• There is great freedom in recognizing your own brokenness. An awareness of our inability to impress God or earn his favor on our own terms leaves us utterly reliant on his undeserved, lavish, and extravagant […]

    • Thank you, Heidi! This was good for my heart this morning–and I love the freshness of the exhortation to sing hymns and psalms to one another in this context.

  • @mrs-hittle That’s the plan. We thought it was best to keep the conversation here where people can easily find and be part of it, rather than splintering off into Facebook groups etc?

  • @Ken – I’m glad you are going to join us! The plan at the minute is simply to share what we have learned via the comments thread on the posts for each chapter. Ideally, it would be great if people studied the chapter individually or with some friends during the week prior to the posts so that we are in a position to share our discoveries,…[Read more]

  • For a long time, I’ve been fascinated by the Jewish concept of haverim. While it has more than one meaning, a haverim often refers to a group of friends who study Scripture and then discuss it together, earnest i […]

    • Thank you, Heidi and Stephen. This is delightful.

    • Oh me, me! Pick me! i was seriously just thinking about studying Ephesians. And you came to mind, Heidi. And now here you are launching an Ephesians study at the Rabbit Room and calling us a haverim. These are too many things at once not to think of this as a gift.

    • Mr. David said my exact thought. thank you for the tip on getting into context with “original audience”.

    • @Ken – I’m glad you are going to join us! The plan at the minute is simply to share what we have learned via the comments thread on the posts for each chapter. Ideally, it would be great if people studied the chapter individually or with some friends during the week prior to the posts so that we are in a position to share our discoveries, ‘haverim’ style. I’m looking forward to digging into this together.

    • So 2 years ago i started the process of memorizing the book of Ephesians. I had never done something so big before. I got about halfway through before my sister-in-law passed away from cancer and our lives got turned upside down. I have tried to pick back up several times since, but just haven’t gotten back into my routine. I have really been wanting to do more study of the book and get back into it. So my heart beat a little faster, and like you @mrs-hittle, I felt like this was a gift. So excited to take this journey with some of ny favorite people!

    • Hello – Had the privilege to attend my first Hutchmoot last year which included the wonderful opportunity to attend Heidi’s inspiring workshop. Also very much enjoyed the Living Letters. I’m interested in experiencing haverim .

    • when are we staring?

    • So we are to share what we’ve learned in the comments for each chapter, even if those insights diverge from the topic of the post? Just wanting to clarify because i feel a little awkward diving in.

    • @mrs-hittle That’s the plan. We thought it was best to keep the conversation here where people can easily find and be part of it, rather than splintering off into Facebook groups etc?

    • Great! i totally agree about splintering. Just wanted to be sure i was on topic. 🙂

  • Almost twenty years ago, while I was at university, my parents decided to move back to the seaside village in Northern Ireland where I had spent the first twelve years of my life. We relocated several times during […]

    • We’ve only been in Knoxville for twelve years, but I can relate to stumbling into these same kinds of lessons as my family moved also moved around a lot when I was younger. Thanks for sharing! I always enjoy hearing from you.

  • Two years ago at Hutchmoot, Doug McKelvey and I did a session on the importance of both anchors and grappling hooks in the life of a writer. For me, the topic was born out of a growing desire to understand why […]

    • An excellent, thought-provoking post for all of us who long to glorify the Lord through our work as sub-creators. Thank you for writing it.

    • Thank you, Heidi, for writing this. I don’t think I can fully articulate how timely it is for me to read these words. God bless.

    • Thanks Heidi,

      I so appreciated your articulation of this vital aspect of creative endeavour. It’s something I have struggled with in my journey of creative expression in Christ of late.

      I attempted to communicate this to a number of folk in an email a month or so ago. It is a concern on my heart, for my community – and for our generation.

      I include the words I wrote, here, to add to this little discussion & place of interaction – the Rabbit Room – which I also so appreciate:

       

      (late October 2017)

      “… I have found it a challenge over the last year or two in finding a place/mode/arena for honest, serious, face-to-face conversation of substance within my daily/weekly life, with special regard to my faith community.

      – TIME in our society might just be THE biggest obstacle to building vibrant, effective, and nourishing/transforming community.

      – Geographical distance to/from those we have established trusting, vulnerable relationships with, I would say, is another big limiting factor.

      – Consensus within society, and even within faith communities, seems to be fragmenting exponentially in our time.

      – It can be much more comfortable to avoid controversial issues, painful experiences, and ultimate questions.

      – Being labelled is akin to having stones thrown at you,
      being named is a refreshing open hand of welcome.

      – I personally have found that relationships in which I have been free to be honest & vulnerable, yet accepted & listened to deeply – these relationships have been sources of vast beauty, a rich treasure, and a strength to step into new places of life with growing confidence.

      – There is a sense of sacredness to the time in which these conversations/connections occur – a holiness of sorts which must be protected from the destruction of unwarranted interruption/intrusion.

      – For artists of faith and those wishing to speak into their culture/generation with incisiveness, clarity, & discernment – a nourishing community & a solid scriptural foundation are essential.

      – Engaging in such a pursuit, I think, is a very worthy goal.
         And something I’m endeavouring to learn, and to do.

      ———————

      Here’s a quote I’ve been chewing on lately, which undergirds my thinking and the words expressed here –

      “To put oneself under the authority of God is
      a way of breaking with the cultural pressure,
      the demands of other people’s opinions and
      expectations, the interiorized demands of the
      advertisers, the need to get on and to get
      ahead. It’s a way of making for once a
      thoroughly non-trivial choice about the whole
      way one sees and lives life…”

      “It’s a way into a world in which there are real
      values to guide one and real truth to conform to.
      It may be demanding, but, unlike the irrational
      compulsions of consumerism and hedonism, it
      has a truly desirable goal in view…”

      – Richard Bauckham ”
       

    • I echo the sentiments of those who commented above.  Heidi, I loved how you illuminated the chapter in Exodus where God specifically calls out the artisans.  Art, especially the works of the masters, has that transporting ability to enhance the reality in which we live.  I’d love to believe that, during the Tabernacle construction, when people saw Bezalel and Oholiab working their craft, it inspired them to work harder and better.  Also, your C.S. Lewis quotations were perfectly suited to what I needed to hear today.  It has been a long time since I’ve opened “Till We Have Faces,” and your writing made me think it’s time for a revisit.  Thank you for sharing.

    • Wow. I love this. This is the perspective I want to have on purpose in writing and creating. You’ve gathered the elusive thoughts that have been humming in the back of my mind, enhanced them, and put them so beautifully into words I couldn’t find!

      Especially love this: “When we speak purely out of our own imaginations our words do little to penetrate the darkness, however hopeful they may seem. Only when we are anchored in what is true can we find the freedom to wrestle with life’s big questions without becoming despondent, to explore beauty without becoming hedonists and to enjoy the privilege of intimacy with God without losing sight of who He truly is.”

      Creativity anchored in truth. Imagination rooted and strengthened with Scripture and the truest Story of all. I love it! Thanks for sharing.

    • What beautiful inspiration for the start of a new writing year! May our stories spring from a rootedness in the word.

  • For my family, like so many others, 2016 was a year punctuated by loss and grief. It was a year of watching as people we loved fought heroic battles, some ending with partings we prayed would not come. In the […]

    • Heidi, this is courageous and beautiful.

      And this line: “…if truth depends on my experience or my feelings then my strongest anchor point is myself.” Yes!

      Makes me think of an old hymn, “we have an anchor that keeps the soul steadfast and sure while the billows roll.” Judging the goodness of God by our circumstances is like trying to anchor our lives on a storm wave.

      Thank you for the reminder and the encouragement.

    • Goodness. I needed to read this. Thank you for sharing this story. Thank you for reminding us what is true.

    • Thank you for sharing this. My family has found itself in the middle of a rolling sea this year with no resolution in sight, yet the Lord is reminding me over and over that this present circumstance is not the end of the story. He holds the outcome in His hand. And no matter what, He is proving faithful to go down into the darkest places with us. Thank goodness for God’s truth that is still real when we “find ourselves face down in the dirt, broken by grief.” He _is_ faithful.

    • I went through a similar experience right around my 40th birthday, and you have put it so beautifully. Thank you so much.

    • I see that the same line resonated with Helena: “if truth depends on my experience or my feelings then my strongest anchor point is myself.” So powerful, so fundamental. What a great post, one that I will return to many times. Thank you.

  • Rachel and Profile picture of Heidi JohnstonHeidi Johnston are now friends 2 years ago

  • A liturgy for moving forward after an argument (when the apologies have been made, the air cleared and you want to take a moment to choose to let go of it and move forward with more understanding and more grace.)

    A liturgy for pruning plants in autumn.

    A liturgy for spring planting

    A liturgy for the preparation of a meal

    A liturgy for…[Read more]

  • A Liturgy for moving forward after an argument (When the apologies have been made and the air cleared but you want to take a moment to acknowledge that you are letting go of the argument and moving forward with a deeper understanding of grace.)

    A liturgy for the pruning of plants

    A liturgy for spring planting

    A liturgy for unexplained…[Read more]

  • A couple of years ago a friend introduced me to the resources available at the Bible Project. It may be that I am late to the party, however I have found myself turning to them increasingly often in recent months. […]

    • Had never heard of the Bible Project before and I have now been gobbling up the videos and podcasts since reading this.  These guys somehow wed the complexity of the Scriptures with a very accessible approach. Thanks for sharing, Heidi!

  • What does it look like when writers, artists, poets, musicians and storytellers choose to use their gifts for the glory of God? Have you ever wondered why God chose to work into you a love of words? A vivid […]

    • “We are called to step into a story that is bigger than ourselves and to bring every gift we have to the collective task of telling it.” This is beautiful, Heidi. Thank you!

  • The church in Ephesus had a fascinating back-story. Made up of people from every social and cultural background imaginable, from those steeped in Old Testament law to others raised in a culture of ritual […]

    • You had me at Ephesians – my favorite Pauline epistle. You captured in very few words what has always been a treasure to me about this letter.  And if that weren’t enough, you threw Narnia in for good measure. Thank you for the reminder that the gracious gifts God gives are meant to make His church beautiful. Yes and amen!

    • While our individual, intimate relationship with God is both beautiful and crucial, it cannot properly exist outside of the rag tag bunch of broken souls who have been touched by the same grace. 

      Amen! I am so grateful that the Holy Spirit has recently worked in my life to emphasize the necessity of the entire body of Christ. Thank you for your encouragement!

    • While our individual, intimate relationship with God is both beautiful and crucial, it cannot properly exist outside of the rag tag bunch of broken souls who have been touched by the same grace. 

      Amen! I am so grateful that the Holy Spirit has recently worked in my life to emphasize the necessity of the entire body of Christ. Thank you for your encouragement!

    • This is a beautiful reminder Heidi.  Thank you!

    • This is a beautiful reminder, Heidi.  Thank you 🙂

  • Last year in Nashville I bought some pumpkin and caramel scented candles. For the next few weeks our home was filled with a smell that, in my mind, will forever be associated with Hutchmoot. While I burned my […]

    • John the Evangelist particularly linked events with scents. I’ve always loved that phrase in John’s account of the anointing at Bethany: “the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” The smell of a charcoal fire attended Peter’s repeated denials of Jesus; the charcoal fire scent also attended Jesus’s thrice-repeated “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Scent, plus repetition. The two events would have been linked in memory; “his grief he will not forget; but it will not darken his heart, it will teach him wisdom.”

      This is a lovely post, and an outstanding concluding proposal about deliberately tapping into the scent-memory connection. Thank you.

    • I really love your writing Heidi. Every time I have read one of your pieces, I have come away being challenged and blessed. Thank you!

      Both my grandmothers passed away last year, and I’ve been realizing how much I associate certain smells with them. My Mammaw always cooked for us, and I can’t smell potatoes frying without thinking of her. My Grandma Jane lived at a lake, and we spent wonderful summer days swimming and playing in the lake. It’s a distinct, but wonderful smell to me.

      Thank you for bringing our five senses into your descriptions of God’s Word. It brings it to life. Thank you again!

    • Speaking for my own experience, I often wonder how much we in lower-church Protestantism have over-corrected for what has been seen as mere affectation (if not much worse). While I think there are very valid concerns about iconography and the reliance on rituals, have we lost some God-ordained ways to worship? Is the worship shown in the Bible as austere to the physical senses as we usually make it?

    • Thank you for a thought-provoking post, Heidi. I have a friend who says there were so many roses at her mother’s funeral that for years the scent for her was a reminder of sadness.
      If our Lord smelled like royalty at his death, I’m wondering if, in addition to being a reminder of his kingship and an inspiration to long for what was to come, the scent also became a reminder of the horror of crucifixion.
      Added to this smell, the Gospel of John tells us that myrrh and aloes, seventy-five pounds worth, were used in the wrapping of his body, as was common. I’m guessing lots of folks associated those particular smells with dead bodies and funerals.
      I wonder what Jesus smelled like at his resurrection. I wonder if that glorified body smelled like the shroud — a mixture of perfume, myrrh and aloes. I wonder if those scents of royalty, horror and death also became part of the smell of resurrection, of joy, of hope, of everlasting life.

    • Brilliant. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been smoking my pipe on a bench in some random city when people have literally stopped in their tracks and told me with a wistful smile how much the smell reminded them of their grandfathers or fathers. We do this with music, too. Whenever the Petersons go on a family holiday we try to listen to one particular album over and over so that years later those same songs bring to mind that particular place. Whenever music from Riders in the Sky comes on we’re thrust into Yellowstone National Park. When we hear the first Colony House record we’re suddenly driving through Sweden together at midsummer. Thanks for the post, Heidi!

    • This was a great post to read after a somewhat long absence from RR. Thank you, Heidi! Such beautiful thoughts, of Jesus’s scent after Mary anointed him, of the richly scented rituals in the Old Testament… I’ll be pondering this all day, and probably much longer!

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