Treasure in Unexpected Places

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Did you know that a few years ago, the British artist Banksy set up a stall at the edge of New York’s Central Park, and offered some of his most famous and sought-after works of art up for ridiculously low prices?

Some of Banksy’s most famous pieces, the monkey with a sign, the guy throwing flowers, the rat with a smirk, they were all there – but people walked by and completely ignored them.

Pieces which are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars were on sale for $60 a piece, and yet, over the course of the day, only three people bought prints from the old man watching over the stall, which was only labeled “Spray Art.”

One lady bought two pieces, but only after haggling for a 50% discount. One young woman bought a large canvas at full price, and one lucky man from Chicago bought four of them for his new house, because he just wanted “something for the walls,” and he thought these would suffice.

All in all, Banksy sold $225,000 of art for just $420. The entire stall was holding over $1 million worth of art, but no one recognized the incredible value of what they were walking right past.

Here’s an article about it, and below is a video which was taken of the stunt as it happened.

Or maybe you’ve heard about the world famous violinist, Joshua Bell, who, two days after selling out a theater in Boston where the average seat price was over $100, entered a Washington D.C. metro station and played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, on a violin worth $3.5 million. In 45 minutes, he made $32 in tips, and of the thousands of people who walked by, only six stopped to listen.

Here’s an article and a video of that.

“From now on therefore…”

How many times do we do the same thing? We overlook the treasure that is right before us, because it is in a place we didn’t expect to find it.

We overlook it in the people about whom we are predisposed to think a certain way. We overlook it in nature and in all kinds of other places.

The Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:16: “From no on therefore, we will regard no one according to the flesh.”

He is making a determination, that he will not look at people the same way anymore. Why not? Because in the prior verses, he talked about how Jesus has died to redeem us. Not everyone will receive that gift of redemption; Paul mentions that when he talks about how, in light of what God has done, we now seek to compel and persuade others to look to Jesus and receive God’s grace freely offered to them, as if God as making his appeal through us: we implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God! (2 Corinthians 5:11,20)

CS Lewis put it this way:

There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.
(CS Lewis, The Weight of Glory)

Beyond just the fact that no human you ever encounter is a mere moral, Paul tells us something even more astounding: that for those of us who have received this gift of redemption and new life in Christ, God has placed the light of his glory within us – as if someone put a great treasure in a simple clay pot… or if Banksy set up a stall in Central Park, or if the greatest violinist in the world were playing in a subway station…

Will you determine to see the beauty and the majesty that God has placed around you? Will you determine to see people differently than you have – as those who bear the image of God, and for those who have been redeemed: those in whom the glory of God dwells?

I know that I need to do this myself: to slow down and consider the treasure and the beauty of what (and who) is around me. I bet I’m not the only one ūüôā

John Taft Gallery

One of the great things about Longmont is the local art scene, and the gem of the local art scene is landscape painter John Taft.

I acknowledge that I may be biased in this, being that the Taft family are friends of ours and attend White Fields Church, but I still stand by my assessment. John has won numerous awards and honors for his work, including a feature article in Southwest Art Magazine.

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John and Lisa Taft

Tonight we went to John’s¬†gallery on 3rd and Main for the monthly Second Friday show. Unfortunately tonight may be the last of these shows, as John currently plans to move out of the downtown space he has been in for the past 2 years.

Even if the gallery does close, John’s work will still be available in several galleries around Colorado as well as through his website: johntaft.com

You should click that link and check out John’s work. Seriously – do it.

We recently became the proud owners of a John Taft painting (we like to think of ourselves as collectors now :), and hope to acquire more in the future.

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The Longmont Pastor and the Cady family’s first John Taft piece: “White Roses”

What’s special about John and his art is that he approaches¬†art as a form of bringing glory to God. Displaying God’s created beauty in a way that moves people and taps into the human heart’s¬†innate longing for perfection and beauty¬†honors God and leads people to glorify him.

Check out John’s stuff online, and if you live in Longmont or elsewhere in Colorado, take the opportunity to check out his paintings in person at a gallery near you. Seeing the brush strokes up close and then stepping away – it’s the whole experience. Don’t pass it up.

The Open Market and Songs About God

Following up on my recent post about Bono on Jesus:

I think sometimes¬†it¬†can be easy for Christians to forget what Romans 1:19-20 says:¬†“For what can be known about God is plain to [all people], because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.”

What that means is that all people are grappling with ideas and questions about God. Christians can be quick to discount what people “outside the fold” think or say about God – but the truth is that sometimes they have some pretty astute and profound things to say, even though they may have no commitment to Jesus. On the other hand, I am sometimes frustrated with the trite nature and shallow lyrics of some “Christian” music.

The are some “secular” songs out there which put some “Christian songs” to shame, because they reflect a deeper, more sincere, more REAL¬†engagement with questions about¬†the person¬†and character of God.

Here are a few examples for you. If you have any others to suggest, leave me a comment below!

First: Regina Spektor

Second: Dashboard Confessional.  Listen especially to the middle of this one, where Chris Carrabba is asking God to help him with the sin he wants to be set free from and talks about his struggles with unbelief.