You can usually find me cuddled up on the couch watching Law and Order: SVU with my wife, Ruby, and our miniature schnauzer, Dallas. Ruby and I have been REUNIONers since the Summer of 2016 and I served in the arts under Mike Brown before coming on staff as the Arts Director last September. Since then, I’ve adopted a puppy, gotten engaged, married, moved, enrolled in and dropped out of seminary, began an additional full-time job as an A/V tech and gotten my appendix removed. God has been faithfully growing me through all of these changes.
One of our hopes at REUNION is that God is growing us all throughout life’s changes and making us a little more like Jesus each day. Sometimes it’s just hard to see exactly how He’s doing that. Chris asked the REUNION staff to share a bit about how God has been growing us lately. How is God moving in our lives? Where is God leading us? What do we love about our ministry and who is influencing it?
My favorite part of my role as Arts Director is spending time with REUNIONartists. Between sips of coffee and slices of pizza, we’ll talk about the weekly goings-on and how God is challenging us. Themes like how faith and creativity interact in our daily life, what creating “good” art for non-Christian audiences looks like and how to make a living as an artist come up pretty often. This summer, I set out to study up on some of those themes. Though my summer reading list is far from comprehensive, here are a few of the reads that are influencing me as we head into the Fall at REUNION. Of course, I would be glad to loan you any of these books if you’re interested!
“Creative Quest” is the latest book out by ?uestlove, music producer and drummer/co-frontman of The Roots. Admittedly, creativity is a tough topic to discuss and even harder to write about. Each artist is unique and what works for one doesn’t work for the other. Quest provides tons of cool stories that are sure to inspire and a few practices that are worth a shot. A few takeaways would be to trust your inner artist, challenge yourself to try new things, and be willing to let others help grow you.
A more “religious” read has been “Resident Aliens” by Stanley Hauerwas. We’ve quoted Hauerwas a few times since I’ve been at REUNION and it’s been neat to read him on my own. “Resident Aliens” isn’t a light read– I literally read every paragraph twice just to make sure I’m picking up what he’s putting down. Between the theological jargon and old white dude references, there are some really great ideas about how we live as Christians in a fallen world. Even here is not home!
Artists face the same financial challenges as everybody else, but artists are notorious for not handling those challenges well. Vicki Robin takes a radical look at personal finance in “Your Money or Your Life.” In the book, Robin seeks to change the reader’s relationship with money through introspection about how much their “life energy” is worth. I think it’s a great read for artists in particular because it challenges us to move away from the theoretical “making it” as an artist to thinking tangibly about how much is “enough.”
You can keep up with what I’m listening to by following REUNIONChristianChurch on Spotify. I curate a weekly playlist that includes 3-4 full albums by highly influential artists. On any given week, you’ll hear albums from Parliament Funkadelic to the Tedeschi Trucks Band to Tasha Cobbs Leonard to Ariana Grande. You can also check out playlists that feature our current rotation of worship songs and original music by REUNIONartists (past & present)!
I’m looking forward to what God has in store for REUNIONarts this Fall. The spirit-filled creative hive mind in REUNIONarts is so much bigger than mine and Bailey’s creative power alone. We rely on REUNIONartists to help shape and tell the gospel creatively on Sunday morning and beyond. Together, we’ll continue to reimagine what worship looks like at REUNION and dream about how we tell the story of the gospel creatively. Whether you’re new to REUNION or just haven’t served in awhile, we have opportunities for every kind of creative to serve. Challenge me on that! You can holler at me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.