I’m in a theology class right now and we are reading through J.I. Packer’s Knowing God.  I about came unglued when I read through chapter 4 — because he started to go down a path in which he summed up that all art and all crosses and statues and whatnot are forms of idol worship.  I kept my seat-belt on long enough to read a few pages into the chapter and then momma had to take her seat-belt off and “go there.”  (who else just heard your mother in your head say “don’t make me come back there!”) 

As it turns out, Packer was just writing from a time and place with which I couldn’t necessarily connect.  He was kind of an absolutist, and I’m … SOOO not.  After our fearless and amazing teacher walked us through where he was coming from and what he meant — I understood it better and put my seat-belt back on.

As it turns out – he has a point.  We can turn just about anything into an idol that takes the place of true learning about Jesus and God.

  • the mom who checks her cell phone every 1.4 minutes for any kind of adult social connection she can get so she doesn’t go postal on her kids — maybe she should be checking her bible every 1.4 minutes
  • the Christian who plasters her house with decorative crosses but hasn’t cracked her bible since….. ?
  • the Christian who fixates on a drawn picture of Jesus <— this is a not-so-subliminal message about what’s to come in this post

Why am I even “going there” you ask?  This is why…

Last year, I attended a women’s conference and got to listen to and worship with MercyMe.  They sang The Hurt and the Healer — which was written for me.  Ok not really, but really.   You can read about my entire experience during this song, here.  In fact, please go read it before you continue.

You didn’t go read it.
Go read it.

Are you ready for this?  My amazing friend Meena captured Jesus reaching for me — she took my words and turned them into a sketch.  Here it is:

http://meenamatocha.com/

http://meenamatocha.com/

You can see what other cool things Meena has created on her website — she’s simply amazing!

So for me — this isn’t idol worship.  For me this is a moment in time when I could feel Jesus’ presence so tangibly that my mind created a picture of Him reaching for me.  This picture hangs right above my sewing station in my office — not so I can praise the picture, not so I can fixate on the idea that Meena’s interpretation is exactly what Jesus’ hand looks like…

This picture hangs where I can see it to remind me that it’s my job to stay connected to Jesus … to learn all that I can about Him so that when I am  moved by worship music, or an awesome testimony, all of those details about Him come together and move me spiritually in a way that only He can do!

So yes – I fully admit that I got all defensive when I read Packer’s words about idol worship.  I might have even stood up, banged my chest a little and hollered, “you want a piece of this?!?!”… but I can see now that it was all because Meena’s drawing means SO much to me and I was ready to go to blows with anyone who was going to try to tell me that having this drawing was wrong.

As it turns out, J. I. Packer wasn’t trying to tell me I was wrong in having this sketch.  He was trying to tell me that the sketch should always lead me to read MORE about Jesus instead of letting the sketch and that moment in worship be the end-all-be-all.  Packer is concerned that people let their faith end with the crosses on their walls — or the crucifix their grandmother’s gave them back in the day — or the picture of Jesus they saw in a book.

Ok Packer… I get it now.  And I apologize for going all chest-thump on you.

Do you have something in your possession that either keeps you stuck at a fixed point in your faith or pushes you to want to learn more about your faith?  I would LOVE to hear about it!

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7 thoughts on “when pictures come alive

  1. LOL. I visualized & could hear your voice as you did your “do you want a piece of this” display. Great blog post Ann! What a wonderful gift from your friend. An amazing drawing!

    I just received a gift from a dear friend – it’s a trinity cross. All 3 pieces come apart and go back together. It’s a reflection of how our lives fall apart but with God’s love and grace, they always come back together. She gave me the “Love” one.. but they come in all different types for whatever situation that tugs on your heart as the giver. When I wear it, it reminds me of God’s love for me and those precious people that I get the opportunity to love. http://www.ordertrinitycross.com/

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  2. You’re such a tough girl! I think you could totally take Packer. 🙂

    Beautiful blog, friend. I think this might be the reason I don’t have any of these in my house. Something about it just felt ‘off’ to me. I just thought I was a weirdo. (I know what you are thinking…don’t say it.) 😉 But maybe it’s just that somehow I knew my spirit wasn’t yet ready to handle this kind of idol well. Glad to know I can do it at some point, glad to know what to look out for, too.

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  3. Totally enjoyed this Anne. Your initial reaction is exactly how I fear I would react to a theology class! (Too many years of catechism). Your rational, thoughtful analysis is great.

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    1. I think I would have felt that way about the crucifix and a rosary back in the day, Sue. Now I view the crucifix differently — it reminds me so deeply exactly what Jesus went through for me. The rosary? … squirrel!!!!

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