Discover more from Ben Simpson's Faith & Formation Newsletter
The False Line Reveals the True
Make Bold Mistakes
For Christmas, my twin nephews gave me a journal titled “One Sketch a Day.” I’ve completed a daily drawing for a while now. Sometimes it’s been on the back of a homemade card, sometimes I’ve done a quick sketch in my planner, or I’ve recorded a doodle in a notebook. But with this journal, I now have a place to keep my artwork in one place.
I’ve completed forty one sketches in my new journal this year. On the couple of days I’ve missed, I drew something elsewhere. I’ve sketched Jesus and Clint Barton, an anchor and a cactus, an askew house and the Flash. Most of my sketches have been from the comics: Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Robin, Mr. Fantastic, Thor, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Hulk, etc.
Today, I drew Ringo Starr. My two favorite sketches are of Spike and Faye from Cowboy Bebop. None of my drawings are perfect. Most emerge from the page, slowly.
My art teacher, Chad Hines, observed that the false line can reveal the true. He’d tell us to take courage. To find the true line, you first need to be bold enough to make a mark. I often feel my way to the right angle, the right curve. And I use my eraser a lot. That’s why it is there.
We all want to get it right the first time. In my college years, I was in a club where one of our mantras was to perform every job “quickly and perfectly the first time.” (Another: “the worst is yet to come.”) Perfection and speed are noble aims. Excellence is a worthwhile, lofty goal. But we don’t hit the mark every time.
Sometimes, we have to fail our way forward. The key is to keep going, to keep making marks, to learn from your mistakes.
Lately, I’ve found great pleasure in reading. Reading can be delightful, and fun!
I finished Greg McKeown’s Effortless: Make It Easier to Do What Matters Most. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. After a long slog, I finally turned the last page in Russell Weigley’s The American Way of War. I finished Tom Nelson’s The Flourishing Pastor, and I’ll be recommending it to young church leaders.
I picked up and finished Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven, a story set in a post-apocalyptic world where a flu wiped out 99.99% of the human population. When was it published? In the year 2014.
What’s next? I’m going to read Ron Chernow’s Washington. I’m also beginning Don Quixote.
Sights and Sounds
On the blog, just one new post on who you look up to.
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Be well this week. Bless others.
P.S. - Truett has been in our building for twenty years, and we’re marking the time by installing a new prayer garden that will feature a sculpture called “The Empty Cross.” Ours will stand 7’ x 7’. I looked out my window this week and saw these three men, preparing to work. They did have a paper plan. But mostly, they consulted their iPads.