Trash Day – Art Reflection

myholytrinitychurch-Jon_Puls-Trash_DayHoly Trinity welcomes Jonathan Puls Associate Dean and Professor of Fine Art and Art History at Biola University. Jonathan’s art work accompanies us as we learn to follow Jesus in ordinary moments this season. He has gifted Holy Trinity with 4 paintings from his series entitled “Days.”   Says Puls,“I embarked on this group of ‘Day’ paintings in early 2012 and have produced one a year.” 

This first one is called ‘Trash Day.’ We all have trash days, perhaps a day of the week (for me it is Tuesday) or the semiannual large item pickup.  This trash day evokes especially those transitions in life, this major purging, when we clean out closets and garages, perhaps in the midst of a move we make from opportunity or necessity.  In these times or any time we must discard something, we must decide, perhaps unconsciously, what is valuable and what is not.

 

 


by Todd Pickett

Indeed, both the work and its title raise questions of value, of what we consider worthwhile and worthless, perception of usefulness and uselessness.

Our eyes, of course, find their way quickly to these three figures in the painting, two young girls and an elderly woman.  Are they family or neighbors?  Is it significant that, when it comes to usefulness or value, they are those at the end of life or at its beginning, the elderly and very young, no longer or not yet useful or valuable to an economy that produces what we call “goods” (itself a term of value: what is good?).   The elderly woman and two young girls seem to be only passing time, something on the face of it not very useful.

(pause)

And yet we sense something valuable is taking place here.

Let your eyes travel to one or two of these figures and wonder, how might each be experiencing this moment, what value or good might each be finding or seeking in one another?  

(pause)

Could it be the desire to delight another?  To receive or give praise? What new gifts might the older woman, perhaps surrounded by by things from her past, be receiving from these girls?  What might she be giving? Is the young girl in the foreground admiring her sister or friend, or waiting her turn for attention?  And what is each enjoying by just the presence or proximity to another?

(pause)

Someone has said that in every moment of our lives with others we are invited either to give love or receive it.

Much of this happens just this way, in the ordinary attention we give to one another.  Who in your life gives you attention?  From whom might you be called to receive love? Whom do you have a chance daily to attend to? To whom do you have a chance to give love in the normal round of things?  How might such attention color someone’s whole world, making even the daily or discarded stuff of life appear to be full of color and life, as they are in this painting?

(pause)

We are in the season of ordinary time, and we know from the gospels that the daily, ordinary life of Jesus’ ministry was marked by a willingness to attend to others, including those who might be considered of little value or none at all.  Let us observe this in him. Even today, Jesus miraculously through his Spirit is present here, attending to us, to each one of you.

(silence)

Sunday, July 3rd

Readings: Hebrews 3:1-14 & Matthew 4:23-5:16

Mere Information Is Not Sufficient

Most of us overestimate the power of information. Telling others what to do, or pleading with them to do something, does not compel deep or lasting change. For instance, at five feet, eleven inches tall I used to weight about 330 pounds. I was seriously round. I shopped in the big section of the Big and Tall shop. Friends said things like, “Is that your belt or the equator?” They addressed me playfully as “Your Circumference!”

Telling others what to do, or pleading with them to do something, does not compel deep or lasting change.

But calling attention to my girth or describing potential health problems didn’t change my eating habits. I was medicating pain with food. I was using food to entertain myself. I was using food to distract myself from anxiety. Those rewards were much more powerful than the information coming from weighing myself on a scale or from the remarks of people who loved me and wanted the best for me.

What finally broke through to me was answering some thoughtful questions put to me by a competent counselor. This gently led me to insights about my relationship to food, and about the inner realities that drove my addiction to it. Mere information usually is not sufficient to produce deep change. Neither is its cousin: pleading for change.

As a young baseball player I had lots of experience with family and friends sitting in the stands behind home plate and loudly encouraging me with comments like, “Come on Todd, watch the ball!” I had heard this so much by the time I was in high school, I wanted to yell back, “What do you think I am doing here? Watching the birds in the sky? Checking out the pitcher’s socks?”

I was trying to watch the ball! I needed an insightful coach to train me to actually watch the ball. This happened while playing for a great coach in college. He said, “Todd, next time you are up to bat, try to observe which way the red stitches on the ball are spinning.” It changed the way I hit the ball.

Mere information usually is not sufficient to produce deep change. Neither is its cousin: pleading for change.

For facilitating human change, yelling commands like “Watch the ball!” to a baseball player or “Quit being a jerk!” to a boss are seriously ineffective. But coaching questions, such as, “What did you notice about your heart or state of mind when Mr. Rude spoke up at the meeting?” accelerate human transformation.

Our Character At Work, pp. 112-113 – Todd Hunter


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Holy Trinity Partners With Lifewater

myholytrinity-LifewaterFunding a Well for a Rural Village

UPDATE: We just found out that our well will be in the Kaliro region of Uganda.

On Sunday, June 5 Holy Trinity welcomed good friend Bobby DeLancellotti as we launched our missional partnership with Lifewater to purchase a well for a rural village impoverished by the lack of a fresh water source. Lifewater is a Christian non-profit that brings clean water and sanitation to rural villages all over the world.

Our goal this summer is to raise $6,000 to fund a well in a village without the availability of fresh water. The project will integrate our entire community: adults and children! Families of pre-schoolers, children, and youth are invited to participate in our fundraising goal to purchase one well.

To read more about Lifewater, their mission and impact in the world, visit their website.

For information about Holy Trinity’s participation in the mission contact Trevecca Okholm at treveccao@gmail.com

Click here to listen to Bobby’s vision & mission at his visit to our church.

Click here to give, and click on Lifewater Well Fund in our directed giving box.