Through the Waters

People Are People

wall with graffiti on it

Have you heard? The dividing walls of hostility have been broken down.

People are people before they are any identifier, category, or box I try to put them in. Many of my boxes for people have come crashing down because of my international work and my relationships with people. It's been one of the best, most beneficial things that's ever happened to me, and it's also blown the lid off of how I experience God and His love for people.

There are some very socially acceptable boxes for people. Have you noticed? Here are some popular ones: Christian, Muslim, Jewish, male, female, LGBTQ, straight, disabled, Asian, client, therapist, student, professor, etc. Our blinders may make life more cut-and-dry, but they prevent us from seeing people as first and foremost essentially human. Human beings, at their essence, are humans. We have so many socially acceptable ways of dehumanizing each other.

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Book Review: The Artisan Soul

The Artisan Soul by Erwin McManus book cover

Erwin McManus is a pioneering faith leader in the Los Angeles area, and although he has written a number of books throughout his lifetime, he deems The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art his quintessential work. Given this book's potential to cast a wide swath of societal influence, it's not hard to see why.

The Artisan Soul is McManus's powerful treatment of human creativity. From his perspective, our understanding of creativity has suffered from a number of myths over the past few centuries. One of these myths is that some people are creative (artists) while others are not (non-artists). He posits that, if people are created in the image of God, and God is essentially creative, the One who made us and the glorious world around us, then doesn't it stand to reason that all of us humans are essentially creative at our core? This is the concept of the artisan soul, that each human soul is creative in its essence, that one of our greatest capacities as humans is to make manifest in the material universe that which begins as but a tiny spark in our imagination. We convert the invisible into the visible.

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The Warmest Winter

Winter river in Yosemite
Photo Credit: Jim Werner's River in Yosemite National Park, CA CC BY 2.0

I thought I was staving off death. Little did I know that I was cooperating with life.

Many months ago, I decided to buy a few jasmine vines and place them in flower beds on the small patio where I live. Not knowing much at all about gardening, I was hesitant to believe that they would even grow beyond their original few-feet height when I bought them. I told myself that they looked fine with their dark green vines, lack of flowers notwithstanding. I kept watering them every now and then... every now and then for months, and months, and months, with no signs of new life. I thought I was staving off death; little did I know that I was cooperating with life. It's only been within the past few weeks that something started to happen that took me by complete surprise: they've started to multiply by growing bright green branches.

What has been my new fascination throughout this process? Seasons.

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