In Search of the Imago Dei

In Search of the Imago Dei

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 8/28/14

You are made in the image of God…simply mind blowing. Most mornings when I look in the mirror, I struggle to see the image of me clearly, much less the image of God. Consider these words from Genesis:
 
“Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.’ So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth’”(Genesis 1:26-28).
 
Made in the image of God! Maybe we need a better reflection than the mirror each morning to see or to discern the image of God in our lives and in the lives of the people we see. This is why theologians need artists, in my opinion. We need artists to show us more than pretty paintings. We need artists to show us a new way of interpreting the world.
 
Have you ever looked at an impressionist painting, like Monet’s Water Lilies and the Japanese Bridge, and wondered about how all those smudges taken together create a larger image? Have you ever considered how Georges-Pierre Seurat’s pointillism with its thousands of dots come together to create a realistic image? The latest technique to catch my eye is photorealism. The style emerged as a resistance to the abstract styles. Artists, such as Chuck Close, a severely paralyzed artist, employ photographs and projectors in this approach in an attempt to amplify reality. These images are hyper realistic…more real than real.
 
This week we will consider the call of the cross. It is an image that reminds us of the realism of the humanity of God in Jesus. It is gritty, heartbreaking, and real. Considering the image of the cross, we learn what it means to be reborn in the image of God.
 
Seeing this image can help us see what it means to be cross bearers. Can you see the life to which God is calling you?

Confessions of a Homebody

Confessions of a Homebody

by Ruth DuCharme

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 8/21/14

I am a homebody. I am one who prefers the comforts of home to the strangeness of an unfamiliar place. I like my bed, my shower, and my pillow. When I travel it takes me a few days to adjust to my new surrounds before I can relax and enjoy my time away.

Life After Here

Life After Here

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 8/14/14

What is next? What is next after you have finished curating your well-constructed life? How does spirituality change over the course of a life? For many road weary disciples there comes a tipping point, a turn from constructing a well lived outer life. Meaning shifts from all of the goals of the outer life — providing for a family, establishing a career, attaining a degree, finding security — toward a different way of understanding the meaning found in the inner life.
 

Investing in the Vision

Investing in the Vision

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 8/7/14

Money. It is one of those subjects that Mrs. Manners told you not to talk about, along with religion and politics. Yet, in any congregation, the subject coalesces into an individual spiritual practice and a communal reality. What we do with our money, individually and collectively, matters to God.

Class Is in Session

Class Is in Session

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters, August 2014

“School’s out for summer!” Alice Cooper once screeched. Summer isn’t as long as it once was. It is August and teachers have been readying their classrooms since July. Stores have stocked folders, pens, paper, markers, Kleenex and all kinds of glue on aisles marked “back to school” since late May. Some students weren’t even out of their classrooms in May! It is enough to make even the most conservative educator don a Pink Floyd t-shirt and sing, “leave those kids alone.”

Who Cleans Your Pond?

Who Cleans Your Pond?

by David Keith

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 7/31/14

A few years ago, we lived in a home that had a Japanese Koi pond.  There were seven very large fish in the pond.  One day I went outside to feed the fish and, to my amazement, two were floating on top of the water and the others were huddled very close to the top.  They had congregated by the waterfall, but there was nothing coming out.  During the night, the waterfall that provided oxygen for the fish had stopped working.
 

Saying Farewell...For A Time

Saying Farewell...For A Time

by Cass DuCharme

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 7/24/14

Did that title get your attention? I’m saying farewell to Highland Hills…but only for a short time. A few years ago, our church adopted a sabbatical policy for staff ministers, which creates an intentional season of rest and renewal every seven years. This year the deacons approved a sabbatical for me. Beginning last Monday, July 21, until August 31, I will be resting and renewing my body, mind, and spirit.
 

What Happens When Change and Cliches Collide

What Happens When Change and Cliches Collide

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 7/10/14

Cliches, why do we use them? They save time, I guess. They capture common wisdom in a catchy way. They name something that is generally true or perhaps they are a simply a stock response…a knee-jerk reaction, of sorts. Consider a few of well worn cliched responses to change.