Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Radical Faith is Born of Real Encounter

Yesterday, I spent the day as a peddler, dropping off copies of my new book, Picturing the Face of Jesus, to various pastors in the area. I am enthused about this book for several reasons. It contains gorgeous color images of Jesus and I love art! I believe the concept is very fresh and creative—each chapter describes an emotion that Jesus expressed toward individuals in different gospel stories, like “the face of welcome” (Zacchaeus) or “the face of longing” (the rich, young, ruler). What I really love is the opportunity this book provides to engage with Christ through multi-sensory exercises.

Nothing impacts us more than when we personally encounter Jesus—when we experience a transcendent moment where we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the God who created the universe has stooped down and given notice to us. Radical faith is born from those kinds of encounters!

Picturing the Face of Jesus is a book intended to help Christ become more real to you. I write with the conviction that until Jesus is real, your faith will sag: it will be weak and dispassionate, and your life will not resemble what it means to live in the way of Jesus. Radical faith is born of real encounter.” (Pg. 110)

On one of my visits yesterday, I had a conversation with a woman who leads a women’s ministry in her church. Recently, they hosted an outreach around “chocolate, coffee and comedy.” The response was overwhelming—nearly 900 women attended! My friend shared her insights that women today long to have fun and release some of the tensions built up by all the stress of life. She then commented that the challenge is knowing how strengthen their commitment to Christ.

What does ignite spiritual desire and inspire us to live radical lives of faith in Jesus? I don’t think it’s more information about Him. We need a profound encounter often facilitated through means other than words. Words connect with our thinking but often miss our hearts. What does awaken the heart are mediums like art, contemplation, and engaging the imagination.

This past week, I have been reading Picturing the Face of Jesus as if it were written by someone else. I have practiced the multi-sensory exercises, pondering the images, and responding. I have experienced tender moments when, though the art, God’s Spirit spoke to my spirit, and Jesus met me right then and there! I hope that you will join me in this quest to picture the human face of the Son of God and be transformed by your encounter into a person of radical faith!

1 comment:

Bettejean Cramer said...

Now, more than ever, I am looking forward to seeing Jesus anew through the pages of your book. I am sorry I didn't have a chance to look at it while we were at Tall Timbers. All the more reason for me to purchase a copy.