Posts Tagged ‘peace’

I occasionally wrestle with peace. Now to be clear, I have no problem with peace. I love peace, I try to live out Paul’s admonition from Romans 12:18 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” That being said I sometimes wonder if people really get peace. When we say peace, what are we talking about? Inner peace? outer peace? world peace? My heart in all of this is I’m not sure there is a lot we can do with world peace, beyond living out Romans 12:18, what I really want to help work with is helping people find peace with God. I really want to create a piece of art that expresses my heart for what I see as real peace.

There are a lot of symbols of peace out there, but I want to create something that really shows real peace. How would you express peace visually?

I’d love to hear your comments or better yet see your ideas.

Last night I went to my class reunion. We did something unique this year. The organizers decided to open it up to five years of graduating classes which turned out to be quite a nice evening of reconnecting. What struck me was on the way home and now today, something was different… something is different. I’ve always had a good time while I was at the event. I’ve been to all but one (maybe two) of the reunions, and they’ve always been nice, but afterwards I’d slip into this sort of melancholy. I could never quite figure it out. I think I have now.

It’s quite simple really… I’m happy. You see in the past, I felt like I had most of my ducks in a row. Great wife, great kids, little house in the country. Those parts of my life have always been great, but there was one piece that never really clicked. I never felt like I was living up to my potential. Oh I was doing some interesting things, but I never really felt like they mattered that much. I was making art. I had jobs that paid the bills. I was even doing ministry, but it always felt like I wasn’t really hitting my stride in any of those areas. I’d hear other people’s stories and think man I wish I had done better here or changed this or done that. I wondered what might have been had I finished my degree or made a different career decision or maybe just applied myself. This year was different.

It’s not so much that I feel like I’ve arrived. It isn’t that I feel like I’ve conquered the world. Again, really simply, I’m happy. I’m looking forward to more growth and more learning and hopefully gaining more ground for the Kingdom. I have no desire to rest on my laurels but there is finally some contentment and peace. I’m happy.

The sad thing is I could have been happy all along. I just needed a little more gratitude and a willingness to enjoy the journey. Please learn that lesson. It will make you (and everyone around you) a lot happier.

People need to make commercials like this. It’s a true story of an unofficial truce that really happened in 1914 in World War I. This is what Christmas is supposed to do. He came that we might have life and have it to the full. And while this video is a story is of a temporary peace, (as is all earthly peace) Jesus came to give us peace with God. That peace lasts forever.
Thanks Sainsbury’s for telling a better story!

Here is the background on the video.

This post is not about politics, you may agree or disagree with the presenter of this Ted Talk, Israeli graphic designer Ronny Edry. Here’s what the Ted Site says about the video.

When war between Israel and Iran seemed imminent, Israeli graphic designer Ronny Edry shared a poster on Facebook of himself and his daughter with a bold message: “Iranians … we [heart] you.” Other Israelis quickly created their own posters with the same message — and Iranians responded in kind. The simple act of communication inspired surprising Facebook communities like “Israel loves Iran,” “Iran loves Israel” and even “Palestine loves Israel.”

Whether you agree with his sentiments or not, you can see the power of an image. People who have been at odds for millennia see an image that tells a better story and all of the sudden they want to be a part of the movement. That’s the power of a story and an image. Our creative ideas can make people think. They can change hearts and minds. Now take it a step further and imagine images empowered by the Spirit of God what could happen? I think the possibilities are endless.

So here’s what you need to do? Look for the burden on your heart. I know that sounds churchy, but it’s easy to find. It’s the thing that worries you. The thing that weighs on your mind. The thing you look at and think Someone should really do something about that. That’s your burden. Now take it to God in prayer and ask God to anoint your creativity to the end of making a difference about it. Then and this is really important. Get to work, finish it and ship it. Get it out there in front of as many people as possible. You may just find God will use you to start a movement. At the very least, He will ease your burden and let you know you’ve been faithful. You’ve done something.

Okay I’ll be the first one to admit, I didn’t have a lot of time to think this out, I woke up with it and acted on it. I just had a dream. I don’t claim it to be prophetic and I pray it wasn’t. In my dream I was at a mall when a message came over the loud speakers to evacuate the mall. I began to move for the exits when they announced that a germ had been released into the mall, I was running, then walking, then I wanted to run but couldn’t, I started to panic, then everything went black and I woke up. Not a great dream, but it birthed a great dream.

As I woke up, I started to pray. I started to ask God to protect us and keep that kind of stuff from happening, to overcome these kinds of threats in our world and these thoughts started to flow. I started to think what is terrorism. Sometimes they are large acts that hurt a lot of people, but sometimes they are relatively small acts (in scope) that make a lot of people afraid. I started to think of the beltway shooters from a couple of years ago. If you know one of their victims, your loss was great and I don’t mean to minimize it at all, but they shot a very small percentage of the people who drove those roads. The larger effect was they made everyone afraid to drive in the area. A relatively small act created massive chaos. That’s what terrorism does, it spread terror. It makes us afraid.

The next thoughts were how do we combat that? At first I thought of great acts of heroism, and I’d like to hope if there was ever a time when I needed to be heroic, that God would give me the grace to step up and do it. On my own I’m not that brave. Then I had a different thought. Heroism is hard and we all (or at least most of us)have doubts whether we would have the courage to be heroic, but if small acts of terror make a lot of people afraid, what would small acts dedicated to bringing joy do. Would joy spread like terror spreads? I think it would. The thought of the word Joyism came to mind. I din’t know if that’s copyrighted, and I hope it’s nothing dirty if it is, but what if we did that. What if we devoted ourselves to doing one thing each day that? I know people have often talked about random acts of kindness, I know this is nothing new, I don’t claim any originality in this, and any glory to come of it goes straight to God. The challenge is simple, do something that will bring someone joy and maybe, just maybe, joy will spread and the more people to do it the more joyful we will be. After all the Scriptures say perfect love drives out fear and as a small speck of light turns back the darkness, so small acts of love can turn back our fears.

We all talk about changing the world and we usually get intimidated because that seems too big. A lot of times this makes us do nothing, so pray for and look for an opportunity to do something small to make someone’s day better and then keep doing it. And whatever you do, do it with great love to the glory of God. Spread the Word about Joyism. Small things done with great love WILL make a huge difference. Share your comments and stories here.

Sometimes one needs to reassess one’s purpose. The purpose of this blog has always been to help creatives to use their gifts in ministry as well as their Spiritual lives in general. For that purpose, a few days ago, I posted my cartoon reflections from our recent church conference. I sketched the cartoons as I listened to some very difficult business sessions. They expressed my emotions in the moment and posting it was sort of like sharing my diary with the world. These were honest impressions of the things I was feeling, a sort of journal, if you will. My hope in sharing this was that the folks who regularly read this blog would see ways to use their gift to deal with their internal struggles in a positive outlet. That was the purpose. Now here’s what happened.

The cartoons were posted to at least one website for my denomination. That’s okay with me, I post these ideas in the hopes that they will spread. The good news is the previous record number of hits in one day for this blog was tripled and we had some really good interaction as a result. The bad news is several people were offended by my cartoons. Offense was not my intent but it happened.

So what can we do about offense? Well the first most honest answer is almost nothing. Nearly anything we do in this world is going to offend someone and the only way an artist can be completely inoffensive is to do work that will please everyone. I doubt it’s possible and if we tried the work would probably be completely bland and say nothing. When it comes to creative self expression, with few exceptions, everything you do will offend someone. Add a faith component to your work and the potential for offense goes up exponentially.

Perhaps the best advice I can give is to avoid being intentionally offensive for the purpose of being offensive. Don’t be hurtful. Adhere to the golden rule and love others. Speak the truth in love. From that point on, realize almost everything will upset someone. Listen to your detractors with an open heart and make a decision. If you’ve been wrong, take it down (I did that with one of my cartoons) but if you feel you’re right, sign your name to it, own it and stand by it. We can’t always be inoffensive but we must always be loving. Sometimes speaking the truth in love is offensive. Neither truth nor love can be omitted. Truth without love is mean and love without truth is a lie.

Offend as rarely as possible but sooner or later if you are true to your calling, you will offend. Jesus couldn’t avoid it, neither can we.

Wow, what a day! First of all, I want to thank whoever posted the link to my conference cartoons on your site. Please tell me who you are and about your site so I can share it. When I awoke this morning at 5:00 I was amazed to see that we had passed 150 hits for the day and at this moment we have surpassed the record number of hits for the day. What’s funny is I almost didn’t post those cartoons. It was sort of like posting my diary for the world to see. The conversation it has caused thus far has convinced me it was the right move and I thank all those who have joined the conversation. The conversation has led me to a topic I have been thinking of for some time. That topic is passion.

The denomination I am a part of is called a “traditional peace church” and to be really honest, the peace position always drove me a little crazy. It’s still a struggle of mine. My passion is evangelism and in this world it just kind of seemed that there were too many people who had to be reached to deal with an “unattainable goal” like world peace. I used to say things like “lay down your peace sign and take up your cross” and “World peace? We don’t have peace in our families and in our pews and you want to talk world peace?. The pacifists really drove me crazy. Why were they so emphatic about peace? There are more important things to be done.

Lately though I’ve been seeing something that has helped. It’s called passion. I’m coming to believe that passion is something God puts in us—something that fires us up and motivates us—something that causes us to need to act. Maybe God has made me passionate about evangelism and them passionate about peace and someone else passionate about something else and on and on and on. What if instead of being frustrated by one another, instead of wondering why they can’t be passionate about what we are passionate about, we cheered each other on? What if we realized we’re all on the same team with the same ultimate goal? What would happen if we all gave our best to our God given passions and loved each other? What would happen if diversely passionate people worked together for the good of the Kingdom of God? Seems to me we might just have a better functioning body of Christ. After all a body is not made up of one part but of many.

Don’t follow your passions, follow Christ, then let Him use your passions to further His Kingdom.