Thursday, July 21, 2011

Unwielded Words

If I used my words well, like my dear friend urges;
Then our conversation would have looked different.
If I had been obedient,
To the gentle tugging
On my twisted insides,
Maybe we both could have grown in understanding.

But instead,
I spoke swiftly with a stammer,
Figited too much,
Rushed through my answers,
Avoiding your eye contact.

The consequences are real.
Sitting here, wishing I’d been bolder;
That my normally brazen nature;
Filled with unfiltered ideas hadn’t fallen short.

Surely I’ll make excuses
Because I can’t stand the guilt,
Or swallow the truth for that matter.

For now the pendulum swings
Between disappointment and hope
Knowing it doesn’t rely on my ability to perform
Wishing it was easier to tell the truth;
The truth about You.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Artist's Theology - Let them talk.

My pastor posted this excerpt from one of Vincent Van Gogh's letters to his brother Theo in October of 1884. I found it so illuminating that I could not resist re-posting it for whomever may stumble upon this blog.

“I tell you, if one wants to be active, one must not be afraid of going wrong, one must not be afraid of making mistakes now and then. Many people think that they will become good just by doing no harm - but that’s a lie, and you yourself used to call it that. That way lies stagnation, mediocrity.
Just slap anything on when you see a blank canvas staring you in the face like some imbecile. You don’t know how paralyzing that is, that stare of a blank canvas is, which says to the painter, You can’t do a thing. The canvas has an idiotic stare and mesmerises some painters so much that they turn into idiots themselves. Many painters are afraid in front of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas is afraid of the real, passionate painter who dares and who has broken the spell of `you can’t’ once and for all.
Life itself, too, is forever turning an infinitely vacant, dispiriting blank side towards man on which nothing appears, any more than it does on a blank canvas. But no matter how vacant and vain, how dead life may appear to be, the man of faith, of energy, of warmth, who knows something, will not be put off so easily. He wades in and does something and stays with it, in short, he violates, “defiles” - they say. Let them talk, those cold theologians.”  - Vincent Van Gogh
Action to avoid passivity and assimilation.
Love to overcome hollow theology.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Promises in Pencil

I’ve never been a fan of using pencil. In fact, I pride myself as a fancy pen person. I love the feel of my Pilot G2 05 as the smooth gel ink glides effortlessly across the paper. In college I arrogantly took my Calculus and Physics exams in pen. I couldn’t stand the idea of the faint ghosting of frantic erasing all over my exams.  Sometimes now, I even bust out my quill pen and ink well to write in calligraphy. That act, dipping the iron tip and placing each stroke feels incredibly intentional; almost concrete, each word full of meaning. No room for error and no eraser for mistakes.

However, when I write in pencil it feels hesitant, uncommitted. Like when people I loved used to promise me things and I knew they didn’t mean it. I grew weary of their empty words; tired of their lies. I became adamantly opposed to saying I promise; calloused and bitter towards people who carelessly threw them around like a cheap imitation of sincerity.

Yet, I’ve been drawing promises in pencil for quite some time now. I pencil in my best guess and promptly smear it with the hopes that when I miss the mark, it is nearly illegible. I leave it in the sunlight knowing that the rays will bleach the graphite. I bargain and barter and make false claims signing my allegiance in pencil hoping that when it’s revisited, He will have forgotten and my faded signature will be unrecognizable.

I imagine that the One who sees infinitely more that I can grows just as weary of my penciled promises and hollow words as I once did. He knows when I beg and barter to do better if He would only______ that I’m just searching for a means to an end, trying to gain the upper hand. I can only claim ignorance for so long. Imitation will no longer do, for You, I cannot deceive.