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.

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.

Fingerprints of God in ‘Secular’ Film – Article

Can we find the fingerprints of God in the stories of our culture?

There is a great book by Don Richardson called “Eternity In Their Hearts” that talks about the ways every culture has remnants of God’s truth remaining from creation. The book approaches the subject from a point-of-view of cross-cultural missions, but I find that it helps me to think about how my own multi-faceted culture also bears the fingerprints of God in its stories, even if God is rejected on the surface.

TEG PosterOur film, The Enemy God, tells the story of the Yanomamö people in the Amazon and  how there were seeds of truth about God present in their own traditional stories. However, these truths were twisted until they became a curse to the people.

Rather than merely react and shun the creative work of our culture, is it possible to use the stories and myths and passions that we find in Hollywood and independent films to point people to Christ? The article below by Garrett Brown encourages us to look into popular film to see the points of connection, the ways ‘Common Grace’ may be found, as a means to build understanding and relationship. These conversations, in relationship, may be the beginning of a journey to faith, even if the starting point of the story is despair. Perhaps, especially when the story begins with despair?

Article: Temple of the Unknown God

What ways do you see bridges to conversations about God in the popular culture around you, in the lives of your neighbors and friends?

Forming Artists to Reform Culture « StoneWorks

Forming Artists to Reform Culture – We’re pleased to be connected with Stoneworks, an organization that shares our passion for creative expression of faith.

We’re pleased to be connected with Stoneworks, an organization that shares our passion for creative expression and the desparate need of our world to hear from artists who can speak in compelling and authentic ways about the redemption we have in Christ. Here’s how Stoneworks describes their vision.:

Forming Artists to Reform Culture

StoneWorks is a global arts initiative for cultural restoration and the recovery of the imagination in the life and mission of the church.

StoneWorks exists to articulate a global vision for Christians in the arts, to clarify the biblical and theological mandate for the arts, to affirm what artists are sensing that God is doing through the arts around the world, and to call Christians to be a part of it.

While I was away in Africa recently, a new link to our ministry, 10X Productions, was created on the new Stoneworks web page. We appreciate the opportunity to connect with others through their network, and encourage you to check out the other artists and organizations who are doing amazing things around the world.

Here’s the link to our post on Stoneworks-arts.org: 10X Productions « StoneWorks.

viaRenovo – a way worth taking

I was intrigued by several articles on this site today. Check out the new post by Ron Reed: A&F 100: Spiritually Significant Films. How many of these are on your list of influential and significant films? What impact do films like these make on the spiritual conversations of our cultures?

There are many more insightful posts and links on viaRenovo. Here’s  the point:

viaRenovo is committed to seeing the world through redemptive eyes, seeking to join with God in his restoration of all things through the power of the gospel and His transformative grace.

Visit the site: viaRenovo

Films In Sarajevo: Where Is Redemption?

“Fatalism, Pride, Pain, Mockery, Shame, Apathy… These are the recurring themes in the films that I have been attending at this year’s film festival here in Sarajevo.”

I recently read this blog article from a woman in the Balkans and her thoughts about the place of art in culture. What messages are spoken in our music, films, painting, and dance? They certainly reflect our various stories and can tell of hope and despair, sometimes in the same moment.

“Fatalism, Pride, Pain, Mockery, Shame, Apathy… These are the recurring themes in the films that I have been attending at this year’s film festival here in Sarajevo. After three days of faithfully showing up to my ticketed seat, the heavier I feel inside when I walk out, as if my spirit is hiding from the uncertainty and oppression I am taking in with my eye and ear gates.

First of all, I love where I live, and I truly love these people. I understand them, even though they would say that I have no idea, that I’m just another American trying to come here and help. But behind that, I hear the voice of rejection, abandonment and fear. So attending this film festival has reconfirmed to me that I am exactly where I am supposed to be.”

Read more here: films-in-sarajevo-where-is-redemption