Art by Mark Nii Hylton

Ghanaian artist Mark Nii Hylton will have an art show here in Seattle at the Q cafe beginning July 3rd. It looks very interesting.  I hope to attend.  Here is some info on Mark and a sneak preview

Mark Nii Hylton combines realism and abstraction and effectively uses a mixture of raw primary colors in an expressive, effective and controlled style. His choice of medium ranges from acrylic, oil pastel, to black ball.

Mark was born in Akuse, Ghana, in 1978. Nii completed his classical training at Ghanatta College of Art in Accra, Ghana . He graduated with a Diploma in Graphic Design and Painting in 2002. In 2004, He traveled to the United States of America where he is currently pursuing his BFA in Painting at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. He won the Presidents Honorary Scholarship and Art Assistant Scholarship during his first semester of college. Currently, he works as a part time artist. He is inspired by the traditional, cultural and social aspects of African life. In Fall 2004 and 2005, he participated in the Red Barn Arts and Crafts festival in Kirksville, Missouri and won the best Student Art Award in 2005. He was the first African student from Truman State University to introduce African art into the local community. Mark is also a proud member of the Columbia Art League in Columbia, Missouri. He joined the organization in April 2007.

Preview his work.

Photo Show

Those of you that are in British Colombia might be interested in this photo show.  Tom Balke takes beautiful photos and often contributes to the MSA Seed Sampler including the upcoming edition.  He has been involved in Mustard Seed Associates for many years and is a frequent speaker at our conferences as well.  He is also a very good friend.

THe World’s Women Need Our Help

We have just posted the main articles for the MSA Seed Sampler which will be distributed tomorrow. Thought that you might find the lead article interesting

“‘The church’s challenge for the 20th century was the equality of women,’ proclaimed the speaker at a conference I attended recently. ‘Now that this battle has been won, we need to move on to new issues facing the church in the 21st century.’ I was stunned as I thought of my many women friends around the world who still struggle to find acceptance and feel valued within their society and their churches. This statement has revolved in my mind ever since. What have women gained in the last few decades, and as we look to the future what are they still seeking?” Read the entire article

Church Basement Roadshow

On Monday we hosted Doug Pagitt, Mark Scandrette and Tony Jones for a BBQ lunch. They are on tour promoting their books – Soul Graffiti, The New Christians and A Christianity Worth Believing and entertaining audiences with The Church Basement Roadshow

It was fun to catch up with old friends and make new ones. I have appropriated some of Mark’s material for the urban walk at our conferences (with acknowledgment of course) and have been challenged by the way that he and his wife live and work in community. Doug too is involved in Solomon’s Porch a community church in Minneapolis. Tony Jones is the national coordinator of Emergent Village. This was the first time we had met him. I am looking forward to reading his book.

The Prayer of Examen

The Mustard Seed team met again this morning for a session on discernment.  We had intended to discuss our spiritual gifts and talents and seek to discern together how we could use these to further the ministry of MSA.  However Ricci Kilmer was unable to join us because Gabriel still has a slight fever so instead we spent our time going through the Jesuit Prayer of Examen. This was a very rewarding exercise in which we found ourselves not only listening more closely to God but also to each other.

This prayer takes about 10 – 15 minutes to complete and provides a process in which we seek to discern the movement of the Spirit of God throughout our day or week.  It is a prayer that draws us into the presence of God and with the intention of discerning how God has interacted with us during the day.  It is not always a comfortable prayer as we must take time to allow God to challenge as well as encourage us.  This is a prayer that requires a response from us.  Sometimes we need to seek forgiveness from others that we have wronged.   At other times there may be a very positive response as we are made aware of God’s enjoyment of our faithfulness.

There are five steps:to the prayer

  1. Recalling we are in the presence of God
  2. Looking over the events of the day with gratitude for the day’s gifts
  3. Inviting the Holy Spirit to help us evaluate our actions and attitudes with honesty and patience
  4. Reviewing the day making yourself aware of where Christ assisted your decisions and where you should have paused to receive his instruction
  5. A heart to heart talk with Jesus sharing your thoughts on your actions, attitudes, feelings and interactions.

I hope that you find this process as helpful as we do.

A Weekend to Remember and Forget

Well the weekend is over and it is one that I both enjoyed and hope I never have to repeat. Saturday morning we headed up to Camano Island to start preparations for our Celtic Prayer Retreat August 9th. Going up to the land, walking the prayer trails (now a little overgrown but still recognizable) and just generally soaking in the beauty of God’s good creation is one of the most relaxing things I know. Of course the fact that we were laying down gravel in some rather muddy patches on the road made it a little more busy than sometimes but it was a day well spent.
Shortly after we returned home, Ricci came down with their son Gabriel who had a high fever. I had just gotten him into a tub of cold water when he started to convulse. Now probably one in 20 kids have a febrile (fever induced) convulsion at some point in their lives but that does not help when it is you kid (or godson as is the case here). Even the fact that I have treated lots of these kids in my days in the emergency room at the hospital did not make it any easier.
So here is a good piece of advice for all parents of young children. If your child does have a febrile convulsion – get him cool (tepid water or fan or both) and lay him on his side on the floor then call 911. Chances are that the fit will not last long but since you don’t know it is good to get those emergency guys there as well.
That’s exactly what we did – got him wet and laid him on his side until the paramedics arrived – doesn’t sound spectacular but the most important thing is to make sure that he is breathing and that his tongue is not obstructing his air passages. The only thing extra that the paramedics did was to give him oxygen.
He is now doing fine and will probably never have this happen again but I know that all of us will be a little stressed every time he has a fever for a little while.
Sunday was another busy day – church in the morning and then the first BBQ of the season with some of the local young church planters – Karen Ward and Gareth, an intern from Britain, Ryan Marsh, Tim and Cote Soerens, Eric Likkel and his family and Penny Carrruthers and her family. It was a great time for food, fellowship and fun. I might be prejudiced but I think that Tom makes the best BBQ in Seattle.

Seminary at Sing Sing

Did you know that you can actually get a seminary degree while in prison?  Here is a great story from Jim Wallis at Sojourner’s about speaking to inmates at Sing Sing

Last Wednesday evening, June 11, I was blessed and honored to give the commencement address at Sing Sing Prison. The New York Theological Seminary offers a program of theological study leading to the degree of Masters of Professional Studies, with all courses taking place inside the walls of the Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, New York. In twenty-six years this extraordinary and courageous seminary training program has graduated hundreds who then go on to ministry, both inside the prison system of New York and back in the community when their sentences are finished.  Read more