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new collage: behold

"behold" mixed media collage (found papers, glue, gesso on hardcover bookboard) october, 2018 gregory a. milinovich

behold.  it's an imperative to stop and look.  sometimes we need that, don't we?  to stop and look?  sometimes i need to just behold.  to stop running at breakneck pace, and to pay attention to the rhythm of my breath, to the beating hearts are all around me, and to the presence of the holy everywhere.  "behold, i stand at the door and knock."  but i'm too busy to notice most of the time.

and sometimes we need to stop and see what we are really doing.  i need to hear what the voice on the other side of the door is saying: hello?  you've been busy following your own agenda.  you've been busy reading the news and getting angry, or depressed, or numb.  you've been trying to distract yourself.  you've been demonizing the other, even though you aren't even listening.  behold.  look and see what weapons you are really holdin…
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now collage: him/her

""him/her" mixed media collage on hardcover book board (found papers, acryclic paint, glue) october, 2018 gregory a. milinovich

"so God created humanity in the image of God;
in the image of God they were created;
male and female God created them."
-genesis 1:27

so, if we are all created "in the image of God," what does that say about us?  about all of us? 

and what does it say about God? 

i think, as we learn to love our neighbors (and how we love our neighbors IS HOW WE LOVE GOD, according to 1 john 4:20-21), these are important questions for us to wrestle with.  when we read stories about separation of immigrant families; when we hear about mass shootings based on religion or race; when we are led to believe by the words and actions of our leaders that is okay to demonize, alienate, ostracise, generalize, stereotype, exclude or even execute those who are different than us, i think these are critically important questions, especially for those of u…

new collage: claimed

"claimed" paper collage (found papers, acrylic paint, glue) on book board gregory a. milinovich october 2018

But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
"you are mine," says God.  "do not be afraid.  i have redeemed you.  i have claimed you.  i got this."
in a messy world full of pipe bombs and synagogue shootings; in a broken mess of hate and fear, i believe a certain kind of fearlessness based in a love that is perfect and holy.  i believe that the light defeats the darkness.  i believe we are claimed.

now collage: weapon of the word

"weapon of the word" mixed media collage (found papers, acrylic paint, glue on book board) gregory a. milinovich september, 2018
"a bible used as a weapon against other human beings is always a bible misused."  -kristen rosser
i know this new collage i made a few weeks ago isn't going to win any beauty contests, but i wasn't trying to make something pretty.  i was reflecting on how i so often feel about how some Jesus-followers sometimes use the bible.  standing on a foundation of fear, they pack the bible like a pistol, loaded and aimed at anyone who challenges them.  it gets aimed at those who are different.  it gets aimed at those who interpret it in different ways.  in this way the word is weaponized in order to silence the voices of those who would ask questions.  
for me, the bible is much more a love letter than a loaded weapon.  it invites relationship not retribution.  it gives life, not death.  it creates beauty in diversity, not blood stains on the …

forgiven much

if i was going to start something awesome, i'd probably start with the most attractive thing i could. 

i mean, it's marketing 101, right?  you've got to attract people, tell them that you've got something great, and that they need it. 

so think about it: if i was going to start a club for steelers fans who also love indie music, i would probably start by hiring my graphic designer wife to make some super awesome brochures or posters or something, and i would make sure they looked interesting and inviting.  next, i would look for some cool people to join my club, maybe even some people that people know.  i mean, it would be great if i could get the Avett Brothers to join my club, or JuJu Smith-Schuster, or someone that would attract others to join my club.  and we'd have snacks.  maybe little black-and-gold cookies in the shape of a banjo or something. 

but not Jesus.  that's now how Jesus operates.  (well, maybe the snacks...he was often to be found eating, or…

from now on

last week i tried to remind myself and any of you reading that Jesus isn't interested in calling only the squeaky-clean or those who have all of their cracks and tears all covered up and hidden. 

but somehow many of us still let ourselves "off the hook," by assuming that the people that Jesus is really interested in are the religious people.  people like priests and pastors.  people like walt, the guy who leads two different bible studies at church, always attends the special church events, and reads bible commentaries in his spare time.  we sometimes allow ourselves to buy the lie that says, "those are the real Jesus-followers.  you don't have time for that.  you've got your career and your family and your retirement and your hobbies and your busy schedule to worry can follow Jesus just by going to church sometimes." 

and we do.  and we check the box. 

but i happen to think that Jesus is actually inviting people - regular people like you an…

new collage (!): peculiar circumstances

"peculiar circumstances" paper collage on hardcover book cover gregory a. milinovich

i truly love the season of life i am in, in my twentieth year of marriage, raising three boys,  and serving as senior pastor of a downtown university church.  life is good.  really, really good.  but it is also full.  some of the things i used to just have time for, i can no longer even make time for, at least for this season.  one of those things is my love of gluing things together.  i still have boxes and boxes of old paper, scraps and bits, found objects and detritus, and more, just waiting to be joined together, to be redeemed in some new birth.  but, for the most part, they will need to wait several years longer, until "teenager" isn't a regular part of our vocabulary. 

that being said, i am delighted that i was inspired to carve out a few moments this week to glue a few things together that had been accumulating in my "someday i'll do this" file.  so i just d…