Andy Warhol, my men’s group, and this cultural moment


Wednesday evening, just for fun, I asked the guys in my Bible-study to pose for a group photo. I didn’t have to say, “Tall guys in the back;” and there was no need for, “Everyone who wants to be in the picture get on this side of the table” (like Jesus at the Last Supper); and nobody had to look over their shoulder to catch someone putting up “bunny ears” behind their head.

I could have simply mashed a few keys to take a screen-shot, but that wouldn’t have felt much like photography so I used my phone instead.


beatles-pop-artWhat I didn’t tell the guys but had in all honesty first precipitated my request was – mid conversation – my sudden involuntary sense of looking at an Andy Warhol montage. You know what I’m talking about, the sequence of stylized images lined up like panes of glass in a window.

So I thought I’d have a little fun with the concept in today’s post. Not that I am willing to squish in the sides and distort my friends’ rectangular images into squares – I will spare them at least that indignity.

You see what made Warhol such an iconic designer was his ability – Like Peter Max – to capture the cultural moment. And this is why my small group of men capture this particular moment in history, as well as our identity as a functioning faith community.

Emmanuel: God With Us:

The point of “Go into all The World…” is to go into and to introduce Jesus into the world as we find it. And today the world is sheltering in place.

These preachers who still invite hundreds of people to crowd into their sanctuary, and then say it’s all about religious freedom, are missing the point. Jesus does not live in the building, and if taking Jesus with you into the virtual space is too difficult then maybe you need a less rigid understanding of God?

My God not only sends me into the world – the virtual world too – God comes with me. God unites us and moves among us without regard to the limitations of this moment.

My small group meeting Wednesday evening was, for me, a powerful experience of the presence of so much. So much of God, so much of love, so much of honest struggle, so much of care, so much of learning, so much of real connection.

I may be having a little fun with the group portrait, but there was nothing abstract or one-dimensional about our time together.

Like I said, it’s a picture of a cultural moment. A cultural moment saturated with God. A moment that proves beyond any question that spirit is more substantial than flesh, and that faith is more than an idea: “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see” (Hebrews 11:1).

Keep the faith – DEREK


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