Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Sketches, Perspectives & Formation

Written by: on September 5, 2013

Over the past eight years I have had the privilege of discipling and caring for the souls of college students here at Lancaster Bible College.   Often this formation comes in the form of helping young men and women navigate the beginning stages of discovering their true identity.  Now, identity is a tricky thing.  At its  core, identity answers the
question, “Who are we?”  Discovering however, goes way beyond asking a question.  It is a complex journey of sifting through each person’s heritage, experiences, education and even the language we grew up hearing.  Our heritages shape who we are.  For the good, as well as for the bad.  Unconsciously, we make decisions based off repeated messages ingrained in our minds from those we grew up hearing.  Most of us use these embedded messages to choose the type of work we will go after, how we speak to our children, how we relate to our co-workers and even how we spiritually form others.

This past week while reading Visual Faith by William Dyrness, I was struck by the significance of how art connects us to deeper levels of worship and formation.  Images which exist deep within our own souls, can often be reshaped, challenged or even healed through a sister or brother carefully crafting their own perspective through art.

A few weeks ago I came across a powerful clip produced by Dove, called “Real Beauty Sketches.”  During my time watching I was impacted by the drastic difference in how one perceives themselves as compared to another.  It also begged a another question, “Is there a third perspective, which is completely different than the first two?”  Go ahead and watch, reflect.

Three Sketches, Three Perspectives on Identity

Sketch One – How we see ourselves…  A few years back I worked with one of the most creative people I’ve ever met.  She had more gifts and talents in her little pinky then I had in my whole body.  Yet, every time I complimented her or said something nice, she immediately shot down the compliment with a derogatory remark about herself.  Messages and labels from our past are extremely powerful.  If held hostage to them, they can often keep us from experiencing  a deeper healing in our own souls.  Part of healthy formation is healing emotionally from our pasts.

Sketch Two – How others often see us… We assume that others see us the same or worse then we see ourselves.  However, research proves otherwise.  Almost 90 percent of the time, those around you and I have a healthier perspective of your sketch than you do.  Our need for listening to the broader community  of God is essential to our formation and refining our own perspectives.

Sketch Three – How God sees us… While watching the Dove video I was struck by the question “How would a third sketch look created by God?”  Could you imagine!  The ability to see  yourself as God sees yourself.  All throughout scripture we see the concept of the Imago Dei, the image of God imprinted into each one of us.  I sense my third sketch would be even profoundly clearer  then the first two sketches.

The very shaping of our souls is most often connected to deeply through the artist and their art.  How has art been shaping you?


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Richard Rhoads

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