morph & grow with us – contemporary sacred art platforms

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The Art Evangelist, formerly a liturgical art advisory, has been growing and changing in ways that are just phenomenal, including a recent relocation from Southwest Florida to Central Connecticut.  So it stands too, that our interests and direction are naturally morphing as we cultivate our passion and draw nearer to what is true, especially now that we are in the Northeast Corridor with much greater access to metropolitan art centers.

We know contemporary and modern interfaith artworks of the sacred lack adequate and original online platforms and traditional physical galleries.  More pointedly, contemporary sacred art lacks advocates who voice the importance of the work, its utility in community and faith, and the challenges within meaning and execution.  Beginning in September 2017, The Art Evangelist will solely concentrate on artists and artworks (based in the US) that seek to channel belief systems, spiritual spark, and inspirationally reflective and unique voices, especially if those voices expand our thinking and understanding.

We warmly invite you to follow us @shaunaleelange on Twitter where we regularly post  about new trends in art and theology.  We also want to host your accomplished artworks on our Instagram @theartevangelist.  Much love to you as you continue to explore what is authentic, what is whole, and what is “love” in your own lives.  As always, you may (without fee) join our global network of art professionals and influential literati at Creative Art Consultants International or email us at shaunaleelange@gmail.com or call 941.875.5190.

In Review: Michael Singer, The Untethered Soul

IN REVIEW: Michael Singer, The Untethered Soul

By Shauna Lee Lange

While living in Tampa, Florida, in the early 1990s, our family suffered an all-consuming house fire. Poof. Everything instantly burnt to embers. Even still today, it’s hard to reconcile the fact that one’s reality can be dismantled so abruptly. How can a singular incident alter so much of what we know and trust and believe? In the physical sense, at that moment, I lost my United States military uniform, a testament I’d hoped to pass down to my children as a heritage and legacy. In the spiritual sense, I have now gained acceptance and friendship with the transitory. The gift of that fire was in the understanding and knowledge that all that ever really lasts, all that really ever matters, is love.

Singer - 1Author Michael Singer would agree. In his 2015 publication The Surrender Experiment (Harmony Books), Singer speaks of the spiritual liberation of deep inner surrender, especially in the midst of life’s extraordinary events. While I was still reflecting on this, out of nowhere, my brother’s ex-wife sent me a copy of Singer’s 2007 seminal work, The Untethered Soul (New Harbinger Publication/Noetic Books). Her gracious gift exemplifies the subtitle: The Journey Beyond Yourself. It is this unhitching, unfastening, and unleashing that speaks especially to creative and spiritual people. “Untethering” represents an intentional and purposeful disconnecting from security for the sake of something grander.

We want to cling to the familiar, you know. As such, though its application is still valid ten years after initial publication, The Untethered Soul was a bit of a philosophical reach for me. Although I admire the merits of free-flowing yogadic meditation methods, I tend to prefer the directed visio divina (divine seeing) for demystifying life’s questions. Yet, I am mindful of the words of Lesslie Newbigin in Foolishness to the Greeks: “The fact that Jesus is much more than our culture-bound vision of him can only come home to us through the witness of those who see him through other eyes.”[1] And so, as I continue my search, as an artist and believer, to find the best methods to tap into the divine and unlock the secret regions of the heart, I work, play, pray, and make art.

Artists often enhance our prayer life through creative expression and channel our inspiration into physical products, as a form of witness and communication. Singer would say that even this busy-ness, this work, even this can be a form of attachment. Further, our attempts at self-medication, preservation, protection, and insulation are all efforts at not feeling too much. Likewise, neurosis, self-doubt, worry, and confusion keep us at the center of our own manufactured worlds.

Maybe you have found the slow and intentional practice that leads to true co-creation as a godly artist. Looking with God’s eyes, bringing life to his plan for beauty, submitting to his leadership and will, pursuing a heart of purity, and healing others are proven pathways to intimacy with God. If we ask what it is to create, what is the true meaning of the sacred, and ultimately what is holy, Singer would say the answers can be found only when we relax and release.

The Untethered Soul divides a stream-of-consciousness writing style into five concrete sections. In “Awakening Consciousness,” we’re asked about our internal voices and prompted to truly answer the “Who Are You?” questions. In “Experiencing Energy,” we’re reminded of the Infinite Source and asked not to close our hearts to the undesirable in life. In “Freeing Yourself,” Singer compares a rose’s thorns to our fear of personal pain in moving toward true freedom. “Going Beyond” encourages us to pursue a lifelong practice of dismantling walls and letting go of false solidity. Finally, in “Loving Life,” we are reminded that death is our constant, faithful companion and teacher. By employing a Taoist stance of “finding the center of all experience,” we can be helped in regulating life’s extremes.

After the house fire, everything was a confused uncertainty. Ours was a suspected arson, and I found myself shutting down and turning off with friends and family. Those were dark vertigo days of imbalance and clouded thought. I remember thinking that the only thing I really wanted from life (beyond immediate answers) was to feel joy, enthusiasm, and love again. The details, the paperwork, the investigations became overwhelming. At a certain point, when I couldn’t stop the speeding train, I just sort of decided to let this situation take place and be there with it because I really had no other choice. Singer would call this approach, sitting in the seat of consciousness. A thought or emotion emerges, you notice it, and it passes because you allow it to, rather than clinging to it.

This technique of semi-detachment has facilitated my art practice since, as well. If the spiritual journey is one of constant transformation, so is the artistic one. We wish to give up the struggle of remaining the same, and we seek to embrace change. But the journey is often, if not always, one we must take alone. Singer writes:

You see, loneliness is just like a thorn. It causes pain and disturbance in all aspects of your life. But in the case of the human heart, we have more than one thorn. We have sensitivities about loneliness, about rejection, about our physical appearance, and about our mental prowess. We are walking around with lots of thorns touching right against the most sensitive parts of our heart. At any moment something can touch them and cause pain inside.

If we can get to the stage of being okay with everything, that’s the time everything will be okay. When we embrace the natural unfolding of life, analytical angst can be transformed into open-hearted observation, where we recognize, acknowledge, and let each moment pass, not denying the pain or discomfort, but in recognition that each moment will pass, and that peace and joy may be found on the other side of turmoil. This can only occur when we give up clinging and attachment by untethering.

You may protest that it is hard to let go. Believe me, I know, but there can be joy in sailing free in unchartered waters. There is light, love, compassion, joy, and protection in yielding to the Holy Spirit. One way to do that is by remaining quietly in the center of each event, buoyed by the awareness that it will pass. The free soul is the happy soul, one that accepts it all—good or bad, painful or joyful—embracing a journey beyond oneself.

The Untethered Soul is accompanied by online resources including a reading guide, video clips, and recorded talks with Michael Singer.

[1] Lesslie Newbigin, Foolishness to the Greeks: The Gospel and Western Culture (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988).


Shauna Lee Lange is the founder of The Art Evangelist, a full-service liturgical art advisory specializing in sacred, visionary, and interfaith art. The firm is dedicated to arts immersion in sacred spaces, public places, and creative placemaking. Lange is also the founder of Creative Arts Consultants International, a growing global network of over 18,000 art professionals.

national rural assembly wants your big idea – what if we???

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The National Rural Assembly is founded upon three major tenants: kids, climate, and culture. And while we remain focused on our mission of advocating for spiritual and sacred art and faith, it remains true that one of the components we love about the good NRA (ha) is its Rural Arts & Culture Working Group.

It happens that during 2017, the bi-annual assembly will not be held.  Instead, a collaborative think tank has been established to gather YOUR BIG IDEAS.

The “big ideas” initiative is driven by support from The Duke Endowment. A diverse group of 40 rural leaders will gather February 21-23, 2017 for some creative and intense brainstorming. They will be asked to put forward their best thinking around how the larger collective can achieve a stronger, more just nation.  The hope is to emerge with one or more “big ideas” that can be carried forward in rural America.
You can participate in this initiative and in the ensuing work from your desk by completing one or all of these steps:

1. Fill out the initial participant questionnaire. Your responses will be shared on the Rural Assembly Big Ideas webpage and with those gathering in February.
2. Give your big idea:  Just open with, “What If We…” and email it. Your Big Ideas will be shared with meeting participants, and you may be asked to expand it as a blog post.
3. Follow the Big Ideas Forum on Facebook and Twitter platforms. Use #ruralbigideas.
The Art Evangelist is a full-service liturgical art advisory specializing in sacred, visionary, and spiritual art. We work towards interfaith creative placemaking in sacred places and public places.   How can we help you grow today? 941.875.5190

 

art portfolio reviews in february

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Artists, because February is the month of love, it is also our open season for art portfolio reviews in interfaith visual art.  Call 941.875.5190 or email shaunaleelange@gmail.com.  Follow us on Twitter @shaunaleelange and Instagram @theartevangelist.

www.theartevangelist.com

the art evangelist is a full-service liturgical art advisory specializing in sacred spaces, public places and creative placemaking.  how can we grow together?  941.875.5190

creative commons global strategic reviews

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Shauna Lee Lange, Founder of The Art Evangelist: Liturgical Art Advisory, announced today her collaborative participation in strategic consultation with Creative Commons Global Strategy revisions, a precursor to the upcoming 2017 Global Summit.

Today, the CC movement is broad and diverse, engaging in issues of open education, copyright reform, open access, open data, and more. The new model is designed to empower individuals and organizations that want to contribute towards our shared values, to build stronger, more resilient teams, and to co-ordinate goals and activities for greater impact. – Creative Commons

The draft proposal will be open for a period of two months (closing on March 24, 2017), and is available in several languages, at https://consultation.creativecommons.org.  The document is the culmination of many working group sessions to address the vision, mission, values, and guiding principles of the organization.

Creative Commons helps us legally share our knowledge and creativity to build a more equitable, accessible, and innovative world. We unlock the full potential of the internet to drive a new era of development, growth and productivity.

the art evangelist is a full service liturgical art advisory specializing in sacred spaces, public places, and creative placemaking.  how can grow together?  941.875.5190

contemporary modern holy gifts

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The sisters over at A Nun’s Life Ministry have compiled a list of sites where you can acquire special holiday items produced and made in convents, monasteries and other places of dedicated worship and prayer life.

While you’re over on their site, you’ll meet people of all ages, spiritual persuasions, and cultures, offering diverse perspectives to nurture our own lives and relationships with God.

And even though A Nun’s Life Ministry isn’t just for nuns, you’ll find lots of sisters and nuns here, from a wide variety of congregations. You’ll meet people in other forms of consecrated life too, such as hermits, religious brothers, and consecrated women. The traditions of consecrated life have thrived for centuries, and they offer food for thought for everyone on spiritual journey today!

Make your gift-giving extra special year round by buying gifts handmade by Catholic sisters, brothers, nuns, and monks. Did you know that you can purchase handmade rosaries, breads, cards, beer, coffee, blankets, prayer shawls, mustard, coffins, and more?! As religious women and men we truly live Saint Benedict’s maxim, “Ora et labora” — “Pray and labor.” With every shawl or batch of beer we make, we pray our way through our work all the way to you the recipient.

Throughout the gift-giving season — and indeed the whole year — consider buying gifts that benefit the recipient and the religious communities who made the item. Chances are you’ll feel gifted too!

In the listings below, you’ll also find other items for sale such as books, medals, DVDs, and more that the nuns and monks don’t actually make but the proceeds of which help the religious communities and their ministries.

Let us know if you have others you’d like us to add to the list — must include handmade items by Catholic sisters, nuns, monks, or brothers and be accessible online. You can also connect to A Nun’s Life Facebook community.  With special thanks to Sister Julie Vieira, IHM who is celebrating 10 years of online ministry and who facilitated The Art Evangelist in republishing his material.

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Made with Love … and Prayer

All Good Things – ceramic tiles, soaps and lotions, original cards and prints, peace cranes, prayer pillows, and more

Artaura – original artwork available on mugs, t-shirts, posters, necklaces, prints, and more

Brigittine Monks’ Gourmet Confections – fudge and truffles

Cloister Shoppe – Seignadou Soaps, lip balms, candles, books, and more

For Heaven’s Sake and Simply Divine Bakery – sisters’ crafts, books, religious items, baked goods, and more

Gethsemani Farms – fruitcake, fudge, and cheese plus an Abbey Gift Shop with religious items, art, and more

Holy Spirit Monastery Gifts – food items, religious items, and more

Monastery Candy – caramel candies, chocolate-coated caramels, mint candies, chocolate hazelnut candies, truffles, and caramel sauce

Monastery Creations – candles, art, music, soap, and more

Monastery Fruitcake – fruitcake, truffles, and creamed honey

Monastery Greetings – food and drink items, books, CDs, cards, pet items, and more from a variety of abbeys, convents, monasteries, and hermitages; some popular items not found elsewhere:

  • Trappist Preserves
  • Praylines
  • Chimay Trappist Ale

Monks’ Bread – bread, spreads, soups, coffee, sauces, dressings, baked goods, mugs, and more

Mystic Monk Coffee – coffee, tea, drinkware, and more

New Skete – cheese cakes and other food items, greeting cards, music, iconography, pet items, and more

NunBetter Chocolates and Custom Gift Baskets – chocolates and gift baskets

Our Lady of the Angels – Monastery Country Cheese

Prayerfully Popped – popcorn, fudge, and gifts

The Printery House – greeting cards, icons, holy cards, religious gifts, and more

Redemptoristine Sisters, Dublin – candles, altar bread

Redwoods Monastery – Monastery Creamed Honey, greeting cards

Ruah Media – videos, screen savers, DVDs, and CDs

Saint Meinrad Archabbey Gift Shop – prayer cards, rosaries, mugs, books, soaps, crosses, and more

Sinsinawa Bakery – Mound Bread and other breads, rolls, and fruitcake

Sisters of Carmel – religious goods including custom rosaries using the “build a custom rosary” page

Sophia Center – clay art, including Hearthstones

Subiaco Abbey – Monk Sauce and other food items, religious products, calligraphy, wood carvings, and more

Texas Nuns – Nonnavita soap

Trappistine Quality Candy – candy and fudge as well as monastic products such as CDs, original icons and Chinese brush paintings, woolen throws, cards, and more

the art evangelist is a full service liturgical art advisory exploring the intersections of art, nature and faith in sacred spaces and public places.  How can we help you grow today?  941.875.5190

 

a servant’s heart: secret santa giveaway

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It’s nearly December and The Art Evangelist is celebrating our 1st Annual Free Christmas Giveaway to anyone residing in the US.  Send your name and address and we will send you a FREE and ORIGINAL unframed artwork by Shauna Lee Lange.  No catches, no gimmicks, no tricks – just grateful, generous and giving for the Christmas season.  Email shaunaleelange@gmail.com, Text 941.875.5190, or Write Box 3564, Placida, FL  33946.  Deadline December 20, 2016.

the art evangelist is a full service liturgical art advisory exploring the intersections of art, nature and faith in sacred spaces and public places.  How can we help you grow today?  941.875.5190