Thursday, April 25, 2013

Mind Blown

Church Zero by Peyton Jones

An ebook that was free for a short time through that I decided to download on a whim. It sounded interesting. I've always like to see what people think is the problem with the modern church. People blame so many things; the congregation, the pastors, the facilities, the music, the chosen denomination, the list goes on.

I'd been wondering much the same myself. My home church has been scratching their collective heads about it for a while. We have a lot of good things going. We have four incredible pastors who works their butts off to lead us. 

We have a set-up that allows for individual care through small groups headed by two individuals (a shepherd and apprentice shepherd) who are in turn headed by mentors who answer to our pastor in charge of adults ministry (he is a totally awesome guy who can preach the entire Bible in one sermon) . It's a good system that is based on the setup God gave Moses so that all of the people of Israel could be taken care of without killing Moses do to the non-stop care the people needed. 

We have a great Children's Minister who is passionate about reaching children and a Youth Pastor who never ceases to impress me. We even have a pastor dedicated to Life Care, meaning counselling the hurting!

But we are still missing something and I couldn't put my finger on it. Then I read Church Zero.

And there it was.

My church as well as the modern church as a whole have been focused on growing up, not out. We are so focused on bringing people in, we forgot that our job is to go OUT and reach those who have never heard Jesus's name or only heard it in passing. We are supposed to bring the Gospel to them and that usually means one thing: CHURCH PLANTING.

Peyton explained it in a later chapter in the book as such:

"Churches should be like Mogwai. Multiplication is hardwired into their DNA, all you have to do is accidentally spill water on them and they pop out five more furry church plant balls."

So what happened?

According to Peyton, we have lost sight of what Luke penned in Acts. This church was growing out through various apostles (with a little a, as in not the original Twelve picked by Jesus, but Paul, Timothy, Titus and others like them) rather than up like today's megachurches. Granted, Jerusalem had a megachurch but it was constantly sending out people to reach those who hadn't heard the Good News.

In other words, yes we need to get people in the Church, but we must also prepare those that accept Christ to do His work, which often means leaving to start new churches. We've focused so much on Shepherds and Teachers, the ones that stay put, we have forgotten, by ignorance or willful omission, the Little a- Apostles, the Prophets and the Evangelists of Ephesians 4:11-12.

This was very challenging to me personally as well as in regard to my home church. I did have some consultation though. Whether we were aware of it or not, my church family is led by most of that fabulous five. I don't know if we have all of them, but we have most. We are also not afraid to try new things for the sake of reaching more people for Christ. We have helped plant a church in an area that needed one. But are we doing enough to grow out?

I'm still trying to take all this in. It's incredible to think about. How many time have I read that passage and missed it? How many times have pastors done this same thing?

I'm still praying about all this, seeking God's wisdom in the face of this information. But I can say is this:

I'm not the same as I was before I read this. My perspective has changed drastically. The Modern Church is content to hold its ground when Jesus told us to gain ground for the Kingdom.

I am no longer content to stay in the trenches.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Herderrrr! I forgot this!

So in the post I did earlier, I meant to post this as well. The problem was, I'd forgotten to finish it by drawing the guy on the far right. Watch me herpaderp, everyone!

Here is what I've been up to on either side of preparing for Shuto Con. The middle two were supposed to be part of my Intentional Practice but I got carried away and finished them a tad more completely than I'd originally planned which threw it all off. I'll start back with that next week.

These four are the main characters and their best friends from my long-standing story, Rain of Fire. From left to right they are MaiTeia, lady-in-waiting to the short woman next to her, who is YuKia Fuenoia or Firestorm, Princess of War. Next is Andiago, Prince of the Alliance and fiance' of Firestorm, though the poor girl isn't allowed to know that little bit of trivia until an hour before the wedding. Last is Majene, Andiago's best friend and comrade in arms.

To finish off the trivia before I go into more about the art part of the deal, their ages are, respectively, 30, 20, 21 and 32. The three tall ones are part of an alien race the came to live peacefully on earth when their planet kicked the bucket, known as Ye-Ap.

Name Pronunciation (as I imagine you are lost) :

Note: There is no particular accent on the syllables, like in Japanese. The Fu is also pronounced in the Japanese fashion, more Hu than a hard F.

Ye-Ap = Yay-Ahp
MaiTeia= My-Tey-Ah
YuKia Fuenoia = You-Key-Ah Fu-En-Oh-Ee-Ah
Andiago = Ahn-Dee-Ah-Go (this is the easy one!)
Majene = Ma-Jay-Nay

Okay so now that the formalities of character introduction is over, I'm VERY happy with how they turned out. I'm still getting the hang of my tablet but seeing results like this makes me thrilled. I'm rather heavy-handed with graphite so its nice to be able sketch and erase cleanly for the most part.

Firestorm seems the most solid but that makes sense since I've been drawing her since 9th grade which is 12 years so it makes sense that she is so easy for me to just whip out. Andiago is pretty good aside from being stiff because I was primarily focusing on proportions and design with him, less on gesture. I've been drawing him for almost as long as Firestorm but he has undergone a recent revamp due to freakin' James Cameron's tall blue people (The Ye-Ap used to be blue...).

I'm particularly proud of how Mai turned out. I've only drawn her once before and that was before Cameron crushed my blue Ye-Ap dreams. Seeing her so well fleshed out and adorkable makes me seriously happy. I think I sped through Maj a bit though. He still looks good, better than I expected, thanks to Kristie's fabulous proportion-focused panel at Shuto Con. I just didn't finesse him as much as I did the others.

Well, I think it may have been a good thing I posted this on its own. This combined with the other would have been waaaaaaaaaaaaay too long.

Conventions, Medication and Decompression

I live!

I feel like I fell off the face of the planet for a bit though that's not unusual for me while prepping for an anime convention. Yay Shuto Con! Yay Decompression post Shuto Con!

That's mostly what's been going on with me lately. I've been a sewing fiend and when I wasn't a sewing fiend, I was a wig styling fiend. I was a few other types of fiend as well but to a much lesser degree.

Shut Con was a blast. I made some new friends, learned a ton from Kristie in her lovely panels as well as hung out with her at Art Jam (greatest panel ever for drawing/hanging out with fellow artists!), and had a somewhat successful cosplay experience. And I finally got to see our friend's panel that we missed last year due to limited space/VIP pass issues, even if he did get technology-screwed and had to smash his whole presentation into about twenty minutes. Equestrian Embassy: Condensed was still just as good as it would have been normally and was probably funnier because of the time crunch.

Expounding upon the cosplay experience, the reason I call it somewhat successful is that I was still not as identifiable as my husband and friend and creating the costume just about gave me a aneurysm. Here is the break down:

* I finished the outfit the week before Con week and the bags two day before rather than a race to finish line that my previous costumes have been.

* I was able to use a commercial pattern without killing my brain.

* It was comfortable to wear, aside from a wig cap issue. Apparently I have a large head.

* There was no catastrophic failure of any pieces. My shorts did pop a stitch or two, but I expected as much since I sewed them with the wrong tension but didn't figure that one out until it was too late.

* I was far more recognizable than in my first Fluttershy cosplay. I even received an attack hug from a Discord cosplayer which made my day.

Less than Successes:
* Sewing my dress and shorts was incredibly hard, mainly because I merrily jumped into the world of knit fabric. I mostly knew was I was getting into and the shorts weren't bad. The dress fabric was a very thin, fine jersey though, and I swear it was doing the hula while I tried to sew it. It still turned out well though.

* I trusted Burda too much with the gathers in the dress and not a fabulous sewing blogger (, who had already helped me with my shorts. Burda's instructions for the waist gathers were to zigzag over lengths of elastic thread, while the lovely lady at Make It and Love It manually winds the elastic thread into a bobbin.

 I did test the Burda method and it seems to work. OVER SHORT LENGTHS! I am no tiny person, so the width of the fabric was daunting. Sure you can still pull it to gather but your elastic thread will probably break and it will be nigh impossible to keep it at the right length you want. I ended up having the remove the back gathers because A) the front gathered too short so it wouldn't fit around me if the back was also gathered and B) it is very hard to sew over elastic thread on thin jersey fabric and maintain straight lines. Bad call Burda. Bad call Me.

* I placed my Cutie Mark on the right side of my dress, which was promptly covered by the front of my wig. I ended up playing with it constantly so that people had a chance to notice it.

* My bags were okay except that I had to carry more than a hip-slung bad on a thin belt could handle. I hadn't planned on carrying two small sketchbooks but my friend didn't have the space in her carrying device (she was Twilight Sparkle, so she carried a hollow fake book for a purse). The bags kept slipping down and they weren't even in weight so it was always off.

* Again, I was still not as recognizable as my friend or my husband. To be fair though, they are doing more closet cosplay than me. The only things handmade they have are their Cutie Marks and my husband's Smarty Pants doll (which I made...). Also, I take a different view of Fluttershy than a lot of other cosplayers do. I think Sweet Lolita Fluttershy is cute, but the pony works with animals. She has chickens and a host of other animals. Loli is impractical for taking care of animals, so I went with something cute and breezy but with a practical side, hence cute but sensible boots and "saddle" bags. Maybe I'm looking at this the wrong way, but I don't want to feel I have to be LoliFluttershy to be recognized.

There is also another aspect to this. I do wonder if it's partially because I'm a large woman. I'm not trying to say that everyone who recognized my friend (who is a stick) didn't notice me because I'm fluffy and they all are jerks. I just wonder if I'm deemed "not cute enough for pictures" because of it. Aw heck it's probably not that. Some people did take pictures of me, though it was always with my friend a/o husband. Well, best not to over think this one!

This does made a good transition though. In regards to weight issues, I've finally kicked a factor out of my life for good. No more hormonal birth control for me! Maybe I won't have to think about that paragraph above this one ever again!

Bye for now!