Art versus Art.

I think I need to verbalize this. Because flying around in my head, these thoughts are only making me crazy.

Tonight I lost any confidence that I had in myself as an artist. Don’t be alarmed, I do this frequently, and for different reasons. Continue reading

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A few bits of news…

Hi.

I feel like I never write in this blog anymore because I’m always drawing dang comics. Thank God for the occasional bits of news so that I can keep the ol’ typing fingers in practice.

A few things:

I’ve added a Links page. After I did this I took my links, or, “blogroll,” off the sidebar but it looked naked so I put them back there. But links will be categorized and explained a little more on the Links page.

There were a few links I wanted to highlight here, though, as long as you’re reading. Continue reading

Two today, because I was slacking this weekend.

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Probably this is the most brilliant idea since Kristy Thomas came up with the Baby-sitters Club. Like a book club, but with records!

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Sunday science.

Ahh, I like church.  I do!  Some people think it is boring, or pointless, but I go to church and I feel like… well, I feel like I’m closest to being home.  I always come away from church feeling a little bit of a high.  That feeling fades throughout the week, but then on Sunday, boom, there is God, waiting, always faithful. I know that’s silly. I know that God is there throughout the week, and the challenge is for me to meet him. And I try to, and some days I am able to.  But there is still something about church that feels good to me.

I remember a segment on some infotainment news-type show in which there were scientists who did brain scans of people who were in worship services (of various different religions) and they found that there was a particular area of the brain that was especially active during the moment that worshippers felt this “high”.  I don’t quite remember, but I think they were trying to prove that spiritual experiences were simply a rush of neurotransmitters in the brain, nothing truly spiritual at all.  They thought they had pulled a fast one on believers, but really, most believers would credit God with the design of the human brain and all of the chemicals therein which make it tick.  So what did they really prove?  I think it’s silly when people base all of their arguments on the idea that God and Science are mutually exclusive.   They aren’t!  Duh!

Girl deciduous.

What I’m about to write is super cheesy, but also, I think, super beautiful.  I learned today that I am a tree.  (It’s a metaphor).  I am a tree and this is winter, and my leaves which seemed so good (and are!) have all been stripped away.  Winter is miserable.  It’s cold and gray, and these naked, skeletal trees such as myself only serve to point out exactly how depressing are the months when our earth is tilted away from the sun.  But all through the winter, something is happening to the trees.  Something is happening inside, where you can’t see it, beneath the bark.  Things are changing.  Life is happening.  And in all due time the seasons will change.  Spring will arrive (it always does) and that life will burst forth.  God is faithful!

Edit: Dang it!  Someone had to go and correct my knowledge of tree types, hence the title change.  I liked Girl Coniferous better, but what can I say?  I am a leaf-loser.

Correcting consumerism.

It began innocently enough.  Shawn was playing an instructional DVD which was teaching about light and color in digital art.  I made the comment that I would like to learn how to use Corel Painter, and my mom said, “Well, Christmas is coming.  Maybe you would like that program for a gift?”  We already have Painter, so I began to think what else I might like for a gift.  An ipod?  Computer accessories?  New clothes?  My mind settled for a moment on one thing, and I announced, “I think for Christmas I would like a digital video camera.”  Because it would be fun, to have one of those and make silly movies and capture the memories and what not.  But is it something I need?  Not at all.  It’s something that would be outdated in a year and I would be unhappy with it and want the newest model.  Don’t believe me?  I have a video camera.  It’s sitting on the top shelf of my closet because it’s not cool enough, it’s not digital, it’s not new.  I have an old ipod and heaps of last season’s clothes and stacks of books that I’ll never read, music I never listen to, and computer gadgets I never use, and I’m sitting here thinking of what I want next?  As if I need anymore stuff?

My good friend Rachel posted some great videos on her blog that kind of snapped me back out of my consumerist trance.  She posted the first three but you should watch the entire series.  They are informative and convicting.

My church has been talking about this thing called Advent Conspiracy, substituting compassion for consumerism.  Even if you’re not a Christian it’s worth a look:

Strength.

I highly doubt I’ll be going to see the film Religulous – for the same reason I’ll probably never read The God Delusion – I do a good enough job coming up with doubt on my own and don’t need the help of any overly prideful intellectuals (and certainly not any stand up comics – have I mentioned my total distaste for stand up comics?)  Anyway, I get the point.  Religion is the opiate of the masses.  Sure.  Sure it is.  That’s why I just spent the whole day amongst some of the most service-hearted people I’ve ever encountered, and they didn’t seem stoned at all on dogma or blind-obedience – except maybe obedience to Christ’s call to love the world.  So if you’re going to attack the church, that’s fine, just don’t do so on the premise that nothing good has ever come out of organized religion.  If that’s your argument, prepare to be made a fool.  

Anyway, in this horrible place where I go each week to be brainwashed into loving my neighbor, they’ve begun a sermon series on Deuteronomy which the pastor insists will not be boring.  Furthermore, for people who strive to be like Christ, Deuteronomy is a necessary study since Jesus loved Deuteronomy and quoted it more than any other Old Testament text.  So there is this passage which I suspect we’ll return to with frequency which reads, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:5)  I tend to focus on the more abstract elements of that passage – my heart and my soul.  But what does it mean to love God with all my strength?  That is a physical, measurable thing, and I never really think about what it means.  But today I got a taste.  Because last night I didn’t sleep well, and today I have a cold, and I had committed my entire day to manning a table at a volunteer fair at Black Hawk Church.  This meant an early morning, a long drive, and almost non-stop physical and social engagement on a very shallow reserve of energy.  Today I loved God with my strength, a lot of it, if not all of it, which was an easier proportion to reach considering that I didn’t have much strength to begin with.  

So what if I gave God every ounce of my strength on a healthy, well-rested day when I had so much more strength to give?  What if I went to bed at night exhausted, as I no doubt will tonight, because I had depleted the oxygen in ever fiber of my muscles, every neuron of my brain, every cell in my body, from the exertion of loving God and my neighbor so completely?  And what if I didn’t stop there?  What if I trained my body to have more strength, adopted a healthier diet, pruned away anything toxic in my life, so as to cultivate MORE strength which I could turn around and use for love?  I would actually be a healthier person for it.

I know it’s all theoretical at this point, but when I imagine the upward trajectory of this kind of living, when I imagine the entire church moving and growing in this direction of strength (to say nothing of the dimensions of heart and soul) I have a really hard time seeing the church as the dangerous downward pull that Bill Maher claims it is.  I’m not talking about the mistakes we have made and still make which lead division, I’m talking about what is possible, if we really live like Christ, who gave every ounce of his strength.  Literally.  Every last drop. 

 

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My friend Alex wrote a few pretty amazing words on the whole absurdity of defending our faith, which might be interesting to read as a parallel to this.  You can point out all of the ways that I don’t quite live up to Jesus’ standard of living our faith instead of defending it, even right here in this post!  :)

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    Breena Wiederhoeft
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