The View from Stage Right

Outside my desk, there is a mini-display. On it are artifacts, pieces of art, and books with the same theme. They are all by Japanese Christian artists.

As a Japanese American, I find the visual aesthetic of East Asia hits my heart in a way that doesn't work in translation. For so many years, my spiritual self lived separate from my Japanese American self. But as both have become integrated, I find myself deeply resonating with the visual art from Asian that wrestles with Christian themes.

I love this video by Minsoo, one of the dancers at Urbana. In it, he gives a glimpse of the behind the scenes for one of the pieces we did of the paralytic. Performing the scriptures can be both an amazing ministry but when it is lived out by the artists, I think there’s a way that God uses Minsoo talks about his experience of that here in this video. I’ve also seen Jenny Hall, our dance director, bring a depth to her art, as she’s also made choices to live out her faith in challenging urban areas.

Urbana has always been a global conference. With folks from 120+ countries, it just has to be. For many years, the content of the main sessions has been offered in translation in Spanish, French and ASL (officially) and unofficially in Japanese and Korean. And for me it was always one of the hightlights to sit at dinner with someone from Paraguay, or chat about a seminar with someone from India.  

One of my favorite Urbana moments was in the quiet moments before the Join In on Dec. 29. We were on the verge of something—the sense of expectation of what God was going to do through the night was high. But at the same time, we weren’t sure that it was going to work.  In the months prior to the event, there felt like so many divine appointments and intervention that it felt like God was the one orchestrating it all.

Take a look behind the scenes at the building of the Urbana 12 stage.

Read the earlier post: The Theology of Production.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.

—MLK, Letter from a Birmingham jail

A family giving the generous gift of a chicken—an implusive, lavish response to the presence of foreign visitors to their remote homestead, about 2 hours from the nearest city. The joy of the matriarch, as she hands a chicken, wings flapping to a startled woman, the woman who’s smile and warmth bridged what words couldn’t communicate. Startled, she receives the chicken with two hands like a person unfamiliar with holding a baby.

Some evenings, I close my day with a prayer. A prayer that is beautiful, simple, and moves me in different ways. But oftentimes it lulls me into a comfortable place that allows me rest.

Watch oh Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen.

Recently returned from a trip to Swaziland. We were filming several pieces for use at Urbana. Trying to tell various stories. Visiting with some of the community members there. It is a gorgeous land of amazing vistas, deep cultural roots, and colors. A fun culture, watching the Swazis teasing and laugh with each other. But it is also a deeply different culture from the one I have in Madison—illness, AIDS, death.

Our program team helped develop an e-magazine for Relevant magazine called Reject Apathy. It was a great opportunity to communicate some of the amazing ways that God is working in world. We were able to highlight some of the organizations and people who inspire us.

Hope you enjoy it: http://issuu.com/relevantmagazine/docs/reject-apathy-issue-03

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