Marker Art #74: Mary of Magdala

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Mary Magdalene has been in my mind lately–especially Luke’s offhand comment that seven demons had gone out of her. I decided to do some iconography around that. I haven’t done much with grotesque faces, or demons, so that was a stretch, but this was a fun piece to work on and complete. I experimented artistically with some colored pencils, and Sharpie’s neon colors. (However, little known fact…they didn’t actually scan appropriately. So the original looks somewhat different). What made the experimentation so much fun was the personal motivation behind it, and the theology of it. It has been hopeful to work on someone whose demons are being cast out, to try and tell that story through my own hand.

I also tried my hand at recording video of my process! Lately I’ve been watching a lot of people who do bullet journalling, drawing, and other artists who narrate their work while they show people how they do it. I didn’t get to the narration part, but I enjoyed this process and hopefully I’ll get a chance to do it again. 🙂

If you want to see more videos as I make them, you can like my page!

The Parable of the Really Mad God – and other jovial tales

This is a sermon on Matthew 22:1-14, and the rest of Proper 23 for Year A. I encourage you to read all of the texts Track 2, starting with Isaiah and going onward.

It’s a sermon on what happens when we meet a God who doesn’t make sense–or makes sense in a pretty horrible way–and how we might address the stories in the Bible that make us go, wait–WHUT.

Continue reading The Parable of the Really Mad God – and other jovial tales

Sermon from 6/18: Discipleship, Hope and Casting out Demons

Click Here to Read the Text!

(It is the first part of the lectionary passage for Sunday, June 18, or Proper 6).

“He had compassion on them, for they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

It seems like not much changes, does it?

On Friday, it was announced that the officer who shot Philando Castile seven times, was found not guilty on all counts against him. I find this incredibly troubling, deeply disturbing, on so many levels that I find it hard to make them all clear to you.

A man shot another man seven times with a child in the back seat, and he was found not guilty of all charges brought against him—including reckless discharge of a firearm.

He fired a gun seven times into a car with a child in the back seat.

Continue reading Sermon from 6/18: Discipleship, Hope and Casting out Demons

Digital Painting 2017 – “Oracle”

This painting is called “Oracle.” I’m embarking on a totally new artistic adventure: translating my artwork into digital painting. For a long time, I’ve wanted to invest in a new tablet, and get painting again. I recently got a new Intuos Pro, and have gone absolutely wild since.

It’s been a long time since I’ve worked like this. I’m not sure I really remember how, and on top of that, my style has grown and changed so much since 2008–when I finished my last digital painting.

I originally started this as an effort to learn faces, and to do some practicing. I began tracing this photo: (from this post)

Then I decided to have a little fun with it. It got out of control after that. I’m eager to start learning how to do this again.

The black and white line art for this image will be available in the coloring book that I’m releasing later in the year. (Stay tuned.)

 

 

I will keep my faith.

Now, more than ever, I will keep my faith. In uncertain times, and wading into uncertain waters, I will listen more than ever for how I am to be a Christian.

I will not forget that the Jesus Movement was originally counter-cultural, originally a movement of resistance against a tyrannical empire. I will take comfort in this truth, and I will look to it for purpose in these times.

I will not forget that my God became human, lived a life constrained by bodies and work and pain, and that in that short life, he spread a message of love and forgiveness so powerful and threatening that the Roman Empire executed him for it.

I will not forget that this is my religion.

And so, I renew the vows my parents made for me at baptism, and the vows I made at Confirmation. Because they matter now more than ever.

I renounce Satan and all the spiritual forces of wickedness that rebel against God. I renounce the voices within me that tell me that I am not strong enough, not good enough, not meaningful enough. I renounce the voices that tell me that I am unloved, unimportant, and incapable of the path set before me.

I renounce them, because my faith is in God, who has already created us capable of more than we can imagine.

I renounce them, because this faith tells us that love is the very core of our being, and that in the knowledge of that love, we can spread it like wildfire.

I renounce the evil powers of this world that corrupt and destroy the creatures of God. I renounce greed and consumption. I renounce white supremacy and hatred of the poor. I renounce the consumption of more and more and more, that corrupts and destroys this earth.

I renounce them, because my faith tells me that God created us for goodness, and the evils of tyranny, greed, and hatred are not who we really are—that when we seek our true selves, what we find is a power of goodness beyond all reason and understanding.

I renounce all sinful desires that draw me from the love of God. I renounce the desire to fight for my own self, tooth and nail, always, and I renounce the belief that no one else will care for me. I renounce the desire to treat other people like objects, any creature of God like a means to an end. I renounce the desire to pretend that I have no need to become a better person.

I renounce them because my faith tells us that God loves us so much that we are called, always and everywhere, to become more loving, more honest, more kind, and more present to the Christ in every person.

I turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as my savior, because I believe that my God became human in order to live as one of us—to love, suffer, heal, and die like we do. To walk in our shoes, and understand our existence, and to save us from ourselves. I believe that the going is tough, and we won’t always succeed, but God knows this because God actually really experienced this.

I put my whole trust in his grace and love, because I am called to stand up, and act out, against the evil I see in this world. Put my trust in Jesus, because cannot do that on my own, and in him, I don’t have to.

I promise to follow and obey him as my Lord, because I do not want to be ruled by money, or things, or achievements. I do not want to obey the markets, or the rules for success, or the unspoken keys to safety in our rapidly breaking world.

I promise that I will obey love, kindness, and truth. I promise that I will obey the needs of the poor, reconciliation with my neighbor, and above all, hope.

Always, I promise that my Lord is hope, and that my ruler is the Good News.

I will keep my faith.

 

**This is an expansion upon the words from the 1979 Book of Common Prayer that are traditionally used as promises at baptism. Read them here.

Learning to Listen: Mary, Martha, and our Great Societal Problem

This is the text of a sermon preached at Hamline Church on July 17, 2016. The two texts were the Parable of the Leaven, and the story of Mary and Martha with Jesus.

And again he said, “To what should I compare the kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with[a] three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”

Dear Saint Paul: Let us be the city that says “No More.”

Now that Saint Paul and Falcon Heights are synonymous with an image of a gun trained on a man who is bleeding out, synonymous with one of the worst police shootings in America, and the incredibly strong woman who filmed it all—now that this is who we are, can we, Twin Cities, can we be the city that pulls together and says, “No more”?

Dear city of mine, let us be the ones who do this differently.

Let us be the city where the whole community arrives at the Black Lives Matter protest, where white and black and Asian and American Indian can say alike with pride that “Black Lives Matter Here.”

Let us be the city where the governor comes out of his house, listens to the family. Just listens. And then to the people of Minnesota, he says: “He would be alive if he were white.”

Let us be the city where the officer apologizes, where there is no attempt to smear the character of the man who died, where this officer can say: “I’m sorry. I tweaked. It was wrong, and I can’t take it back.”

Can we be the city that admits, collectively, that we have a problem?

And then, can we be the city where we rise above the vitriol of opposing positions, the city that can say “I am pro-Black Lives, and I am pro-Police.” Can we be the city that says together, “I care and love the police here so much that I will demand that they be of the calmest, and strongest, and best among us.” Can we be the city that says together, “We are all weaker when our Black brothers and sisters are treated as though they don’t matter”?

Let us be the city that says together, “I will interrogate my suspicion of black bodies—I will notice when I am afraid, and I will pledge to be afraid no more.”

Let us be the city that says, “I will notice, and I will interrogate, the schools where white children and black children never take a class together, because of the disparity of wealth between us.”

Let us be the city that says, “There are too many guns here, and everywhere, and we pledge to remove them from our streets—whatever way we can, so that fewer people die.”

Let us be the city that listens, unconditionally, when the Black community says, “Stop killing us.”

Let us be the city that simply does the right thing.

And when the going is too tough, and we want to sink into violent rages of anger, or when we want to despair and go back to living as though it never happened, let us be the city that asks the God we worship to hang onto us.

Let us acknowledge that we cannot do this alone, that our strength comes from the God we know—in whatever faith we practice. Let us rest in our God, knowing that trusting only our selves and our own experience is the sin that got us into this predicament.

Let us know that whatever we must confront as a city, especially as the white people of this city, that we are safe in the incredible and unimaginable power of the One who loves us enough to demand better of us. Let us ask this God to love us into strength we need to take off the blinders we all have been wearing.

Dear Saint Paul,

Let us be the city that does not shy away from this, that cannot ignore it, that cannot sweep it under the rug. Let us be the city that interrogates the status quo, and interrogates the privilege of whiteness, and interrogates the proliferation of firearms that make it so easy to kill each other.

Let us be the city that rises above and says never, never again.

Marker Artist, Youth Director, and general Smarty Pants