Colourful Church Parable Writing Contest

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Hello,

The Colourful Church blog has been going for a while and has played host to loads of great and nearly great artwork from many artists of many kinds; we’ve been joined by painters, film makers, musicians, dramatists, slam artists, stage riggers, cake decorators and many more. It really has been a Smörgåsbord of creative vibrancy.

What we don’t see much of is writing. As a church we churn out a lot of the factual writing stuff- people’s stories and reports of our adventures. While that’s cool I can’t help think we’re missing a trick.

You see, Jesus seemed to spend a lot of his time telling parables. He used these little imaginative and sometimes subversive stories to illustrate his kingdom, to paint a picture of the God he knew (he had inside information) and wanted us to know:

A trecherous son disappears and spanks his father’s money, only for his father to throw a party in his honour when he crawls back sorrowfully…
A vineyard owner has trouble with his servants…
A convict is forgiven a huge debt but soon forgets…
An enemy proves to be a trusty and generous friend…

Jesus blew away the religious cobwebs that clung to people’s ideas of who the Father is, what He wanted and the part we have to play in it all. Jesus was a master storyteller and showed that parables can be powerful.

Today I’m announcing a parable writing contest on this blog. What do you think? Would you be up for writing and entering a short parable for it? You don’t have to be anything special- this is for anyone who has any idea for a story with a message, big or small.

Feel free to follow any inspiration you have but if you’re stuck here are a few suggestions:

Laying down life to bring life
Taking risks/trusting
The meaning of love
Pioneering on your doorstep
The childlike heart
A God who weeps
Spiritual blindness
Contrasts (e.g- apparently poor people prove to be rich, small people prove to be big, clever people prove to be stupid etc)

 
Please post any questions or final submissions using the form at the bottom of this post or email them to me at aidanashby @ gmail.com. If we get only a few submissions the winner will receive a prize but if we get many the top three will each receive a prize (clue- it’ll be some custom artwork, and maybe a free book. Stay tuned on Facebook or Twitter for when we announce the official prize, only deliverable in the UK). We’ll post a selection of the best parables to this blog.

The deadline is Sunday 20th October.

Please keep it between 100 and 500 words. You can submit as many entries as you like.

Also, if you know of anyone else who may be interested please share this contest with them.

Thanks and God bless,

Aidan

[ photo source ]

The Father’s Love – spoken word & mime

“I hold a shield of condemnation and a sword of betrayal.
I travel on the train of trust that has finally been derailed.
I know the pain of loss as if it were my very veil and I accept my lot to never succeed but always fail.
This is my creed the motive of my being.
I never set my roots, I’m in constant fleeing cause I’m constantly seeing the destruction I cause.
A force to be reckoned with and yet I reckon it comes from deep within, some dark place drenched with sin.
I attempt to wrench the thing out and yet I start to understand what it’s about as it whispers sweet nothings in my ear.
Year after year I listen to this fear, this comforting security that’s appeared seems to drag my soul to depths unknown whether sitting on the bus or in an empty bath, fully clothed at home.

Alone.

With only my thoughts and voices bringing forth all my wrong choices, my mistakes.
If only I could forsake my past and take up a new path I would see this farce before it got too far but no, I do not.
I cannot relinquish this cold deathly kiss of the dark, inconsolable abyss, this clenched fist around my heart, this dark, dart of despair that has become my comfort and the defining feature in my conceptual lair.
A fair beauty in my eyes but others behold deception and lies.

Is it true that I’m blind?
Blinded by my own misery and shame, made lame by this self made rod of pain.
Why do I punish my inner being for being in or for seeing the truth?
For not being aloof but for making me see that my comfort is false.

For it’s the Holy Spirit in me that keeps my head focused, He exhibits the love needed to vanquish the locusts that have bred and multiplied leading me to believe my life is too defiled for God to accept any offering, other than sing and maybe dance.
And so I run from God.

But running from God just enhances the disasters plaguing my life.
I could choose to wallow in strife or run to God and receive love and life.

So I run to my Father, God, when I’ve had enough of my lies and selfishness, when I accept my mess is too big for me and I stop trying to dig myself free.
You see, that is how my disasters become dissolved.
Now I must resolve my heart to stay on things true, like love, joy and hope, even through the depression and self-hate I find the ability to demonstrate the elated spirit that comes from running to God.
Not forced but over-flowing, fully knowing God is there holding onto me.

He cares more than I dare to believe and it humbles me, how time and again He can be such a faithful Father and Friend.
When I lose sight He tells me “everything’s gonna be alright, every thing’s gonna be okay” cause that’s His way.
Day after day after day He is the Unchangeable, the Unmistakable Creator of Love, not sitting in the heavens above staring down but through His Son walks with us on this very ground.
Love abounds whenever He is near but don’t fear cause He’s always near when we’re here.
His Love is in us.
No matter our circumstance or situation He’s patiently waiting for us to realise He wants to show us His Love.
I have found nothing more accepting, nothing more directing, nothing more perforating than the Father’s Love.

And for that I am glad.

God does it better!

I love painting the sky; I’m not an amazing artist but no one can really capture what it looks like. Even though the heavens are a set bit of creation (Genesis 1:1); they get repainted every day with crazy colours and dramatic clouds. It reminds me that God never stops working, the most beautiful thing about creation is that it never stops being created. Everyday things change & grow.

Liverpool skyline

God of this city.

This picture (above) I painted for my house when a group of us moved to live in Liverpool. To remind us that God will move in this city.

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Big picture! Probably to scale of the real thing! (don’t know how to make it smaller!?)

I painted this one for my friend Katherine’s birthday. She is amazing, the picture is okay, God did it better the first time round though. It’s based on the view of the sunsets I can see from my bedroom at the top of the house.