When Karen had lived at Joshua Station for more than a year, she submitted a single painting to an art show. Her art hung on the wall next to professional work from local artists. A woman saw Karen’s painting and loved it. She wanted to buy it so badly, but it had already been sold. She approached Karen and asked if she could pay her to create a duplicate of the piece.
Karen, who had always been artistic, was blown away as she saw her talent affirmed in such an obvious way. She agreed to make the painting. Her work got better and better. She started an Art Club at Joshua Station where she inspired younger residents to find their own creative outlet. She hosted more Art Shows at Joshua Station and sold many more paintings to eager buyers.
Through her art, Karen had experienced the sort of freedom revealed through Jesus’ reading of Isaiah in the Synagogue in Nazareth—the official start of Jesus’ public ministry. She experienced a sort of release from captivity and freedom from oppression. She was able to see, for the first time, things that she had previously been blind to within herself. Her art has been such a gift to so many around her, and it became a key that unlocked so much of who she is. It has been a gift to see that unfold over the years.
The lens through which I read the Bible began to change significantly after getting to know Karen and other friends at Joshua Station. They quickly became more than neighbors. They became a catalyst for a dramatic shift in my understanding of the Bible, Jesus, Christianity, spirituality, and myself.
Joshua Station is a community committed to the understanding that we are anointed with the burden of the same Gospel as Jesus. It is not a Gospel reserved for those who hold the lion’s share of the power. It is a Gospel that leads us to embrace those left out of the systems of power within our culture. It is a Gospel that leads us to pursue a different reality than the one that got us here. It is a Gospel that invites us to experience the fullness of God’s transformation, both individually and collectively—and that transformation is why this Gospel is actually Good News for us all!
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