Search

Epic Theology

Finding God through the lens of an artist

Category

Updates

Robots For the Win!

For those following the story, back in March I let you all know about a literary prize for those who write about faith in Canada. Then, in September, I was overjoyed to tell you that my story had made the shortlist for the Ross and Davis Mitchell Prize.

Guess what?!

The story won!

22904579_702899716573651_5020664646667061068_o.jpg

My short story, “Saint 148,” was chosen as the first winner of the Ross and Davis Mitchell Prize at a gala in Toronto on October 30th!

I’m not going to lie to you, I was more than a little shocked.

You see, “Saint 148,” while ultimately an exploration of my own faith-fuelled wrestlings, sits firmly in the realm of science fiction. Science fiction is considered by those in the biz to be “genre fiction” (along with action, mystery, romance, fantasy, etc), and not literary fiction (those things that don’t fit nicely into those other categories). So, a story about a robot taking first place in a literary competition was highly unlikely. I was more excited to be shortlisted at all. I was hoping for a fun trip to Toronto, a nice evening, and maybe a solid second place at best.

Then they called by name.

I’ve only had a few moments in my life that have been completely stunning. The birth of my first-born was one. Seeing my wife come down the aisle at our wedding was another. Getting this announcement was up there.

It’s still surreal.

I’ve had interviews with the media, been approached by complete strangers offering congratulations, and had more people ask when the book will be published than I can shake a stick at.

But it still doesn’t seem real. I’m still the same. My writing is the same (although I do get some guff from my actors about being too protective of my words now…). My mission is the same. I’m still making art for God’s glory and the betterment of humanity.

unnamed
Photo taken on the night of the gala!

The award on my wall is nice, but I have to say, it doesn’t feel like I deserve any of it.

You see, God has been mind-blowingly generous to my family this year. To the point of Bri and I just throwing up our hands and saying “Thank You!” because we can’t make any sense of it. Other than our belief that we have a loving, generous God who has chosen this season to remind of of the fact.

But really, everything we’ve done, or “earned,” or won has been God’s doing. From the impetus to write, or the words he gives, to ensuring my story was rejected ten or twelve times in the past two years, to guiding the judges to their decision, God has done the heavy lifting. All I have done is follow His lead.

And I believe that is the artist’s job: to follow God’s lead in creation. We are co-creators, to be sure, but God is the Master, and we are the disciples.

So, thank you for celebrating this wonderful blessing with me. Here’s to another year of awesome creation and the knowledge of God’s unfailing faithfulness to us.

Blessings,

Arts Chaplaincy

Hello readers,

I have so much wonderful news. I have been away for a while, but important things have been happening and I want to share just some of it with you.

Our church and our District have partnered with my wife and I to start a brand new initiative in Calgary. I am now, in addition to heading up our Art and Story ministry, a Chaplain for Calgary’s arts community! 

roman-collar.jpg
I don’t actually wear one of these, though.

For those unfamiliar, chaplains are spiritual guides and counsellors who are usually attached to secular institutions. Chaplains often administer sacraments such as baptism and Eucharist, perform weddings and funerals, and counsel those who have spiritual questions or seek to further their spiritual journey. There are chaplains for the military, hospitals, universities, and prisons. There are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, and Hindu chaplains (as well as other religious/spiritual flavours, I’m sure).

What we are doing, however, is slightly outside the norm. Instead of being attached to an institution, I am coming alongside our arts community. I will be available to anyone who calls themselves an artist, no matter your discipline or medium. I can talk, advise, or just listen.

And this, this listening, is why I’m excited about this project. We all have stories to tell. Stories of triumph and stories of pain. Of the mundane everyday and the moments that give meaning to our lives. And a big part of my job is to listen to your stories and help you sort through it.

calgary01.jpg

Now, I am not a certified counsellor. I want to be clear about that. I can give recommendations for those in need of psychiatric help, but my speciality is the soul, not the mind. I am a licensed worker in the Christian Missionary Alliance (as of today, actually!), and my worldview is unashamedly Christian, but my focus is on spirituality as a whole, not proselytization. I just like to discuss the bigger questions in life that we all struggle through, like purpose and meaning and pain.

This is a call to all of my friends and readers. I am here and am excited to walk alongside those artists who want to dig deeper into the idea of something beyond what we can see. I want to help actors and painters and filmmakers along their journey, no matter where they have come from or where they are going.

So, if you have questions or just need to talk about some important things, please let me know. I am here to listen, and if needed, and only if needed, to advise or counsel. And know that, as a member of Calgary’s arts community, I am praying for you. For your joy and peace, providence and artistic excellence.

Ultimately, I am here to serve our artists.

Blessings

EpicTheology June Update

Well, my fearless readers, we’re now well into June. Life is going by at breakneck pace these days, so I thought I’d take a moment to let everyone know what’s going on. Depending on how things move continue, we might make this a monthly feature.

I’m now a month and a half into the new job, and it’s still amazing. I have so much freedom to explore where God is leading the new ministry and spend time in His presence. I’ve met with many of our leaders to brainstorm how we are going to go about telling stories. AND, most exciting, I’ve started working on a couple projects. My weeks are flying by and I look forward to going back to the office every day.

God could not have come through in a more awe-inspiring way.

Which brings me to our next point: our new mission. Acts 2:43 tells us, in regards to the newborn church, that “A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders.” I feel like, for many of us, we’ve lost that sense of awe. We live in such a constant state of grace that the supernatural grace has become mundane.

So, my mission: Rescue the miraculous from the mundane!

God’s activity in our lives can be awe-inspiring at first, but can quickly become less shiny as we get used to it. However, when we hear about what God is doing in others’ lives (which is usually different from our own), we can again be brought to a place of wonder. It’s my job to harness the stories that we all carry around with us and deploy them in a way that opens doors for awe.

Sound fun? I think so!

In other news, we’re also on our way to starting a new ministry and I’ll have more info for you as soon as some things settle into place.

I hope you are all enjoying the start of your summer (or winter, if you’re south of the equator). Our family has been having a great time hiking out in the mountains as much as we can (including during a rainstorm yesterday!). Please spend some time outdoors. It’s good for the soul.

Blessings,

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑