The Him Line

bill-cunningham-citra-embedFashion is not my forte, and I’m certainly not the model image of a fashion model from GQ.  I do, however, know enough about fashion to know that Bill Cunningham, the legendary photojournalist for The New York Times, died on Saturday.

Cintra Wilson paid tribute to Cunningham in a timely article in GQ when she described the white-haired octogenarian on a Schwinn bike as a man who, “seemed to have a kind of quantum-mechanical ability to suddenly be at any location in New York City where an act of fashion was being committed, and to witness it at any point in the space-time continuum. His camera was the all-seeing eye of New York City fashion; his documenting of the infinite variations of city fashion were as close to something like omniscience as a mortal with a camera can get.”bill-cunningham-citra-embed-2

Cunningham’s sharp eye captured the rise and fall of fashion’s hem line for nearly 40 years, and he’ll be remembered in part for the him- line that was his life motto: “If beauty is what you seek, you will find it every day.

The essence of Cunningham was captured by Jacob Bernstein: “He wanted to find subjects, not be the subject. He wanted to observe, not be observed.”

Even though He might be out of fashion with some, I still see immense beauty in the Him-Lines of another person; I see it, in these words of Jesus:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. ~Matthew 5

The New Miss Universe… Oops!

CWzg_NMUAAENSNoThis past Sunday, Miss Colombia, Ariadna Gutierrez-Arévalo, went from ecstasy to agony in the space of a couple of seconds.  When she heard Steve Harvey announce to the world that she was the new Miss Universe, the radiant smile on her face dazzled the crowd and lit up the stage.

Then the funny man shared the sadness news, Harvey said: “I have to apologize, the first runner up is Colombia.”  Her crown was removed, and it placed on the head of Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, Miss Philippines.

While Harvey took the blame for the epic blunder, FOX News has reported that there is a seven-second behind-the-scenes video of Harvey saying: “The teleprompter said Miss Universe – Colombia.”  The technology failed:  The cue card had the correct information, and the teleprompter was wrong.

To add insult to injury, when Harvey posted his first TWEET to apologize to Miss Colombia and all Colombians, he spelled Colombia with a “U” and not an “O”—Columbia.

While this crown meant the world to Miss Colombia, there are other crowns that are of greater importance, and they are found in the New Testament:

  • The incorruptible crown (I Corinthians 9:24,25): It’s also called the imperishable crown, and it will be given to believers who have lived a life of dedication and faith.
  • The crown of rejoicing (I Thessalonians 2:19, 20; Daniel 12:3) will be given to those who share their faith and encourage others to accept Jesus as their Savior.
  • The crown of life or martyr’s crown (James 1:12; Revelation 2:8-11) is the crown that will be worn by Christians who have endured trials, tribulations, and even death for the cause of Christ.
  • The crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8) is mentioned by Paul, and it is for those who live in expectation of the return of Christ.
  • The crown of glory (1 Peter 5:1-4) has been called the “pastor’s crown” by some and it appears to be reserved for ministers who have been faithful shepherds of the flock of God.

In the 4th chapter of Revelation, there are 24 elders dressed in white robes and wearing golden crowns, and they kneel before Jesus “who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

Worthy are you, our Lord and God,

to receive glory and honor and power,

for you created all things,

and by your will they existed and were created.

The crowns of heaven are not given because of a beautiful complexion or a pretty smile; they are given for a life well-lived—a life lived in honor of the King of kings and Lord of lords. 

May He one day say to each of us:  “Well done my faithful servant.”


More Than Pepper and Salt

723buffaloI couldn’t resist the urge, so I took a peak.  Even though I may never float it again, I still wanted to check the river levels on the Buffalo National River and reminisce.

Every time I paddled this river, I marveled at her beauty:  The pristine water is framed by towering limestone bluffs that rise above the river below.

The first night out on the river was often the best because supper would be venison.  As soon as I arrived at the campsite, I would put the venison strips in a plastic bag to marinate.    By the time I had set up the tent, collected firewood, and started brewing the coffee, several hours had passed and the meat was thoroughly seasoned.

In the solitude of this magnificent wilderness, I found it easy to see the beauty of God’s creation.  I also found it easy to reflect of His Word.

One evening after I had finished off the venison, I was reading Ephesians 1:7:  “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.”

It occurred to me that being lavished with God’s grace is somewhat like marinating venison.  When you encounter the grace of God and you are covered-up by its life-changing power, you are transformed:

  • You are holy because He is holy—I Peter 1:16
  • You can forgive because you have been forgiven—Colossians 3:13
  • You can be merciful because you have experienced the mercy of God—Luke 6:36
  • You can live a life of love because you’ve been blessed by God’s—Ephesians 5:2

The riches of God’s grace is more than a sprinkle of pepper and a dash of salt.  When God lavishes you with His presence, you are redeemed, renewed, and refreshed, and you are a new creation in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17).