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Imagification: On Being the Image of God

Imagification: On Being the Image of God

My thoughts are being shaped.

Part of my recent journey has been an exploration of photography–more than a hobby, and even more than an opportunity for contemplation, but rather an exercise of my spirituality. There is something deep that occurs in me when I make photos, and I have struggled to articulate it.

A friend of mine, in sharing her own journey, loaned me some language that I am finding useful for understanding what happens when I hold a camera in my hands. She provided the perspective that in creating pictures, we are being the image of the creative, creating, Creator God who made us. We are microcosms of Him, and He intends for us to represent Him in this world, and part of that is doing the kinds of works that He does.

One of which is creating.

Granted, I cannot create something from nothing (ex nihilo is the theological term for that), but in using a tool to capture light, and electrical impulses to record it, I’m getting about as close as I can imagine.

But this idea of revealing–being–the image of God as a creative, as an artist, is leading me to additional considerations. What other aspects of His character and nature has He built into me (us) that we are to reveal, to live out?

My previous word for understanding where the camera was leading me was presence. When I am making photographs, I find myself far more present in my environment and circumstances than I am without this tool.

image sky

And therein I stumble across the nature of God: He is omnipresent–fully present everywhere always. What does this quality look like when presented through the finitude of a human representative on earth? Could it be this experience I have of truly paying attention, seeing, noticing, enjoying, perceiving what is around me–as I only can do when I have a camera in my hands?

Future weeks will testify to how I will discover other such outlets for the nature of God in my own life.

And this brings me to yet more new language for this journey. Christian theologians often speak of “sanctification” as the process of a believer being made more holy as God continues to refine us by the Holy Spirit. Both practically and theologically, I’m not sure that there’s much substance to this concept.

So how about a new word?


Think of it as image+ification…the journey of becoming more aware of how we–individually and in community–reveal the character and nature of God. We are created in His divine image. We are born again after coming to faith. We are appointed as His ambassadors and ministers. And yet somehow it can be cloudy for us to understand what and how we are revealing Him, how we are walking out our lives in God-like manner.

In the last few weeks, I think I’ve taken some important steps forward in imagification: having begun to consider presence and creativity, I am seeing more of what God is like, and hopefully I am helping to show more of Him to others as well. I haven’t fundamentally changed, but my understanding, awareness, and intentionally have made significant progress. I’m not more holy now than I was a few weeks ago, but I am more wholly–fully entering into all that I was created to be.

As God is infinitely deep, majestic, and mysterious, there’s no telling where this imagification journey will take me.

But for now, I’ll be sure to keep my camera batteries charged and my memory cards at hand; you never know when I will be called upon to create, when I will be moved again to live out the realities of the One who created me.

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Posted by on October 26, 2013 in Life, Theology


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Tomorrow marks for me the beginning of another semester of graduate study in mathematics.

I don’t know that I can truly call myself a “mathematician,” but I enjoy how the math dimension brings another facet to my life…alongside of writing, prayer, photography, etc.

The word “math” itself is interesting to me. For starters, in the U.K., it’s “maths”–I’m not entirely sure why, but most of the time I can catch myself and speak appropriately in this context.

Recently, I was reflecting on the word “aftermath.”

In Greek, the word “math-” refers to learning; the disciples of Jesus Christ in the New Testament were referred to as “mathetes” (sounds like: math-eh-tase)–learners. The word “polymath” refers to someone who is learned in many different fields.

To my chagrin, the word “aftermath” apparently comes from a different root, referring to the growing of crops. Aftermath then refers to a second-growth crop…in addition to the consequences or results of some occurrence.

But with my background in math, I was contemplating the idea of “aftermath” along a specific vein: what do we learn in the outcome of a particular event in life? Having come through some set of circumstances, how have we been shaped, how have we grown? Beyond the perhaps more tangible outcomes, what is the “second-growth crop” of learning that we can also receive as part of this experience?

All too often, I am more than content to just survive through a particular situation. I don’t particularly like having to handle unexpected scenarios, but when I must, I’m usually just relieved once it’s all over and I can get back to my preferred life of habit, routine, and ordinariness.

With this complacency, however, I’m often missing out on an opportunity to derive even greater benefit from my struggles. Failing to reflect, to consider the intangible results of what’s occurred, means that I’m losing the second level of benefit from my troubles.

And it’s just because I’m lazy, intellectually and spiritually slothful to the point that I’d rather not invest even more energy in figuring out what I can take away from the experience.

But it’s there. There is always an “aftermath,” always a crop of greater awareness and enhanced perspective that has been seeded and is ready to bear fruit, if only I would harvest it.

I might like to segment my life: to keep my learning primarily within my textbooks and courses, but that’s a sadly narrow road of experience to take. Investing in another realm of “homework,” to contemplate–perhaps celebrate, or grieve, or commit, or question–would afford me vastly more opportunities to expand my fields of learning beyond mathematics.

But there are no grades. No exams to prod me onward in this journey.

However, there is indeed a Teacher that I can learn from.

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Posted by on June 11, 2013 in Life


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Light in Delight Like Denude


Noun. “There was great delight in the child’s eyes when she saw the prettily wrapped package underneath the Christmas tree.”

Adjective. “This meal was simply delightful!”

Verb. “I delight in knowing you.”

But how about “causing light” for a definition?

Delight. It’s a simple, safe word. Not overly expressive, but with a positive connotation of pleasure and approval.

But could it be something more?

Someone recently pointed out to me that “light” appears in “delight.” But how is that light shared or conveyed in our delight?

There is a much less common word that is similarly used: denude. It means to strip bare or deprive. Often in reference to a forest. De-nude…to make nude.

That got me thinking: what about de-light? Can it mean to illuminate, to give brightness, to make light?

The emotion of delight gives us an opportunity to impact those around us. In our own feelings of joy and pleasure, we have the chance to seed, enhance, and nurture the feelings of others. Joy is often said to be infectious, as is laughter.

What of delight? Might the “light” that we are feeling be imparted to others? Might our own expressions of approval and valuation be an impetus to others?

I think it can be.

But we often hold delight for ourselves; we are simply delighted, content to feel and acknowledge our delight–without regard to how we may also help birth delight in others.

A man once said, “I write so that my joy may be made complete.” In sharing our delight, it becomes more full…but it also has the possibility of creating joy and delight in others. Delight can be infectious, if we invite others in, if we are free in the expression of our own experience of delight.

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Posted by on March 23, 2013 in Life


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