Hi, thanks for checking out A Critical Image. I find it extremely important, critical if you will, to examine our world and ourselves with a critical, yet open, eye, mind, and heart. As a Christian, I believe we all are all images of God; made in His image to carry out His will here on Earth, as it is in Heaven. I see the Bible as offering a Divine critique of humanity, which gives us an opportunity to be transformed by that criticism and conformed to the perfect image, Jesus.
I am a critical image, and so are you.
I’m not a preacher. I don’t have a PhD. I’m not a philiosopher.
I do have an MFA and BFA in visual art, and a BS in Psychology, and I have taught at the college level. I think I have some interesting things to say, and I hope you’ll agree.
I do feel compelled to do this. As weird as it sounds, even to my own mind, I feel called to do this. It’s embarrassing for me to say that. I can’t say exactly why it’s embarrassing, but it is. Maybe because I don’t feel worthy or capable, maybe because I’m being too open and honest for my own comfort level. (I will spend the first installment working through this.)
Honestly, I don’t feel adequate to be doing this, but I do believe God is adequate in all things.
But I do feel called, and I want to obey.
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.Philippians 2:12
I’ve struggled with this verse ever since I first really noticed it. I struggled because I don’t really understand it, but think I’ve experienced it- as I’m experiencing it now. Although God, through Jesus, has my salvation fully worked out, I am, in a sense, working out my understanding of salvation here in front of you. Further, the “your” in “your salvation” is plural (in the original Greek), so I’m hoping for others to join; with constructive criticism and dialogue in the comments, or maybe others contributing to primary content; working out our salvation together.
As I turn a critical eye to my beliefs, I possess fear – fear of failure (whatever that would mean), fear of misrepresenting the Good News, fear of not knowing enough. When I get the feeling that I have to do this despite the fear, I tremble.
I try to take some comfort knowing that there really is no pressure. I can’t save myself or anyone else, and the Gospel doesn’t necessarily need me in order for it to be true, good, or fruitful.
Recently, I have been coming to the realization that not everyone thinks like I do; not that they don’t agree with me, but that they have different thought patterns, cares, and abilities. I like to think that I am above average, but as a (partially) self-realized-Gen-X-Millenial-cusp (a Xennial, if you will,) I know that we are all above average (Advanced Australopithecus was average.)
[Average, median, mean, mode – something like that! Did I mention I have weird sense of humor? I’ll try to keep it at bay, maybe.] Seriously though, I am doing this because I like it. I love it. I like to think about these things. It fulfills me. Without downplaying the effort I’m putting into this project and the seriousness with which I Believe, ultimately I am having fun. I get joy from seeking Truth, or maybe more accurately, rummaging around in it.
I believe truth is a framework in which one may exist, not just a code to which one must adhere. For example, an infinitude of songs may be played on the framework of a guitar, and each instance (song) edifies the validity of the instrument. For the guitar player of any level, playing is a serious, yet enjoyable display from which the player and listener can learn and gain appreciation. In a similar way, I am playing in, and enjoying, God’s creation. I believe that as a Christian I exist in the framework of Truth.
I know that I won’t always be correct, and sometimes I might be flat out wrong. I would love corrections, feedback, and discussion to help foster personal growth for myself and anyone willing to engage, regardless of their beliefs. In challenging myself, I hope to challenge others, both believers and skeptics.
… Present your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to the Lord, this is your spiritual worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.Romans 12:2 New King James Version
In the end, I am doing this as a form of Worship – glorifying God through the enjoyment of Life. This is an attempt to use what I understand my gifts to be in His service, and I would love for you to join me. I will try to take this advice from the writer of Ecclesiastes:
Do not be overrighteous, neither be overwise— why destroy yourself?Ecclesiastes 7:16
I’ll leave you with this, from Paul’s letter to the Philippians, to which I relate.
My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, […] Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers [and Sisters], I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus. […] In any case, we should live up to whatever truth we have attained.Philippians 3:10, 12-14 and 16, Holman Christian Standard Bible
2 thoughts on “Hi”
This is great Casey! I would love to engage in this kind of conversation. I won’t assume I know precisely what you meant by, not everyone thinks like you. But I would venture a guess that a part of it is referring to seeing the world through the eyes of a visual artist and how we learn to think critically about the visual art. Often I am surprised by how small people envision God to be. But there’s the old adage about how a person is only limited by the size of their imagination. As artists we were trained to open our imaginations and with that training, personally I’ve only become more comfortable that I couldn’t begin to conceive the vastness of God. But I’ve come to believe that a lot of people are scared by the concept of a God that is too big to be understood, so they scale Him down to fit their imagination.
I really like that you point to the passage of “work out your salvation”. I’ve never considered those words particularly before. Oh course I agree that salvation is already given. So does “work out” refer to understanding that grace? It makes me visualize a necklace chain that is knotted, but unbroken. How the only way to untangle the knot is to slowly and patently begin to understand how to open the knot. The thoughtful meditation If the process. Anyhow, now I feel that I am rambling, when really all I wanted was to invest sometime to leave you a thoughtful comment.
Thanks for reading! It really means a lot to me. You’re spot on of what I meant with “not everyone think like me.” I look forward to hearing from you more in the future.