Creative Arts 90-Day Challenge: An Intelligent Mysticism

In our Creative Arts ministry at Eastridge, we’re undergoing a 90-day challenge in which we’re reading two books: Prayer by Timothy Keller and Worship Matters by Bob Kauflin. Part of this challenge is sharing our insights…so I thought, what better way to share than on this site. Here goes…

I just polished off Chapter 1 of Prayer. I knew I was going to fall in love with the book when Tim Keller quoted Flannery O’Connor’s wonderful Prayer Journal quite a bit in this chapter. You see, I’m a massive fan of Flannery O’Connor because she was an author from the South – Georgia, no less – and was a believer in Jesus. Heck, she even made her way into the title of my book!

One quote in particular struck me, and I think it will become a regular prayer of mine:

Why did this particular prayer jump out at me? I think it stems from my desire to be all-encompassingly in God’s presence. I want my mind to be uncluttered when I approach the the throne of God; I want my thought to only be on Him and to only be on what will bring Him glory. Flannery O’Connor expressed this sentiment in her gloriously inimitable way, and I love it!

Later on in the chapter, Keller recalls the words of Scottish theologian John Murray in another, longer quote that I deeply dig:

I love the concept of “intelligent mysticism.” The idea brings together the head and the heart in a way that makes perfect sense when describing faith. For me, sometimes my relationship with God can be cerebral. I can ponder and overthink my spiritual life to a fault. At other times, it’s deep and emotional in a way that’s almost unreal.

These two approaches to faith aren’t opposites; in fact, they’re facets of the same thing. In the rarest and richest moments, the cerebral and the mysterious come together in a most satisfying way, and the phrase “intelligent mysticism” encapsulates that tension between the two extremes.

What do you think? What stood out to you from this chapter?

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From The Resurgent: Were Comedians Cowards During the Obama Years?

Seems like these days, Donald Trump lives rent-free in the heads of comedians and writers for shows like Saturday Night Live. Every joke and every sketch on every show seems to point daggers at the president and his administration.

Comedians make fun of Trump – fairly or unfairly – and pat each other on the back for their bravery. But where was that bravery during the Obama years, when there were just as many opportunities to make fun of the man and party in power that hardly anyone took advantage of?

Greg Gutfeld recently called comics out for their cowardice over the last eight years…

Continue reading at The Resurgent

From The Resurgent: SNL Must Be Desperate for Material, as This Musical Tribute to Obama Demonstrates

Poor Saturday Night Live. At one time, it was so cutting edge, as the incredible original cast proved. And there were so many funny years in the mid 70s, the late 80s, and even in more recent years.

But it seems like SNL may have jumped the shark this season: witness Kate-McKinnon-as-Hillary-Clinton’s mournful take on Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” right after the election. Now, as the Obama years are finally behind us, this past weekend’s show featured the ultimate example of Obama sycophancy.

Picture it: cast members Cecily Strong and Sasheer Zamata stand under a portrait of the outgoing president warbling the 1967 classic “To Sir, With Love” (pretty poorly) with no trace of irony. The two women even break down the fourth wall and present Obama with a mug that reads, “World’s Greatest President.”

Continue reading at The Resurgent

BIG NEWS Coming Tomorrow!

Folks, I’ve got some big news coming down the pike on July 20. I hope you’ll rejoice and be excited in this news along with me. If you’re inclined to see what all the fuss is about, watch this website and various social media outlets tomorrow.

Twitter: @chrisqueen (…and feel free to follow me!)

My Facebook Author Page: Chris Queen

Instagram: Chris Queen

Y’all, I’m stoked to be sharing this news, so stay tuned!

Big News

Blast From The Past: Navigating The Fine Line Between The Administrative And The Creative

Author’s note: I originally wrote this post five years ago – just about to the day. I’ve updated it a little, but I find it’s more true than ever.

 

For a large part of my life, I’ve struggled with a dichotomy. There are two sides to me; most of the time they coexist peacefully, but sometimes they battle each other. This duality isn’t a life-or-death spiritual issue, but it does affect the way I think, the way I work, the way I play…and even the way I worship. I’m talking about the two sides of my personality: the administrative side and the creative side.

The administrative side of me is efficient and organized; the creative side is disorganized and less-than-tidy. When I’m predominantly administrative, I want to check off all the boxes: to produce, be done, and move on to the next item; the creative part of me dwells on each detail, looking to “plus” everything (to use the Disney vernacular).

When dealing with people, the creative side of me is sensitive and thoughtful to a fault; the administrative side of me can speak or comment without regard to the fallout. The creative side of me nurtures and cherishes relationships; the administrative side wants to go it alone for the sake of efficiency.

Worship is easy for me as a creative person; I’m moved by songs, by the immense innovation present throughout creation, and by the images in God’s Word. I appreciate heartfelt and imaginative expressions of praise and worship, and I enjoy devising my own forms of worship. On the other side of the coin, I’m easily distracted when things aren’t “just so”; I can be mortified and upset over the slightest typo or punctuation mistake in the multimedia (most of which I’m responsible for at Eastridge). At other churches or in other worship venues, both sides of me team up to make me analytical and sometimes critical of expressions of worship; it’s weird, because I can worship wholeheartedly in the moment yet critique a service or experience, sometimes harshly, afterward.

There are times when both sides work in harmony to my advantage…and to the advantage of the team. Working in church communications and worship, I utilize both sides, occasionally at the same time. I’m often the administrative force in our Creative Arts ministry, and it’s my job to hold up the value of clear communication churchwide amidst the creative decisions that are made daily. Obviously, the discipline and artistic talent I tap into for my writing have to come together as well.

I often find that the administrative and creative sides are most at odds with each other at home. It’s easy to get caught up in writing or reading or engaging in other endeavors while neglecting the floors that need to be vacuumed, the clothes that need to be folded, and the dishes that need to be washed and put up; on the other hand, I can sometimes be a working machine around the house without doing anything to feed my spirit or creative nature.

I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s no way to balance these two sides. I just have to live with one dominating the other at different times and trust that I’m going what God wants me to do. I’m at peace with the dichotomy, with the fine line between two diametrically different natures; it makes for rarely a dull moment.

From PJ Lifestyle: Robin Williams’ 10 Best Performances

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The world mourns the passing of one of the truest talents of all time – Robin Williams. The Juilliard-trained comedian and actor won an Oscar, two Emmys, five Grammys, and – dearest to me – became a Disney Legend in 2009. Williams made his struggles with depression and addiction public, yet he was unable to overcome them. But here at PJ Lifestyle, we’re going to celebrate his life. Here are Robin Williams’ ten best performances. I hope you’ll take as much comfort in these wonderful moments as I have.

Continue reading at PJ Lifestyle

From PJ Lifestyle: Mary Blair: Unsung Disney Artist

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She developed the unique color palette for many of the iconic Disney films of the 1950s. She produced some of the most evocative artwork from the Disney Studio’s 1941 South America trip. She created the characters for a beloved classic Disney Parks attraction. She outshone the men she worked with – including her own husband. Yet for some reason, Mary Blair doesn’t have the household name she deserves except among Disney aficionados.

With his new book The Art And Flair Of Mary Blair: An Appreciation, animator and historian John Canemaker hopes to change that perception.

Continue reading at PJ Lifestyle

From PJ Lifestyle: The Revolutionary Spies of TURN

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I wasn’t looking to get hooked on another series, especially a period drama about a historical era with which I’m woefully unfamiliar. But I tuned in to AMC to get ready for the season premiere of Mad Men and caught the last five minutes of the second episode of TURN, a new program about the exploits of the real life Culper Ring, a small network of spies on Long Island during the Revolutionary War. After just a few minutes, I had programmed my DVR to catch up and became a fan of the show.

Continue reading at PJ Lifestyle

From The Macho Sophisticate: TURN: The New Un-James Bond Spy Series On AMC

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Espionage has actually been around for centuries, and I’ve gotten hooked on a new show that tells the story of the first spy ring in America.

TURN introduces us to four colonists who bravely assisted in the fight against the occupying British forces. Cabbage farmer Abraham Woodhull (Jamie Bell), tavern keeper Anna Strong (Heather Lind), and patriot militiamen Ben Talmadge (Seth Numrich) and Caleb Brewster (Daniel Henshall) make up a ring of spies in New York. Fed up with the British solders boarding in their houses and enforcing the crown’s oppressive regulations, the four spies take action to thwart the loyalist cause.

Continue reading at The Macho Sophisticate