Ah, the first semester of seminary. That magical time when I formed my still-strong circle of friends, I finally heard women preach (from the pulpit, and their messages were called sermons rather than “talks”), and people in authority really wanted me to ask my many questions about the Church and the Bible.
My world was rapidly expanding. And I was introduced to an image in my History of Christian Thought class that helped me make sense of it. This image still serves as the lens through which I interpret my ministry, politics, and personal relationships:
“Suppose we were to take a compass and insert the point and draw the outline of a circle. The center point is the same distance from any point on the circumference. Let us suppose that this circle is the world and that God himself is the center….To move toward God, then, human beings move from the circumference along the various radii of the circle to the center…The closer they are to God, the closer they become to one another; and the closer they are to one another, the closer they become to God.” (Sixth-century monk Dorotheos of Gaza, quoted on p. 25 of To Love As God Loves by Roberta Bondi)
As a visual person, I realized I needed an artistic representation of this picture in words both to tell other people what my ministry is about and to keep me inspired. There was no question where I would turn for this rendering – Silver Tree Art, a ministry provided by my friend Suzanne L. Vinson. Suzanne took the Dorotheos quote and used watercolors and ink to interpret it. I love her creation, which includes leaves, hearts, arrows, and an equal sign along the radii. I hope and trust you will appreciate it as well, because I will be using it every chance I get!