I am a follower as well as a seeker. A faithful Christ follower, with a deep heart that is easily full of pain and doubt, yet I cannot run from the one who made me. I cannot keep myself from the one who delivered me from the pain in my heart by providing a hope for the future. Yet I cannot help but continually say to myself “Damn, I suck at this whole Christian thing.” Because I do. We all do at some point. We are failures, covered by grace. Grace we so desperately need.
I work with a Christina Literary magazine called Relief Journal. It is strange and wonderful to be the kind of person who struggles with faith, but works with other, much stronger Believers, an that has been a great blessing. But, what has been even more of a blessing, are some of the writers who offer their work to Relief, and some of the artists that I have had the pleasure of contacting for cover artistry. They too have offered a great deal of insight into the mess of faith, and that has been a great deal of…well….relief….to me as a believer who gets caught up in the state of the world right now. The one 2 Timothy describes in chapter 3:
1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 6 For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. 9 But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.
Relief has offered me solace in a world of pretenders. People who have caught up in the “appearance of godliness” but see church and faith as a means of social climbing. As a means of self gratification. Relief strays away from the “Christianese” and eloquent words that so many frauds use, and puts faith plainly. It takes away the pastel pretty you see in paintings of Christ, and offers the contrast abstract of blood, gore, and death, that helped offer me life. It offers me real people, with real thoughts and feelings, who let go of the “faith filters” and put out their hard questions for God. The ones who seek. The ones who cry out: “Why the @#”$ me? What the @#”$ God?”
It offers me others, who are just as much of a mess as I am. Who come havering been judged by all the wrong people, but care more so about what God thinks of them. The ones with scars on their wrists, and tattoos on their arms. The ones with story’s to tell, stories to keep to themselves, and prayers their hearts bleed.
Currently I am looking for cover art for the next two issues. I have had only one response to my request for art samples, and it is proving good, but I would ideally like to have a few other artists so I can make a schedule line up. It stressful. It’s frustrating. I mean, let’s face it, artists don’t often willingly put heir artwork out there often. Some cling to it like a child, one who is prone to running away. Far away. To be ruined and torn. To be tarnished and corrupted. It’s been a very long haul. Only a month into the search and I’m already feeling defeated. Thankfully, God knows how to provide, and He will on His own terms…no matter how much it pisses me off.
You should check us out: reliefjournal.com Always looking for writers. If you’re interested in offering any artwork for the cover, leave a comment below and I can give you more info as to how to submit.