I think it is good to push myself beyond my comfort zone and opportunities come at surprising times. Last weekend my family went out to our local Bible camp and conference centre as volunteers for their big spring clean up. Lots of maintenance and preparation was required for new equipment to come in. Yep, this is not kids camp as you remember it. This place is decked out with amazing toys! Situated on Ness Lake, the camp has the usual canoes, Kayaks, and cabins, but they also have a huge jungle swing, a zip line that runs high above the ground, an indoor climbing wall, and gymnasium. This year's big project was to clear treed area for the new high wire course that is being installed. These facilities are used to challenge kids and adults alike to physical and spiritual strengths they never knew they had. Once the work was done, we were able to check out the equipment. I have never climbed before so I was thrilled to be able to use the climbing wall. My kids and the dad-guy all climbed as well. Fun stuff!
I spent some time 'in the moment' today. As soon as everyone had gone off to work and school, I took the dogs and headed down the road for a walk. It was cool out, perhaps only +3. The moon, full and round was still visible in the west. We walked quickly in the crisp air and I could hear the panting of the dogs, my clothing brushing on itself, a few brave birds, and...what was that? Large rustling from the bush to my left. Thanks to the heavy winds of last week, the trees were bare and I was able to see a cow moose get up from her bed to look at me. I am always amazed at how big they are! Their ears are no less than 8 inches high. They looked like awkward teenagers with their long skinny legs. I whispered a silent prayer that she would not see me as a threat. We were so close together, her and I, looking at one another. She made no aggressive move toward me and I could enjoy her beauty while the dogs and I walked past. My large dog let out a low growl and I hushed her. It was a beautiful moment !
This cow was standing outside our dinning room window last winter. She looks very much like the moose I saw today.
It is Sunday. A day of work for me. I keep Saturday as a day of rest (see commandment #4 in the 10 commandments). My whole family does, therefore Sunday becomes a day of work for us. Typically I spend Sundays planning the next week of teaching. I have 4 classes to plan for, 3 in New Media: Multimedia (2nd year course), Intro to the Web (1st year course), Illustration (1st year course), and 1 in Fine Art: First Nations Art and Technology (1st year course). Most of the classes have a digital element using software of various persuasions and the lesson plans must be updated every 6 months to a year to keep up with changes in the industry. Just that alone can make a person insane! A seasoned teacher of Fine Art at the high school level gave me this advice: " Don't try to keep up with the software, you'll never do it! Just structure your classes as a series of problems to be solved, the software being one of the tools used." I knew this, I used it all the time when homeschooling, but somehow I did not transfer the technique directly to my digital classes. I gave out problem solving assignments, but still thought I had to be the software guru as well. The students expect it, but realistically they will not have access to me at home, or after graduation, so they might as well start solving these problems on their own, right now. Perhaps human nature can be compared to water, if not challenged, it will take the path of least resistance.
This is a mixed media piece I've been working on, mostly pastel work. I love using the pastels because I can really lay it on thick then scrape off layers to reveal colour that is underneath. I like to work hard on my pieces and sometimes it looks great and other times it looks, well, overworked. Robert Murray who was one of the art mentors at Well's artist's retreat last year, after viewing some of my work, asked me if I was going to beat up my next art piece.
I guess I can be hard on the paper, if you look at the detailed photos of this work, it is scored fairly deep with lines, and words. I just like to work from the inside out, whatever is inside me works its way into my art, that includes scrapes and gouges. This piece is one I started with pencil sketches a while ago, I have a name for it, but I don't think it clearly reflects the piece. What do you think I should call it?
My latest pastel sketch, called Seven. It is inspired by the New Testament version of a happening during Shauvot, a Hebrew feast in Acts 2:1. Man endeavers to describe his encounters with God in many different historical writings. I am thinking about what Shavout could mean to my own spiritual growth and for that, I am not sure, but I feel connected visually through color and imagination and I guess that is what you see here.
This is a detail of an encaustic collage I did, recently posted to my flickr account. I had a comment on this piece from artist Femke van Delft that she thought it very funny that an aboriginal person would be using bits and pieces of a National Geographic magazine to make art. Who knew?
This is the day I rest. It began at sundown and will carry on until the same is reached again. This is where my sanity lies every week. Without it, I would surely die. Thanks to the One for the this day He made for us. Adoni Elohim, I bless your name.
I would like to republish a comment I made to Sirdar Inc. under the heading of "Seven Great Lies of Organized Religion." You can go to the blog to read the entire post and comments. when I am thinking on paper , sometimes I am able to make connectionw where I previously could not. Its funny, I do a lot of reading, (NOT the Harlequin romance kind), and I store a lot of information, but none is so satifying as to see the different sources of information fitting together to make a more complete understanding of things. Here is my post:
The article you quoted Lorne (*note to blog readers, Lorne is the owner of Sirdar Inc.) states that there can only be one Truth. Perhaps there is only one Truth, but could it be expressed in different ways? For example, how many ways can the number 12 be expressed? My kids have to do this in school. The teacher calls them "names" how many names does the number 12 have? one ten and 2 ones, 1x12, 2x6, 3x4, etc. They are all the truth and they all equal 12.
There is a separation of secular (concrete) thinking from spiritual (abstract) thinking in our world, but really one just exists above or underneath the other, the same way microscopes and telescopes bring into view other levels of life that exist above or underneath our bodies. I find it curious that *brilliant* scientific minds will deny or explain away the spiritual side of what they are researching. Not all though, Einstein said, "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind" The two are inseparable. It would be interesting to find out how much medical research considers the spiritual when looking for things like the cure for cancer. One this happens, I believe we will really see progress. But as long as people keep separating their spiritual from the secular sides of their nature, they will only see one or the other, but not both. Even Christian believers will separate the two. I work 6 days, I worship on one day. I guess with this in mind, I see world religions as *works in progress*; each may possess *truth* but none has it in its entirety. The same goes for individuals.
But I guess I am compelled to ask, why so much fuss? Why not just live your life like a bug, here today, squished tomorrow? I think that there will always be a search for *God*. And for those who are even a tiny way towards understanding *God* the search for Him can bring a level of joy previously unexperienced in ones life. People *want* to believe. Even C.S. Lewis who was quoted in your article wanted to believe and it is evident in the passion of his writing. Deepak Chopra (not a Christian), who is a medical doctor states in his book, "How to Know God" that the human brain is "hardwired to seek God" and then goes on to describe how much of the human brain is set aside to deal with emotion and questions about who we are and where we come from. Dr. Candace Pert, Neurologist says, "Intelligence is distributed throughout the cells of one's body, not just the brain." She goes on to say that therefore the traditional separation of knowledge including emotion is no longer valid. There has been some interesting research around this in regards to heart disease. The theory is that those (men) who are suffering from depression and loneliness are more at risk to heart disease. Dr. Pert believes that is because some of that emotion is actually stored in the tissue of the heart. I hope I am not off on a tangent and you can see where I am going with this...
The secret desire of all human beings is to be unconditionally loved; and this is what propels us toward God. He is unconditional love so large that when you are living in its shadow it encompassed you, flows through you and spills out on to every one else standing near. Unconditional love is the answer to death, disease, joy, fulfillment and happiness. If Dr. Pert is right, then it (the love) can lodge itself in the very tissues of our heart. Now here is where I relate all this back to my beliefs, so bare with me.
The Bible says, I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (Hebrews 8:10), the total sum of the 10 commandments equals *LOVE* Jesus told us this in the new testament in two ways, John 13:34, A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, just like I have loved you; that you also love one another." and Matthew 5:17 "Think not that I am come to destroy the law (Torah, or the first 5 books of the bible), or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." He came in love, to love, and to be loved and to write that unconditional love on the very tissues of our hearts.
Think of it! The love of God can be stored in the tissues of our hearts!!!
The Bible also says, "by their fruits, ye shall know them." If an individual or group is not teaching unconditional love, they are headed on a path away from "Truth". That goes for secular and religious groups. So you might be an atheist or an agnostic, what are the fruits of your existence? Are they love or hate, greed and selfishness? For what its worth, that's what I think.
One more thing. Don't confuse "organized religion" with faith in God. I am currently unaffiliated with organized religion for a very good reason.
I was listening to a "rebroadcast" of Ideas on CBC the other night. The speaker was Ronald Wright. He was going on about the possibility of Neanderthals and the Cro-Magnons coexisiting peacefully in the area know as the Middle East, Neanderthals in the North and Co-Magnons in the south. The middle, he says, was sort of a meeting ground. Now, I don't know about you, but I was taught that the Neanderthals were big hairy bruits who walked upright but carried a big stick. But Ronald paints a picture of individuals whose brain capacity was much larger than Cro-magnon, and whose bodies were well adapted to the cold of the north where they lived. For example, sloping foreheads meant less surface area exposed to the wind, protecting the brain from becoming dangerously chilled. If those of you with these facial features today have now gained a new respect for your appearance, I have done a good thing. Of course, if you believe you were made in the image of a super-creative being, God, as I do, you won't have to worry where that heavy set of brows came from.
Ever racked your brains to come with just the right word or description for something? Here is a phrase that perfectly describes its speaker: Ehyeh Asher Ehyer is translated (from Hebrew) as I AM THAT I AM. This is what God said when Moses asked Him what he called himself.(see: Exod. 3:14, 3:15). Now hold on those of you who are not believers, don't change the channel, this is interesting! Upon closer study, I find that the word Ehyeh can be roughly translated: I am or I will be. The word Asher is a unique Hebrew word as it can mean, "that, who, or where" individually or simultaniously. In English we have many tenses, but in biblical Hebrew there are only two main tenses, the "perfect" tense describes actions that are completed such as I walked, I did walk, while the "imperfect" tense describes actions that are incomplete such as I will walk, I might walk. The "Ehyeh" verb can be either one of these. So possible translations for Ehyeh Asher Ehyer could be:
I will be that I will be
I will be who I will be
I will be which I will be
I will be where I will be
I am he who was, am, and will be (ibid.)
The statement by which God calls himself more than a philosophical phrase, it is the description of a self-existant and eternal being. There is no more that can be said! Amazing!
"Man transcends space, and time transcends man... We all take part in a procession through its realm which never comes to an end but are unable to gain a foothold in it....Space is exposed to our will; we may shape and change the things in space as we please." - quote from The Sabbath, Abraham Joshua Heschel.
I think it is because man has no foothold on time that he becomes obsessed with shaping and changing things from 'time' into 'space'. When I create, I want to capture, preserve and shape a moment in time. By changing from time to space, I am able to do that. It is a similar desire when sports fans with a remote hit replay. Or when the 5 year old who loves the funny face you just made says, "do it again!" Or when we take photos. These are all ways in which we convert time into space. This has become a common exercise for people in the western world as they somehow have attached proof of their existence to things in space rather than ideas in time. My question then is, if time is eternal, and space is not, then shouldn't we be leaving a legacy in time rather than space? Through my art, I can work out ideas about relationships, life, longevity, morals and values. Art can be a catalyst, the way to open the door to more meaningful thought, especially thought about what meaning our lives have when we can only hope to occupy space for 80 to 90 years. I like to think about converting my existence in space to existence in time through a relationship with the Creator of all. How about you?