Ministry of Presence (Nowen) – Urban Entry

More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people…Still, it is not as simple as it seems…

“More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their doorsteps, play ball, throw water, and be known as someone who wants to live with them.  It is a privilege to have the time to practice this simple ministry of presence.  Still, it is not as simple as it seems…”

A friend of mine, Scott Lundeen, runs a ministry called Urban Entry here in Denver. He creates media resources to help envision and equip people to engage in relationships and service among the poor and marginalized in our communities. I think they’re doing some cool stuff.

This video was just posted on his blog site. It is based on a quote from Henri Nowen and gets right to the heart of a struggle we often face. Those of us who are acculturated for performance and delivering measurable results as a way of measuring our worth do well to consider Jesus’ call to be in relationship first. It’s what Nowen refers to as a ‘ministry of presence.’ Check it out.

Do you feel the same struggle in your vocation or avocation to make a difference in peoples’ lives? Do you feel envious of programs that get media attention or that are better resourced. Do you feel pressure to ‘achieve’ in a way that ultimately takes you ‘off the streets’?

I sometimes whine about my sad lot – that it’s difficult to see how I can sustain what God has called me to do, that I feel pressure to jump on the social media train that demands I become ‘famous’ in order to become influential and effective. But I feel God’s correction when I really am with the people I want to serve: with my film students, on Skype calls with friends in Africa who teach me as much as I want to teach them, these are the moments of reality and clarity.

My prayer for you is that you have many of those moments, even in the midst of the “necessary” things that shadow the life-giving things.

Creative Constraint – Mashable

…no matter what the resources, budget, etc. we always push ’til there’s nothing left — and then complain about the limitations.

When there are no boundaries, the possibilities may seem too large. That’s why some of the greatest art and innovation has come from a situation of constraint.

My experience has been that, no matter what the resources, budget, etc. we always push ’til there’s nothing left — and then complain about the limitations. And I know I can do this whether I’ve got a million dollars or nothing at all.

Here’s a great article about what I’d call the blessings of constraints. I say that because I know that I do my best work when I am challenged. Actually, I’m spending my days now looking for those sorts of challenges – projects that are ‘impossible’ and with huge constraints from the start. Anyone up for a Turkish action-adventure film, a Maasai Opera, or a sitcom for refugees in South Asia?

Click this link to the Mashable article: Creative Constraint: Why Tighter Boundaries Propel Greater Results.

Love Your Audience

We want to speak about spiritual issues and confront worldviews that we see are damaging to human beings or against God’s desires for his creation. But we often approach our communication from a posture of harshness, anger, and critique that does not reveal our love for those to whom we speak.

Know your audience. Love your audience.

Does this sound insultingly obvious? It should be. I recently heard a speaker say this phrase as she was talking about Jesus’ communication style. Jesus understood and loved the people to whom he was speaking.

We want to speak about spiritual issues and confront worldviews that we see are damaging to human beings or against God’s desires for his creation. But, we often approach our communication from a posture of harshness, anger, and critique that does not reveal our love for those to whom we speak. Or, we speak in generalizations and abstractions that don’t take into account that there are real people behind ideas or systems that we oppose. Do we really believe that our ‘enemies’ are not people too, people who have their own reasons for believing the way they do, their own stories of what brought them to the places they are?

If we were to really love our audiences (even those we intend to critique), how might this change how we speak?

Stick Us Next To “Stripper Academy”

I was looking at the release schedule for our film in Australia. The company that bought the DVD rights there is set to release our film mid-September, right alongside two other films, “Universal Squadrons” and “Stripper Academy”!

I’m kind of excited to be there. Rather than being stuck in a faith-based film ghetto, a unique story of God’s grace and power is getting out to places we’d hope it would go.

MissionFest Toronto – The Enemy God Screening

The Enemy God tells the amazing true story of a Yanomamö shaman and the spiritual battle for freedom for his people. If you are in the Toronto area, you won’t want to miss this special event.

We’re please to announce a special screening of our film, The Enemy God, in Toronto on February 19th. That’s next Saturday night. It is hosted by MissionFest Toronto and will be held at Catch The Fire Ministries.

The Enemy God tells the amazing true story of a Yanomamö shaman and the spiritual battle for freedom for his people. If you are in the Toronto area, you won’t want to miss this special event. Here’s what ministry leaders have said about the film:

“This is an intense film. It is sometimes graphic; sometimes heart wrenching,  but always engaging… expect to experience   a perspective you’ve  never felt before.” – Doug Lucas, Missions Leader, Team Expansion

“…the point of Shake’s testimony is very clear. Sinful man without Christ is frightening and abhorrent. Evil spirits control him. Jesus Christ brings health, peace, and prosperity, even to isolated people like the Yanomamö.” – Dr. Ted Baehr, Movieguide.org

More information about the screening can be found at: MissionFest Toronto – The Enemy God.

Muslim, Christian Artists Journeying Together

The Arts can serve as one of the most effective mediums to build bridges of respect, understanding, sharing and friendship between East and West, Muslims and Christians.

What if we really listened to each others’ stories, saw things through others’ eyes; would it make a difference in the world?

Here’s an encouraging arts festival, beginning Feb 3 in Cairo. I wish I could be there!

Caravan 

Encouraging East and West, Muslims and Christians, to journey together through the Arts

The Arts can serve as one of the most effective mediums to build bridges of respect, understanding, sharing and friendship between East and West, Muslims and Christians. Therefore, Caravan was started by Paul-Gordon Chandler as an informal catalyst to explore and encourage the interplay between Faith and the Arts—and more specifically within the context of interfaith, encouraging Muslims and Christians to journey together through the Arts…thereby seeing the Arts used to facilitate intercultural and inter-religious dialogue.

Check out the web site: Caravan Festival of the Arts