Dear friend of Taylor,
I am often struck by the power of art and by the influence of creative expression in our culture. Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias once asked:
“How do you reach a generation that listens with its eyes and thinks with its feelings?”
It’s an odd comment don’t you think, listening with eyes, thinking with feelings? It certainly pushes back against our rationalist tendencies that so often associate “reaching a generation” with logical arguments and facts. When our old arguments fail to do the work they used to do it is so good to know that God still has a witness that reaches into the deepest desire of this changing culture.
We who are steeped in fading cultural values are often blinded to the light that is waiting to break forth from God’s word when we learn to see with new eyes. When we learn to see we find God has provided us with beauty so compelling and so enthralling that its attraction is almost irresistible.
Taylor’s 7th annual onWORD Conference, which took place earlier this month in conjunction with McKernan Baptist Church, was our most recent attempt to help believers see with new eyes. This conference helped us approach the Bible with more than just an analytical approach. Using a variety of creative approaches, we soaked in the Scriptures in fresh ways (fresh for us, perhaps, but not really new to the people of God of previous centuries).
Of course, students at Taylor Seminary encounter these approaches throughout their courses – in chapel services, at retreats, and in the classroom. For example, Dr. Allan Effa is leading a pilgrimage in Spain next spring, helping students re-discover this ancient Christian practice. A setting like a pilgrimage or a retreat can often serve as a new context where faith is quickened, and the journey itself becomes a living parable of the Kingdom, a memorable experience of walking with God. (Literally!)
Our Creator gave us five senses and the gift of creativity to enliven and beautify all the relationships God has blessed us with. Good food, warm hugs, physical activity, laughter – all of these display important things to family and friends that words alone cannot. Our Thanksgiving feasts are such good examples of how a special meal with family can be reminders of God’s abundant blessings.
The question from Ravi Zacharias prompts us to be sensitive to our context. Just as the Apostle Paul used philosophy to speak to the philosophy-loving, Greek-influence audiences of his day, we need to communicate the Good News of the Kingdom in the language of our day; for many, that language is creativity: image, story, art, acts of service.
I hope you were able to join us at this year’s onWORD Conference, but if not you can share a little of that experience online (recordings will be posted at www.Taylor-Edu.ca/AudioArchives).
The scriptures invite us to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” What an opportunity we have to offer those around us more than facts and arguments. The Kingdom is at hand, abundant life is available for the living, and it is a joy to be part of training leaders who can help a new generation experience this fresh and anew. Your participation in this ministry is cherished by all of us at Taylor. In this Thanksgiving season we are thankful to God who makes it all possible through faithful partners such as you.
David Williams, PhD
P.S. If you share our vision for training and equipping the next generation of leaders to serve our churches and communities in a Christ-like way, please continue to stand with us. Your prayers and financial support are critically important – Thank you!
 Ravi Zacharias, “Just Thinking,” Vol. 21.1 (2012): pg. 22.
Dr. Allan Effa
Upcoming Faculty Activity
April 9 – Sunday – teach Adult Formation class on Worship at First Baptist
May 2 – Presentation to Edmonton Area CBWC Ministerial on “How Corporate Worship Saves Us”
May 9-25 – Lead students in walk of the Camino de Santiago, Spain
June 3-4 - Retreat Speaker for Good Tree Church, Calgary, at Banff Centre (Topic: Integral Mission)
June 15 – Present paper to American Society of Professors of Mission on Missiological Implications for Taylor Seminary Arising from Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Recommendations, Wheaton College
June 14-18 – Serve the American Society of Missiology as secretary at annual meetings in Wheaton
June 25 – 26 – Teach sessions at Parish Nursing Institute