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new collage: that they might be one

"that they might be one" mixed media (found papers, ash, shoe polish, acrylic paint, glue) on bookboard january, 2019 gregory a. milinovich

last week our church began a new sermon series in which we are exploring how, in spite of our increasingly-polarized culture, we are in fact better together.  that's what the series is called: better together.  i am going to be addressing some pretty divisive topics in this series, like politics and race, but we began last week with a prayer which Jesus prayed, that we get to sort of eavesdrop on, as recorded in the gospel of john.  in this prayer, he prays for his followers, both those around him, and those who will one day hear about him through others, and he prays that we might all be one, just as he and his father are one.  he prays for unity.  and he prays for this unity, so that the world may know of his love for us. 

i've been thinking a great deal about unity over the last few weeks, in preparation for these messages.  …
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a very merry (and magical) christmas to you!

as many of you know, we try to do something different and interesting for our family christmas card every year (we've done i-spy's, it's a wonderful life, an old time circus, and superheroes, just to name a few).  this year we decided to try our hand at harry potter, since i've been reading the books to the kids out loud before bed at night. 

so, from our home to yours, we hope your christmas is happy, magical, and full of wild wonder at the absurdity of a God who would enter into our story, our messes, our muted colors and lonely bethlehem nights.  there is magic in the mundane, mystery in the manger, if you will dare to believe it.

a milinovich family christmas, 2018

it's Christmas eve!  we have once again put together a little montage (our eleventh annual!) of some footage from our advent preparations for Christmas, this time to a song that i absolutely adore called "Lord, Remind Me" by Jon and Valerie Guerra.

we hope you are reminded of the magic and the mystery of this unlikely story, and of the wonder of hope being born in your own heart again this year.

new collage: faceless immigrants 1-13

"faceless immigrants 1-13" mixed media collage (found papers, acrylic paint, glue) on hardcover bookboard november, 2018 gregory a. milinovich
i know that this is a divisive subject, and i don't mean to divide.  in fact, my sincere hope would be to build and connect.  but as i continue to glue things together in a way that expresses what is going on in my soul, i cannot help but deal with some of the discord i find there recently.  
the news has been full of stories about immigration, asylum-seekers, and how we maintain borders.  these are complicated issues, to be sure, but one of the ways that i find myself struggling as i process the things i see and hear (or sometimes try to avoid seeing and hearing), is to remember that we aren't just talking about an issue here.  
when we start painting in broad strokes and speaking in swaths of generalities, we deal in issues and policies and i understood that conversation at that level is necessary and important, but if we h…

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…

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.