The Sacred Transition

Sam Mahlstadt —  September 10, 2010 — 1 Comment

Many believers come to a place in their faith journey where they realize that they are called to ministry, in their context. The realization that you – yes, you – can take part in ministry, put your hand to the plow, is both daunting and incredibly freeing. It will change your life.

It’s a sacred transition.

From observer to participant.

I long for artists in the Church to make this transition with their craft (starting with their mindset). To knock down the walls they have allowed to be built around them. Walls built brick by brick, lie by lie, over time.

Your craft is important to the Church, because your creative expression reflects the Creator who continues to speak into the darkness and call forth light.

If you have made that mental, sacred transition, I challenge you to do everything in your power to equip and encourage those around you. .

If you haven’t made that transition yet, please do. Look around you, take note of all the blips of hope and love and grace and mercy in your life and craft, and act on that. The Church, and the world need it.

Artist Ministers

Sam Mahlstadt —  September 9, 2010 — 1 Comment

I wrote a guest post a bit ago over at the artFWD blog, called The Artist Minister. This is a concept that has recently become a great burden to me; linking the ministry of the church with creative expression driven by the Holy Spirit.

We have lots of great pastors in the Church. No question. We have many great leaders, speakers and artists. The problem I see, however, is that we as the American Church have bought in to the “do what only you can do, and do that” to the point that leaders in the church work hard on their one thing, and get to the point where there is no reliance on the Spirit. They aren’t tapped in to the Spirit that created beauty out of chaos because they don’t need to be in order to do their thing.

They can produce and give a talk with little trouble. Sure they pray and study, but giving the talk, that’s what they do. We have great creative talent in the church, but they are the only ones in many churches acting on the creative force that lives in every believer. If a creative element is needed, well, go to the creative guy.

That is a lie that is crippling our churches.

We need more artist ministers. And we need them now.

Closer to Creation

James Finley —  September 7, 2010 — Leave a comment

A man and his father were sitting by the fire discussing the greatest love story ever told, one that hadn’t even come to pass yet. The artistry of this storyteller made the fire crackle in sorrow at the saddest points and at other moments roar at the hilarity and genius. At the end of the story, the father stood and said, “Let there be light,” and there was. With mere words, this declaration rolled across the heavens. The next day he spoke again, unfurling a great story, and the sky came to separate water from water. Each day seemingly simple declarations created the most complex things.

Near the end of the week, the artist stepped down and scooped up some mud in the palm of his hand. He delighted in it, his son standing beside him. From the mud, he formed a design of his likeness, to the wonder of all his prior work that roamed the ground, soared through the sky, and swam in the oceans and seas. He breathed into the mud and, with a stumble, it gazed back at him.

Each of the creatures that were created that week were brought to the man of mud, and to each a name was given. The imagination of the father’s greatest creation was impressive by far, from lion to tiger to bear, this man of mud named them all.

And yet, there was one more thing to be done. The man of mud could not be lonely, so as the man slept in the afternoon sun, the father took a rib from the man’s side and formed another, though different, to complete him. When the man awoke, in awe, he called his new friend “woman.”

Finally, the father sat back with his son by the fire and rested. All that they had created was good. Not a single blemish, not a single bad thing. And this was just the beginning of a great romance.

You see, for me, I look around at Creation around us and realize that all of it couldn’t exist without passion, love, and hope. The father knew the story before the first declaration exploded across the cosmos. He knew all the bad that would come, knew the sacrifices that would need to be made. Yet, despite the betrayal of this man of mud, he pushed through with passion. You see, the father knew the end too, knew that his son would pursue a bride of his creation to the ends of the earth, and that the great romance would not be in vain.

I look around and see all the imagination, all the problem solving, all the logic and all the code that was written by the father. In awe, I ponder the instantaneous reaction of my leg going before me to catch me as a walk forward. This great problem solver, the first programmer, not only created, but also gave this man of mud the imagination to also create. He didn’t want us to simply exist as the beasts, running on routines and subroutines; he wanted us to go beyond our initial programming.

My inspiration as I sit behind my computer day after day is this. Despite the pain of misplaced semicolons, the torture of infinite logic loops, and the sorrow of single character mishaps, the outcome is greater. It has meaning. I feel closer to creation when I create, when I make things that didn’t exist before. It is of great joy that I am doing this to help people find their way back to God. I create so that others may know my creator.

21st Century Sabbath

Sam Mahlstadt —  September 4, 2010 — Leave a comment

Just enjoyed a nice break at the lake. A nice place for a sabbatical, if you ask me.

Do you have a system for scheduling regular respite for your soul?

If so, where do you go / what do you do?

Art is driven by story. Whoever actually understands the story – captures the essence of the human story – that person, there’s just space for them.

From the Catalyst podcast. The entire interview is inspiring. Artist/minister gold.