Where Did He Go?

I am afraid we have lost the author of this blog. Have you seen him?

I have not. I thought you were with him last.

Not me. I know he went to Europe back in September and posted a poem. But have not seen him since.

He went to Europe?

Yes. With his children. His last post was from an AirBnB in Ireland. He said he was going to post something about the trip but never did. Total silence. Quite a breach of blog etiquette.

Do you suppose he never came back?

I suppose that is possible. But they do have Internet in Ireland.

Huh. Do you suppose he died?

Highly unlikely. He was last seen here in Belfast with his kids. Hardly looks like he is ready to keel over.2018-10-02 15.05.24

And here he is in Dublin. Definitely alive and well.

2018-10-05 15.50.06 HDR

Dude that guy needs to shave. Well maybe God took him.

Took him?

Yeah like Enoch. God just took him. You know, “By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: ‘He could not be found, because God had taken him away.'”

I am not entirely sure that type of thing happens these days. 

Oh, have things changed?


You said that type of thing does not happen these days. What changed between Enoch’s time and ours so that these things no longer happen?

Nothing. Nothing changed. We just don’t believe in that type of thing anymore. 

Oh, I see. We changed. How sad.

Not sad. Good. It is good that we not believe in things which are not true and not possible.

Certainly. So what happened to him then? 

I haven’t the foggiest idea. 

 Huh. Perhaps then there is no explanation. 

Do not be ridiculous. There must be some explanation. We do not believe in things that have no explanation.

Ah, that also must be good.

Now what are you talking about?

Oh, I was just thinking about what you said. That it is good to not believe in things that are not true and not possible. It is also good that we do not believe in things that have no explanation.  This must also be good.

You are not making any sense. Everything has an explanation.

Except for the disappearance of our author.

No, even that has an explanation. We may not know the explanation yet, but we know there is one.

But how can we know there is always an explanation if there are things for which we have no explanation?

I do not understand you. Are you saying our author disappeared and there is literally no explanation for it?

Could be. Perhaps this is the first time in blog history that  a blog has lost its author. If so, why should we believe there is an explanation for it? We do not know the reason; therefore, why should there be one?  

The reason, my friend, is that we have always found an explanation for everything else in the world. Besides, it is preposterous to believe there would be no explanation.

You may be right. Huh.

Now what?

Well, I am just thinking that even if it is true —as you say — that we have found an explanation for everything else in the world, there is really honestly no reason to believe we might not eventually bump up against something that has no explanation. Or has no explanation that fits within the way we haven grown used to explaining things. Yes, perhaps even now there are things we are bumping up against in this world that have no explanation — or have an explanation that lies beyond our knowledge. And because of this, we ignore them, or even reject them.

Like what for instance?

Well, like the fact that Enoch was taken by God.

Really? Enoch again?

Well, as you say, perhaps it is not possible; but I am inclined to believe it is possible — for with God what can possibly be not possible? But we have no explanation for it, so we reject it as not possible, and also those who attest to it as simple or feeble or dark in their thinking, simply because we ourselves refuse to believe it. 

Look who’s dark in their thinking: People just don’t disappear.

But Enoch did.

Enough with Enoch! And people just don’t disappear without explanation. There is always an explanation.

Which, now that you mention it, is another thing that has no explanation. Why is it that reality must always provide an explanation? Why is it that there is any explanation at all? How is it that we know things at all? That we can understand the world around us, even to the point we are certain all things have an explanation? That seems to be the biggest mystery having no explanation. I mean, how do you explain that?

Sir, if you keep this rambling up, you will have us all returning back to the dark ages, or worse. And please don’t mention Enoch again.

Perhaps you are right. I do get carried away at times. But we still have the matter of our missing blog author.

Yes we do.

Whether he was translated or taken, or is now disembodied and roaming the ethereal plane freely — or perhaps hiding in a cottage somewhere in Ireland next to a peat fire — we must face facts that until we find him, there is not much left here to keep things going except for us, his thoughts, roaming rather freely.

Photos courtesy of dpatrickcollins.com

Artistic Expression

Last night I attended a conference for Christian artists: Painters, dancers, writers, even basket weavers (I kid you not — and world renowned). Earlier in the day, Jesus said something to me that was one of those things that sounded ordinary but was quite extraordinary. He said, “Your words are a prophetic act.” In the Revival (Charismatic) culture, everything these days is a “prophetic act.” You here the term so often it has lost all or most of its meaning.

But God was telling me something important about my gift (and I will add here, yours as well). He was saying that the very words I write bring the presence of God — bring, as we like to say in revival circles, Heaven to Earth. This was important to me not because God was validating my gift but because He was telling me that what I write has inherent value regardless of what purpose or value I subscribe to it. Art, in other words, does not need to have a purpose; the fact that it exists is purpose enough.

For years I have struggled with how this gift works. Many of you may not know I am a writer of fiction and that it in fact is my primary gift. And the one thing that has always been self-evident to me is that in any form of artistic expression, freedom is paramount. But it is real difficult expressing any artistic gift you possess with freedom when you are trying to make sure it has a “purpose.” How is this going to reach the lost? How will this advance the Kingdom?

The answer is rather simple yet profound: Our very act of artistic expression, conceived in freedom, is itself an advancement of the Kingdom. The creativity that God has placed within us, and wishes to release through us, is not neutral. God told me during worship last night, “Do not underestimate the power of art. Do not underestimate the power of your words.”

We may agree, but this is a bit of a paradigm shift for many in the church who feel everything should have an overt purpose. To say artistic expression matters and should have a place is to say something deeply theological: That we weren’t put on this planet to simply save the lost or “advance the Kingdom” through preaching and the latest local church initiative to make Christianity seem really appealing to others. (Or worse, to try to get our art to explicitly do the same, all of which is a hopeless form of manipulation). Rather, our very lives are a work of art, not an effort to advance the Kingdom but the very expression of the Kingdom.

All of this took a great burden off my shoulders, for I realized I had been trying so hard to make this life work, it was destroying any semblance of art within me. It caused me to write the following words, which I hope bless you:

My life is not an act of futility or frustration; my life is an act of worship.

Photo by Alex Holyoake on Unsplash