Why Christ Illustrated?
I love being a woman. I do. I have absolutely no confusion on this. My first life-changing role model was Sarah Connor in The Terminator. She went from Idiot to Crusader in that movie – but she did it as a woman. I loved her for that. It’s a good analogy for my own Christian character growth. But I despise this female empowerment movement. I don’t want to be a man. Or compete with men. Or dominate men. I just want to be a Godly Christian woman co-laboring with Godly Christian men for something bigger than myself.
Back in the late 2000s, I was reading through several books. “Spiritual Slavery to Spiritual Sonship” by Jack Frost, “Wild at Heart” by John Eldredge… all in that same vein. And what I saw then, and has manifested fully now, is that our men have become marginalized. It’s not longer okay to be male unless you live in a fictional world and are either unrealistically idealized or deeply broken. All their natural tendencies are being shamed and we’ve lost our sense of their place in THIS world.
The interesting message that crossed all the authors and themes is that we’ve lost our models. Specifically, our Godly, realistic models. Those rare few who try to stand up and be counted are shouted down or discounted. Or their media algorithms are suppressed so that their influence is local and short-lived. It stuck with me because I am very aware that God made men to be the male half of His image on this earth. Without that model, we lose our real sense of what it means to defend truth, honor, justice and faith. Men do it different than women do. We don’t make good men by making all boys be unreasonably nice and well-behaved. We make good men by showing our boys what makes a man good. Not by the definition of Western society, but by the definition of God in His book. But without models, how will we know what that looks like?
ChristIllustrated.com was born of a driving desire to restore models to our narrative of faith. Art is a great way to expose people to something that is just “more” than their existence. It is known to inspire, motivate, validate and heal. And while we’re starting simple, the impact is already real.
While testing some of my graphic designs, I showed them to my 21 year old nephew. Not because I expected him to care – just because I wanted him to know what I was working on. And true to expectation, he didn’t care. Until he saw the barbells on the Tom Landry “Confidence” poster. My nephew doesn’t know who Tom Landry is. Or Vince Lombardi. Or John Wooden - even though he can tell you which professional basketball players were drafted from UCLA. All of a sudden he had five posters that he walked away with. Why? Because he is working hard to put himself through college, work two internships and achieve his goals in life. These images and quotes spoke to him even though he doesn’t know the people quoted. Or that these men are Christians, living their Christian disciplines, sharing Christian perspectives.
My 26 year- old nephew-in-law had a similar reaction. Several friends who have emigrated from Mexico are in love with the Spanish designs we’re launching soon. They haven’t been through the Successories experience, and nothing like that seems to exist in Spanish. Other friends have no interest. But for those who do, it’s not about the poster. It’s about what the photography, the image or the quote evokes in them.
Our models validate our choices.
Why Posters Work
I know we’re not everyone’s idea of art, and many people don’t want or need posters. But posters are cheap. A 12”x18” poster fits in places that larger sizes don’t. Posters make sense for kids, teens and young adults – the very people who need models the most. They work for people who can’t afford a museum-quality canvas, but really need something to hold on to on the hard days. They work in dorm rooms and Sunday Schools, reading rooms, prayer rooms and hospital rooms. They can be framed or taped on a wall and still inspire. Their effect is local. Personal. But that’s discipleship, right?
God has a funny way of working through unexpected channels. We figure – if He can make a donkey talk, He can probably make a $5 poster sing. I would like to personally invite you to find places for a little visual music in your life.
Especially for the men in your life.
May the Lord bless you and keep you.