overcomes the dirt. I was about to say that love is dirty. That it sacrifices, it gets beaten, it is broken, it dies a thousand deaths. It is found in gutters and alleyways with bums and addicts.

But it’s not dirty. It is clean… Love overcomes the dirt. I was about to say that love is dirty. That it sacrifices, it gets beaten, it is broken, it dies a thousand deaths. It is found in gutters and alleyways with bums and addicts.

But it’s not dirty. It is clean. It sanitizes, washes away, covers, and paints over. It washes the inside regardless of the stench on the outside. It causes us to get dirty, but makes us clean in the process. It is absolutely essential to life, more than air, more than drink. I can’t grasp it, but I can touch it. It refuses to be placed in the box I made for it. It breaks it’s bounds and grows swallowing me whole.

Garden Dwellers

When listening to Christian music, one might suppose that the entire reason Jesus died on the cross for us was to redeem us from sin and a fallen state. Which of course, is a HUGE thing, but is it the SOLE thing?

Hans Rookmaaker said that Jesus didn’t die on the cross to make us Christian, but to make us more fully human. I love this perspective.

What Jesus really did on the cross, was to invite us back to the garden.

American Savior

America needs a Savior, not an idol.

But idols are so much fun to make, and they are so pretty, and have a piece of us in them.

The success of American Idol is amazing. It dawned on me that American Idol is not unlike the calf in the wilderness. While Moses was away, the people decided that they needed something tangible to worship, so they melted down their gold and made a cow, of all things.

We are created to worship something bigger than ourselves. We can’t escape it, it is built in. I think that is another way of describing the “God shaped hole” or vacuum or whatever it is. We were created to worship and fellowship with a big God.

And when we don’t put our worship on God, we have to find something else bigger than ourselves to worship. And that is our idol. I think most, if not all, of our idols are of our own making. We melt down the values that are in us, like Israel melted their gold, and we fashion something greater than ourselves, that in actuality is nothing more than exactly equal to ourselves.

Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pit, Tom Cruise, whomever…. They are idols of OUR making. WE pay to see them, WE buy the tabloids, WE have made them idols. They certainly don’t stand for anything that we believe in, they just are greater (in our eyes) than ourselves.

Perhaps some of this is due to our low estimation of our own worth, or a poor view of how much God loves us. But that is another topic. As believers, we are not immune to this. In fact, we have our own Christian celebrities. We just think is ok because they are Christian Idols. And I’m not just talking about musicians and actors, we have our “famous pastors” our “famous writers” our ‘famous worship leaders.” We go to conferences, festivals, show up for the “guest speaker”, get the autograph, all to worship our ChristianIdol.

We are simply in love with celebrity. And if that is a Christian celebrity, we feel its ok, but in actuality, they are still idols. Of our own making.

So back to American Idol. Here we have 24 people competing to be the American Idol. BUT, since WE vote on them, WE chose them. WE take our 2-3 hours a week (gold in my book), we take our energy at the water cooler (again modern day gold), we take our SMS and cell minutes (of that’s not modern gold I don’t know what is), and WE fashion an Idol of OUR choosing.

But what we need is not an Idol, but a Savior. We need to lift up Jesus greater than Clarkson and Hicks. We need to break the calf and look to the cross.

Art Off Limits

As our community grows, I want to start having some hard discussions. Asking ourselves some hard questions. Some of these I have been musing for some time, others are fresh. I am asking with you, not asking of you…

By the way, please feel free to submit events, news, recommendations, thoughts, etc. If they are in keeping with the spirit of Renovo, we will post them. Again, this is a community and collective. Its about us not me….though it may seem that way until we get larger.

To the Question!

The Cost of Love

I’ve been a die hard Republican for almost as long as I can remember. And that works because I conveniently forget that time in grammar school  that I somehow supported Dukakis by knocking down Bush Sr. signs.

I believe in trickle down economics. I believe that if you cut taxes people and companies spend more. I philosophically believe that cutting taxes and regulations for businesses means more janitors are hired at the bottom. I believe that the poor should work and not get a hand out. Hand up not hand out and all that jazz.

I believe in the sovereignty of America. I think the borders should be closed and illegals deported. I think, I think, I believe, I believe.

It’s fairly easy to think and believe. It doesn’t really require that I do anything. I just have to sit in my cozy house, thinking and believing…

Thinking about the border issue, I wondered why I want closed borders. Why, is it important. Of course the terrorism threat is a big deal, so that’s one. What’s two? Jesus, what’s two? And I realize that Jesus really wouldn’t care that my tax dollars are going to pay for an illegal immigrants education or healthcare. In fact, He may even think that works for Him. He told me to “give to anyone who asks.” No qualifications there, just…give.

I suppose He might take umbrage with the illegal that is breaking the law but that is an issue between Him and them. My issue is one of taxes and borders, and ultimately, love.

The federal government must help people out because those who are supposed to aren’t. That should be our job, the church. WE are the ones commanded to give. WE are the ones commanded to love. WE are the ones commanded to lay down our lives.

I think that we even feel like we are obeying Jesus when we give above our tithes to a “good cause” at church. But the reality is, we are passing by the wounded traveler, perhaps to send help once we get to town, but passing by all the same. We’ve gotten so good at giving that which costs us little. We’ve gotten good at staying removed and clean.

But my salvation cost a lot. I had a debt I couldn’t pay and was released from the slavery I deserved. My freedom cost a lot.

Shouldn’t I give a lot?

Or, shouldn’t I give what costs a lot?

Maybe it’s money. Maybe it’s time. Maybe it’s pride, something I should have given away a long time ago but, like a bad gift, it keeps coming back. Maybe it’s my Republicanism. Whatever it is, it should cost me.

What cost me a lot?


Art Needs No Justification

Required reading. Read it here, or get the PDF in the download section. Read it, Read it again, mark it up, recommend it.

Table of Contents

:: chapter one : background to a dilemma

art with a capital a
a crisis in the arts
a crisis in our culture

:: chapter two : the church’s response

two consequences of retreat
a call for reformation
weep, pray, think and work

:: chapter three : the christian artists task

the role of artists in reformation
evangelistic art?
human art
art with a difference

:: chapter four : some guidelines for artists

the intrinsic value of art
art and reality
art and society
norms for art
norm and taste
problems of art and style
fame and anonymity
the qualities of the artist
on the way

Art Needs No Justification
Haans Rookmaaker

Professor Rookmaaker was working on this book at the time of his death on March 13, 1977. His intention to write a postscript was never fulfilled. The material has been rearranged and revised, but is essentially what the author wrote. In our attempt to be faithful to his intentions we have been greatly helped by his colleague at the Free University of Amsterdam, Dr. Graham Birtwistle. This book is not a technical work, neither are its contents exclusively for the artist. It is for all Christians who are willing to see that their God-given talents can be used to the glory of the Giver. It is not a survey of the art scene, nor a detailed analysis of the origins of the problems facing civilization. It is a prophetic call to Christian artists, craftsmen and musicians to “weep, pray, think and work” before it is too late.

Modern Art and the Death of a Culture

Modern Art and the Death of a Culture gets Renovo’s highest recommendation. Rookmaaker is, to the creative Christian, what Lombardi is to coaches and leadership gurus. Ok, maybe that metaphor falls flat but his books are indispensable resources.

H.R. Rookmaaker thought about all this stuff long before we even thought to think of it. This book is takes a lot of thinking to get through but its well worth it.

Any beginning art student should read this with Wikipedia (the ever accurate fount of knowledge) nearby. Rookmaaker throws around names and art pieces that we, honestly, should know but don’t.

Disciple, husband, that order. Dreamer, thinker, inventor, musician, orator, wordsmith, entrepreneur...not in that order. 2x Peoples Choice Ice Cream Champ.

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