I am delighted to share another beautiful submission for the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for DG Hollums' wisdom on seeing the world more deeply:
I've always been an outgoing extrovert. My soul is filled up by being around others and enjoying the smiles and love of others around me. As a child I was passionately quick to love and really did not know a stranger. I was always the one that would hug others. Even those who did not "appreciate" hugs, I would make a B-line for them just to make sure they knew that they were loved. Of course, I can look back now and see that it was God using me to remind others that they are loved.
This extrovert in me stayed alive and well all through high school, undergrad, and seminary. But while working in a cubical farm in the marketing department of a fast food chain, I found the Wesley Covenant Prayer. I taped the prayer to my computer screen at work and prayed it as the first thing I did before I started work and prayed it as the last thing I did before leaving to go home.
It was the first time I experienced a rhythm to my life in relationship with God. This daily pattern was the first taste I had of anything contemplative in nature. I eventually attended seminary and fell in love with listening and seeing through the lens of my heart.
It wasn't until I bought my first Digital SLR camera that I remembered the passion I had for photography back in my undergrad black and white photography classes. This awe inspiring gift that God allows each of us to join in the holy act of being co-creators alongside the Trinity was flooding my mind, reminding me who I was at the core of my being! It was as if I realized that in the past 15 years I was missing an entire piece of my human nature by not joining God through art.
I spent the next 10 years of my life using photography as a spiritual practice/disciple. I had a friend receiving his doctorate of ministry tell me his teacher was speaking about Celtic Christianity having the belief that God created two books. The little book being what we call the Bible and the big book what we call creation. After spending a day receiving images through my camera and heart with God, it dawned on me that I was doing Lectio Divina with the big book! Photography, for me, was receiving the creation into my heart and soul. It fed the newly introduced contemplative in me. In the past 2 years, God has been challenging me to bring bring balance into my past and future self. So, I'm slowing allowing the extrovert in me to share this contemplative rhythm through teaching others this amazing spiritual practice in the use of photography. He is showing me how to help others to experience transformation and to be able to become contagious in their lives and hearts so that God transforms the very communities where we have been planted. I have great gratitude and thanks for Christine for writing "Eyes of the Heart" and giving me a language and foundation for what I have been practicing for so long! Her book was an empowering pivotal moment in my contemplative practices through photography.
My prayer and passion is that Christianity once again embraces the beautiful enigma of art and creativity in each of our faith walks through the rhythmic tones of life. This is not only for artists: it is for everyone! This gift is freedom found in our lives. We get to develop a deeper sensitivity of hearing (Audio Divina), seeing (Visio Divina), and sensing (Sensus Divina) God: in, around, and through each of us and the creation. The more we put these practices into our daily and weekly rhythms, the more and more sensitive we will be at hearing the still small silence and voice of God in our lives in the small book and the big book. Then and only then will we be able to become the dancing monks and friers God has in mind for those called to be living expressions of the art of God. May you be blessed to be a blessing through living a life that is echoing and mirroring the divine relationship with all those around you. Start the journey or continue it, but make sure you are traveling.
From John Wesley's Covenant Service , 1780
I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt. Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee, exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things
to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.
D.G. Hollums M.Div., is a clergy in The United Methodist Church, born and raised in west Texas. He is currently the Sr. Pastor at High Desert UMC (a small church in Rio Rancho, NM since June 2013) D.G. spent the past three years intentionally working at Apple Inc. to show the need for clergy to develop relationships beyond the church to offer community to those who have none. Before Apple, he was a United Methodist church planter in the Cincinnati, OH tristate area doing experimental church planting using communal Lectio Divina in pubs with people of all faiths developing Christ centered community and relationships among strangers. During this time he started to develop a method and spiritual practice of Visio Divina through contemplative photography from the photographer's eye; as well as, those viewing the art. It has become his passion to help those with faith to empower them to become more sensitive to the "thin space" moments around them and receive them wholeheartedly. He is also a podcaster and lover of culture and a foodie! His wife, Tiffany, is also clergy in the United Methodist Church and they have one 3-year-old adopted daughter that they both are smitten in love with. You can find D.G.'s photography at http://hollumsphotography.com.