We recently launched a nation-wide, gospel-inspired art contest. This may leave you wondering, "Um, what does ART have to do with Hope Heals?"

Over the past 6 years of our lives, we have seen the power of STORY to communicate old messages in a new way. It's why Jesus explained spiritual truths through parables. It's how our brains work--we make sense of the story of our lives through the stories of others, and in that process we begin to trace the thread of the ultimate story, the GOSPEL story, in ALL the others. Stories allow defenses to drop and preconceptions to shift. The medium truly is the message.

Similarly, ART has that unique power to paint the same message on a new canvas, so to speak. Even in our own home, we surround ourselves with art because it helps us understand the story where words fail to explain it. We can't help but see our own story in art--it's transcendent--but good art can also objectively communicate to us something we had never before experienced in ourselves; it can stir our souls in brand new ways.

Hope Heals' mission is to creatively inspire the healing power of hope in Christ within community through story, art, and goodwill. We want to steward the story of our lives, which ultimately is the gospel story of Christ, in ways that are thoughtful and nuanced. The gospel is such a simple yet profound idea that sometimes words seem inadequate to convey its depth and breadth.

As you continue to journey with us through the sharing of our story of hope, we would love for you to also join us as we explore other mediums through which to share. For more information on the ART OF THE GOSPEL CONTEST -- www.hopeheals.com/gospelproject -- and feel free to share with artists you know. (The deadline to submit is APRIL 10th).

* A few thoughts from people who explain it far better than we could...

"The purpose of theology -- the purpose of any thinking about God -- is to make the silences clearer -- by which I mean those aspects of the divine that will not be reduced to human meanings. This is why art is so often better at theology than theology is."  -- Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss

"What artists have to do is to exhibit ways in which the power of LIFE exposes the limit and failure of the dominant ideology of death." -- Walter Brueggemann

Sit with me and tell me once again
Of the story that's been told us
Of the power that will hold us
Of the beauty, of the beauty
Why it matters

Speak to me until I understand
Why our thinking and creating
Why our efforts of narrating
About the beauty, of the beauty
And why it matters

Like the statue in the park
Of this war torn town
And it's protest of the darkness
And the chaos all around
With its beauty, how it matters
How it matters

Show me the love that never fails
The compassion and attention
Midst confusion and dissention
Like small ramparts for the soul
How it matters

Like a single cup of water
How it matters

- Sara Groves, "Why It Matters"

Stories are able to help us to become more whole, to become Named. And Naming is one of the impulses behind all art; to give a name to the cosmos, we see despite all the chaos." - Madeleine L'Engle