As an aspiring writer with a nearly-completed book lurking in the shadows, I have been spending a bit of time thinking about publishing as it is now, and its future as well.

With the recent news about Google’s entry into the book market, it seems that the future of the ebook is now (if it hasn’t already been for a couple years).

Then a few days ago, Seth Godin announced that he was looking for some accomplices for a new publishing adventure. Today, he revealed on his blog that the new venture is called, The Domino Project; a publishing platform with Amazon handling the production and distribution.

The game is changing, and it’s moving rapidly. There are countless imprints now dedicated to ebooks, and major publishers are (slowly) moving in the direction of a more balanced approach to publishing on paper and on electronic platforms. With Godin becoming a player in the game, it is bound to change even quicker.

I’m excited for this as an author, reader, fanboy, and consumer.

Mandy Steward wrote a post a few days back, as I mentioned, that resonated pretty deeply with people. The response to the post was hugely evident on Twitter, and people seemed to want to respond beyond what 140 characters would allow. When I read the post, and saw the response, I couldn’t help but ask Mandy a few questions about what was going on behind the scenes, in her life, and faith, and art.

In response to my questions, Mandy humbly apologized for not having all the answers. But what she went on to say provided a more deep, thoughtful response to my questions than if she had tried to conjure up pat answers. This is great, because acknowledging that we don’t have it all together provides the space needed to grow.  Here’s what she had to say:

I am just at the beginning of this journey with Him as an artist…He’s unfolding a bit at a time, and that blog post was just the next step for me. It’s real and raw because it’s right where I’m at and I’m asking these questions right along with you and the others who took interest in my post.

In response to what advice she would give other artists regarding their artistic aspirations and reconciling their craft with their faith, Mandy added:

Ask Him to reveal personal and unique answers & next steps and then sit back and watch all the channels through which He’ll talk to you: books, music, movies, children, friends, other artists, nature. For me personally some of the more non-traditional channels (meaning not the church and the Bible) are how I’m hearing Him the loudest right now. I can’t explain that, but I’m oh so thankful for it. He’s meeting me where I’m at.

I would say, be an artist who has the audacity to believe that God can, will, and does speak to you, personally. There is no formula to hearing from God. And really, would we want there to be? We’re artists. We love mystery, variety, exploration, the chase. We love to unlock hidden secrets. What works today may not work tomorrow.

When I have more to say on the topic of church and art and faith I’m sure it will pour out easily into words because they’ll be His words. For now I’m wrestling.  In the meantime, I would say to other artists, don’t wait on me or any other person to get your answers from. Start seeking God for your own answers. You might be surprised what He reveals.

I’m grateful for artists like Mandy, who are chasing after their God-given dreams and making personal, communal, Kingdom-minded art.

Many Steward, who writes the great blog, Messy Canvas, wrote a very provocative post a couple days ago titled I’m Tired of Being a Christian.

I saw the link to the post on Twitter, and to be quite honest, I passed, because I feel like I’ve read my fair share of I’m-over-religion-esque posts. But I kept seeing it re-tweeted, again and again, so I gave in and clicked. It was worth it. Mandy wrestles with her faith and the artist that she is called to be. And more importantly, she deals honestly and thoughtfully about what it means to live a life of devoted faith, creating meaningful art.

After I read the post, and found myself nodding in agreement through the entire thing, I asked Mandy if she would be willing to do a Q&A on the heart of the post; art and faith. She agreed, and I will be posting our online conversation in the next few days.

If you have a question for Mandy, leave it here in the comments and I will pass it along. Until then, wrestle with the ideas in her post.

Yoda Easy Chair by Kenneth Cobonpue

 From: Painted Faith: Traditional New Mexican Devotional Images

Isolated from the Viceroyalty, the Spanish crown’s appointed administrator in Mexico City, by distance, geography, and climate, New Mexico’s settlers and their descendents produced a unique culture, a derivative of both Old and New World precedents. With a healthy dose of indigenous Pueblo knowledge and an occasional infusion of outside models, the Hispanic culture of New Mexico was hybrid, idiosyncratic, and entirely endemic. Music, food, and other cultural expressions developed a particular inflection that marks them as specifically New Mexico. There is no better example of this localization than santos, the uniquely New Mexican devotional images. Derived from a much broader tradition of Christian imagery, representations of saints took on novel aspects as they were “translated” by santeros into a local style. European saints were made specifically addressable on a more intimate level by undergoing a transformation into a New Mexican visual idiom that favored simplicity, linearity, and striking graphic effect…

Traditional santeros, or saint makers, were respected figures in their society. They were expected to be exemplary citizens with a deep commitment to the faith. They were not expected to perform miracles or experience visions, but rather, were to produce sacred images that, like the Byzantine icon or the medieval miraculous image, would carry the supernatural and divine power of the saint or divine figure portrayed. Santeros, almost exclusively male, were trained by their fathers or other elders and spent a lifetime developing a personal representational style. Santeros produced recognizable, distinctly individual techniques and styles, while never straying too far from the known iconography.

Give The Gift of Water

Sam Mahlstadt —  December 2, 2010 — 1 Comment

The Move Project has a current partner, Gifts of Water, that is on the ground, fighting to provide access to clean water for those who currently don’t have access to the precious necessity.

This holiday season, TMP is joining the Gifts of Water team challenge, to band together our tribe and give the gift of clean water.

We have created a team, and this is your invitation to join! All you have to do is go to The Move Project’s team page, and choose how you want to give; it’s super simple and pain-free. You can either give:

  • by texting WMI to 85944
  • by paypal
  • by snail mail

There you have it! It’s truly is that simple.

After we have all donated, the Gifts of Water folks will send our team a video clip of the very people we provided with clean water. I personally can’t think of a better gift this holiday season.