#STORY11 :: Ann Voskamp

I’m Ann Voskamp, a plain Ann without even the fanciful “e”, wife to The Farmer,  mama to six, and honestly, I’m a bit of a mess. It’s okay, really. Grace is the most amazing of all. I had a full-tuition scholarship to university and never finished. I married a Farmer instead & came home to gravel road & cornfields. I write for DaySpring’s site, (in)Courage, am a contributing editor for The High Calling, with articles in ChristianityToday.com and The Beacon, and now and then, I stand before microphones and pray hard before I speak. I scratched out words in an award-winning series for curious kids, A Child’s Geography (Knowledge Quest Press, 2007), of which all profits are donated to Compassion, and I’m an advocate for Compassion, travelling and speaking on behalf of the needy. The poor have made me rich and telling the stories of those who need a voice has changed mine.

 

  • What do i know of imagination? Of creativity? Of story?
  • I’m not sure iM in the right place actually.
  • I’m a farmer’s wife. Raising what I pray is another generation of farmers.
  • Two years ago my husband built a cabin in a cornfield.
  • In that cabin I went a whole year. I sat in that cabin and scratched down words. I came everyday to an empty page, an empty screen, not knowing what I was going to write. Maybe that what is creativity is, being comfortable not knowing what is coming next. Being comfortable being in a posture of prayer, waiting on the Lord.
  • Who would ever read the words right? Frankly I don’t think anyone would ever read this stuff. It isn’t flat-footed enough. It can’t go anywhere in the world. It reads like poetry. I gathered up the pages and stuffed them in my bag, and went back to the farm.
  • During the election one of the commentators said, “The campaign between Al Gore and George Bush was devoid of poetry.” Why poetry? When asked, “what do you mean?” “Neither Gore nor Bush had offered a vision of who we might become.” The absence of poetry and vision, and language left a whole nation leaderless. When leaders fail to create a vision the whole nation flounders. Without poetry, without imagining the nation doesn’t have any leaders.
  • Where there is no vision the people perish.
  • Without any poetic language to show people an alternative future.
  • It is poetry that sees the beauty in the ugly. It is poetry that sees Christ in the world, the possibility in pain. That sees what we might become by grace. Poetry is what imagines a new kingdom coming. We need a different language for that.
  • This generation is addicted to speed. We take all the moments and blur them into one unholy smear. Poetry is the language that slows us down. A lyrical language that causes us to see the beauty of this moment. That is what this generation hungers for, to slow down, and to really see.
  • Where there is no vision the people perish.
  • Where there is no poetry there is no possibility of an alternative future.
  • I don’t like popular. Jesus was about the fringe and the margins.
  • Arte was never about applause. IT is always about an author. IT is always about a place to come and die.
  • He chose to take a bunch of poetry and feed hungry people.
  • Poetry is outside of the box. Why not create something that is unique, even if you don’t know if anyone will ever read it?
  • Maybe people will listen to words that aren’t just about Christian living but will make them hunger for htebeauty of Christ.
  • Maybe people want something more that looks a bit like art. Science only gives us the notes of the poem. Christianity is the poem itself.
  • The prophets were always the ones who spoke the language of poetry.
  • It is only the passion of poetry that can convey the passion of Christ to those in pain.
  • 1/3 of Scripture is made of poetry.
  • The only language for an encounter with God is the language of poetry.
  • IT’s the creative class who are the legislators. Its the poets who are the prophets who will change the way this world works. Its the poets who cast lines and cast vision.
  • The hebrew word for prophet does not solely focus on what comes in the future. But to call and announce. Prophets are the ones called by God to announce the ones coming. The prophets were about turning people to God right now.
  • This is the prophetic call.
  • This week on the farm we begin harvest again. I hangout the laundry. We scatter seed. This seed is one lone bean seed. It is like holding a world in your hand.
  • It is like holding an eye.
  • What is it to see without vision and without poetry the people perish.
  • We need to see. Poetry seems like a small trifling thing but it is the essence of everything real. AW Tozer “Faith is the gaze of a soul upon a saving God.”
  • We may not deem ourselves particularly creative, but we can do this. We can slow down and wake up and we can notice and learn how to see what the rest of the world is missing.
  • My book is about slowing down and seeing the gifts. God in this moment. Not because the gifts matter, but because the giver did. He wooed me to give thanks in all things.
  • We could slow down and we could wake up.
  • Time could be a cathedral giving glory if we could but see.
  • Its the prophets who know it and prophesy it to the world.
  • In Christ time is never running out. We stand on the brink of eternity. There is no need for haste. Only the amateurs hurry. we have time to see because life is not an emergency. Life is a gift. each moment, patient with grace.
  • So ask this morning, what could be more radical and subversive than this? Than to speak doxology. The language of doxology into a culture of despair.
  • Can you speak the language of amazement to a world that feels abandoned by God.
  • It is when a holy imagination makes the unseen seen. That makes the unheard, heard. That Christ is incarnated in this world.
  • Where are the poets? Where are the prophets?
  • imagination – Imago die in the image of God. To bring forth. To be a people of true imagination. To bring forth the image of God to the nations.
  • We are called to be vocational imagers.
  • Imagination is the organ of meaning.
  • Imagination is the organ that sees the relationship between the peanut butter on the counter and eternity.
  • We can only have a true imagination, truly reflect the image of God in this world when we reflect long on the Word of God.
  • Creativity is a habit of gazing. Faith is always the way a soul gazes.
  • Notice and respond. Slow down and attend. Do not disdain the small. The beauty adds up.
  • how are you taking time to slow down and to gaze and see?
  • Cultivate the habit of gratitude. Because it is all a gift.
  • It comes from above. You don’t make wind. You wait for wind. You show up everyday and wait on the Lord.
  • No one can receive anything unless it is given to him from heaven.
  • There is nothing covetous about creativity. It isn’t about you. It is about God and grace, and living in this posture, bowed and waiting, with hand raised to heaven.
  • Give thanks for what doesn’t seem enough. And God will take that and make it more than enough.
  • Gratitude for the gift always precedes the miracle of more God.
  • Create the habit of giving glory. What is your calling? The true call of all creatives is to enjoy God. and to respond and to express out of a joy in him. To take what seems like waste and make a crop out of it. Everything he gives will plow it back to praise and wisdom and honor to our God.
  • Go live life and enjoy God, and praise and give thanks and give him all grloy.
  • All good art comes out of the art of living well.
  • Live out of your passions.
  • If Christ were to stand here physically this morning and ask you directly “Is it all about me?” could you say it is all about his glory?
  • Could you say that the ultimate reason for your creativity is the infinite glory of Jesus christ?
  • Poetry comes from your pain. Suffering is what will give you sight. Story is in the suffering. The eye that sees the possibility of growth out of the suffering.
  • Take up these habits until you can hear his voice. Count the gifts. All the ways that he loves you, and enjoy him.
  • You can slow and you can wake and you can pay attention, and you can wake up. Spend your one creative life well. See what it really is, holy, ordinary, amazing grace.
  • Poetry like perfume.
  • The art that you make that anoints the feet of Christ this is a beautiful thing. You being crushed. Doing it unto him. Your love for him will go on forever. So sing your songs, and write a fresh new lyrical poetic language. And make your art, and dream outside of the box. Take your gift and make it all a gift back to him.

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