EUROPE

&

THINGS in my HEAD

The hamster falls off the wheel, at times runs really fast and passes out at random; my mind is a weird but fun place to be. Enjoy experiencing through my lens.

 

PARIS

[day one]

Normandy

[day one]


CaEn & Bayeux

[day one]

bErlin

[day one]

PRAGUE

[day three]


Let me hop on this soapbox for a second...

The church, which chooses to follow God through the personal relationship and example of Jesus, will sin. (Sidenote* the church is not an organization or a building but a people. Yes we congregate in buildings, usually, but church is something that can take place anywhere at anytime.) Yup. Shocker. We will not make it the whole way through life without messing up. I know you thought me perfect, sorry to spoil that wonderful image you had. This is why Psalm 32.3-5, which David writes, stood out this morning. I see a need of its recognition in us as individuals and as a people. 

I'll leave you to read it. Essentially it is the realization that David has while he holds sin in his heart and does not confront it and does not confess it to God. Whether he is trying to ignore it because of guilt or enjoyment of the sin we don't know, yet we can see the amount of pain he is in. His body "wasting away," vitality is drained within him and he feels the heavy hand of God on him (conviction). All because his sin is kept silent from God. Last time I checked the only way to conquer something is to acknowledge it and face it. If I want to take over Oregon, God knows why I would want to go back but for the sake of example, I would identify its location and come up with a plan in order to conquer and/or destroy it. No different with sin. We identify what it is and by collaboration with Jesus we conquer it. If we never confess (identify) where we fall short how are we to ever grow with God. It's not about focusing on our failures, it's about going deeper into grace (God will always love you the same no matter what sin we perform, but it does say we can go deeper into grace; how I am not entirely sure but I have a keen idea that it starts with spending time with God).

I see a church with infinite possibilities for the future. And in the heart of it I see very actively, that people are not truthful with themselves about their sin and/or willing to confront and confess. Whether it is out of fear of being seen as a failure, identified as not having all the answers or being judged by peers we simply don’t confront sin. We let it boil in us until it overflows. I attend groups, services, university ministries and conferences (Lord knows that is not my social scene). Where I see kids, leaders, and pastors that are fake. Always happy and living in some demented twilight zone where they feel a need to put on an excited face. We all are struggling with something, so why pretend? (It is okay to not have it all together; it isn’t our job to have it all under control. God will take care of it). King David, the man who led mighty men and became legendary in battle, tried to hold in his sin and it tore him apart. I’m sure he could put on a good smile for the public too, but he knew he was being destroyed on the inside by not releasing his sin to God. So why can we not simply confront ourselves about the sins we commit and release them? We should not be afraid of our sin or the shame that comes with it. Jesus took care of that for us.

I would love to see people more open about their sins, not to glorify them, in order that growth can be attained and grace be given. Let's stop this life to the outside world (anyone not yourself) where we pretend to be perfect and have it all together. We don't have it all together! I'll be the first to tell you that I have fallen way short. I don’t always have great behavior, if you see me on a regular basis you can attest, but I'm working on it. I need a savior. I am not asking everyone to become overly emotional and only see failures they commit. If that is the case, then you don’t believe that God has granted you the power to conquer sin through him. He has. I’m asking the church to not be fake, to know that God has granted us the power to conquer sin and not only believe it possible but know that it will be done. If we continue to confront sin, not run and pretend that we have it all under control we have a great opportunity to grow in grace and spend significant time with God.

Allow yourself to simply go for it in life, allow yourself to be convicted, confess sin and grow, allow yourself to love God, love others and just try. Jesus would be pointless if life could be done without God. It cannot. Be real with yourself and sin. Do not hide from it. Confront and conquer it.

 

 

PRAGUE

[day two]

PRAGUE

[day one]

While looking through some photographic prints of older photographers, with the best artist I have had the pleasure of knowing, he looked at me and said, "They've got it. They’ve really captured what it is like to be there." So what is being there? I'll have to define that in my art and through my creative process.

My art is about telling a story. I tell it through the lens of being there. When I paint, capture a photograph, make a video, carve a relief, draw a vector I pose the question, what is it like to be here? The goal is to capture the whole feeling of the experience at that moment while telling the story I want through the art.

On this trip my focus has been to photograph and portray what it means to be there in each city I enter. Being there incorporates all the senses and the subject’s context, even though the final product is (with the exception of relief carvings and some paintings) 2-Dimensional. So how do you do that?

I start with the subject and the story I want to convey about it or through it. Art that is simply for looking at is nice, but that's all, just nice. I would like to do more: convey how this subject makes me feel, how I want the viewer to feel, challenge the viewer to see familiar subjects in a new way, use the subject to portray something on my heart or even present just enough of the subject to allow the viewer to create their own story for said piece. Art that is nice is friendly, but what about art that challenges and shows the deepest part of the artist? That can inspire. I've seen art that was more than nice and taken inspiration from it. I want to pass that on through my work.

After the subject matter is considered, I add the question of, what is it to be here? Which leads to: How does it feel (both physically and spiritually)? Was the day bright, dark, cold, hot? Was there a breeze from the south that cooled or some rain from the north that soaked? Was it so quiet that I could hear my heartbeat or was it so loud I could not hear my thoughts? Was the ground I was standing on soft like sand or was it hard like concrete? Was there a strong scent of flowers in a field or did it reek like an alleyway? (You can start to see where I'm going with this). Taking all the senses into account informs me how to properly portray the art, in this case photography, through the lens of being there.

Combining storytelling with being there is how I create my art. It has prompted me to ask many questions and put more thought into my work. I am not saying this is how all art is to be created. I am saying this is how I have come to enjoy the creative process. It allows me to make art, which is pleasing to the eye (well at least to mine), which conveys a story and engages ones senses.

I’m learning that this concept doesn't stop with art. We can be there with anything. With people fully engaged and focused on the interactions we have with one another, experiencing the beauty of nature that we see with our own eyes, even in our workdays being fully engaged in the task at hand and pushing ourselves to accomplish it to the best of our ability. Sometimes it requires us to turn off, unplug, and maybe even not take the photo we want to post later and just enjoy the moment. Being there is a mindset that can be adopted by anyone for anything. I have been experiencing life differently and much more joyfully when I allow myself to be there.

sALZBURG

[day one]

INNsbruck

[day one - three]

VENICE

[day two]

VENICE

[day one]

PISA

[day one]

FLORENCE

[day eight]

FLORENCE

[day seven cont.]

FLORENCE

[day seven]

FLORENCE

[day six]

FLORENCE

[day five]

FLORENCE

[day four]

FLORENCE

[day three]


Being away makes me reflect on the distance there is between people I care about and where I currently am. I also think about how hard it can be, even when I am having fun! Which got me thinking, do I only think about physical space or am I open to other spaces, specifically the spiritual realm? And what realm is my focus between the two?

The hamster got up and…

The Physical is tangible, items that have boundaries which are set, they cannot bump into one another and have those boundaries change (unless they break, like half my body), they cannot become one because their boundaries prevent it. They are material, which exists in a form; some can be seen some cannot (wind). Wind exists physically it will hit you and interact with you but it does not become a part of you when it touches your body. They occupy their own space and can change location but can never share space. I cannot stand on top of a dolphin hoping that we suddenly fuse together (and become the coolest super hero ever! Name is still uncertain) it just will not happen.

The Spiritual is a world based on immaterial; there is no way to bump into anything that has no boundaries.  I have a spirit (a rather odd one) and so do you. A spirit is an immaterial thing, which cannot be touched or grabbed but it is as real as the ground we stand on. It exists as much as the physical things do in the other realm but it need not have a set location always, because there are no boundaries to encounter. Ones spirit has freedom to do as that person desires, no matter the constrain of that persons current physical circumstance.

This thinking makes me understand my relationship with Jesus so much more. I allowed Him to enter in my “heart.” When I hear that Jesus is in my heart because I believe in him as Lord and Savior, it is not that there is a Middle-Eastern carpenter in my chest. Within the spiritual realm, as my spirit exists it can interact and share the same space as Jesus’ does because there are no boundaries. Essentially my spirit coincides with Jesus’ now, I am clean like he is, I can stand before God one day and enter into Heaven because my spirit is seen by God as Jesus’ own.

Side note* It is crazy to me that someone would allow me to be near them physically, the perception is that I don’t shower a lot (Jordan and McKenzie can attest to this, but in my opinion the ocean counts as clean plus San Diego is in a drought), much less would they give me an invitation to share spiritual interaction with them. And on top of it, the person who did the inviting was God. Unreal!

When God says to guard my heart and keep my mind captive to Jesus its not because I am on time out and have gotten in some deep crap. Its because there are no boundaries in this spiritual world and what I put into my mind through books, music, film, art, etc… goes directly into my spirit. It intermingles with my soul, I allow it to become involved within my heart. I see the Armor of God, as Paul calls it, a necessity, for someone who desires to follow Jesus through a long spiritual life, to be practically applied. To protect from bad stuff spiritually put on the armor, like Paul says, because followers of Jesus fight spiritual things. It just makes sense.

It also challenges my prayer life a significant amount too, my first thought was am I only praying for things to happen physically or am I praying for God to show up spiritually? It may seem like an obvious thing but hey it was new to me. I have seen my prayers change and also it seems that they have more “belief” behind them in a way. I am on the other side of the planet from those I talk to God about but praying within a spiritual mindset has freed me up to feel as if I am right next to them.

That is how I feel connected to the people I love back home. I am nowhere near San Diego physically but I can be connected to these people with the understanding that our physical bodies are not the only way to be “close”. I’m learning that to embrace the spiritual realm it’s important to identify that the physical is not the only focus.

 

FLORENCE

[day two]

FLORENCE

[day one]

ROME

[day seven]

ROME

[day six]

ROME

[day five]

ROME

[day four]

ROME

[day three]

ROME

[day two]

ROME

[day one]