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Jesus’ Rugged Beauty
12 October 2013
With Martha Kilpatrick and hosted by John Enslow
Special guests: Jennifer Wentzel and Carole Nelson
(Jennifer) I love that this ministry as Martha saw it of our websites, that that is, that He’s still within that with what should be a very cold, you know, technology and pixels and bits and all these things that are so inhuman, so very inhuman, that He has made them beautiful. And He has given you a vision that so speaks to Who He is through this ministry. I just was rejoicing over you and what He’s done in you and what He’s done for this ministry and, and all of it. And so I’m just really excited right now. That’s all.
(M) Jennifer you just wrecks me, (Martha overwhelmed) because you get it, you always ‘get it’. All I want to say is that I’ve always loved beauty, and you have to get past that ascetic religion. And so I went to school to learn interior design. I really went to school to learn for myself, and then it developed into a business and so forth. And then I began to teach Christian women, ah, about homes, making a home. But I had a dilemma when I started it, and I said Lord, You have to justify to me, the investment in beauty in the home. I saw it in Proverbs 31, that the woman made tapestries, not something plain. Tapestry is in the East is incredible investment. And I said You have to justify to me that I am to, ah, encourage women to make a beautiful home. I believe in it as my calling as a woman. And He answered me so simply, He said, “I didn’t make gray apples”, it covers everything. What He made is full of beauty and it does express Him. And I never heard you say those things Jennifer.
(Jennifer) I never did. I didn’t realize I had them until this morning, and it just kind of exploded out, and I just, I don’t know, I got so excited because I’m constantly trying to pin-point what it is that this ministry, uhm, ah, spoke so, and well continues to. I, I am ever on the lookout and there is an element to this ministry that is, its, and there are God-filled and Spirit-filled, and I’m not saying they’re not real ministries, but there’s still a difference. And I, I feel like this morning I, I got a bit of what that was, and it was, uhm, you know, it’s easy to say we limit God, but to have such a concrete example in front of me, that that was, that was one of the main things that we limit is the lavishness is in His beauty, and the fact that He loved it, it matters to Him. It’s not ‘an extra’, it’s in times of prosperity, it’s not, do you know what I mean? It’s beyond our human, the box that we put things like that in; we call it a luxury. God doesn’t call it that I don’t think. I think He understood and He built us for a love of beauty. And I know for me there’s a part of me that I think was starving in that area, and is just starting to allow itself to feed even though it’s a skeleton. Uhm, so it’s just, I don’t know, I just kind of exploded with it this morning and I felt like I had an answer that I didn’t even know I’ve been asking a question about really.
(M) And you know, ah, Jennifer, a nature carries a huge element of a rugged beauty. I can say the Grand Canyon there’s a, I can’t remember the name of it, but there’s a place in Ireland on the coast that is terribly rugged that we visited.
(Jennifer) The entire state of Alaska.
(M) Yes, yes. And I believe your blogs are the rugged beauty of the Lord. And that has to be brought out too, there’s a rugged aspect to the creation of beauty, and to the, ah, the
side of the Lord that is rugged and real and down to earth, and that is beauty too. So your blogs to me are the beauty of the rugged side of coming into His beauty. There’s a road that is, ah, I can’t get away from the word rugged. There’s a road that’s rugged from me into His beauty. And you are doing that; you are walking that rugged road. And that also is unique I think to this ministry, because we’re so… We don’t tell it all, but we tell more than most, and people tell me that, and that’s why I think people who are willing for reality, who want the reality of Christ are affected by our podcasts and by the blogs and… But you don’t come to, into the beauty you’re describing, of the Lord, easily. There’s a death, there’s a discarding, there’s a stripping, and yet to Him that road is beautiful. He, He… Coming to know Him means a great deal of discarding and elimination with subtraction, and renouncing. And you all give that forth in such ah… And you say it in such a beautiful way. I’m astonished that you can say those things in a way that is ah, completely descriptive. You two are different in how you do it, and that too is the uniqueness of the Lord, and ah. So I’m very grateful that you see that Jennifer, and that God showed you that; I’m grateful to Him. But you are producing the beauty of the Lord too, in your blogs and even in our podcasts. Our podcasts are sometimes rugged too, our meetings that we don’t record are, (she laughs) can be pretty rugged. So but that’s the pathway into His beauty, that’s like weeding a garden so that it bears fruit and it’s beautiful.
(Carole) I want to give a personal testimony. Then I don’t know, you know, whether we even want to share this. But when Jen and I were talking, I’ll just be real, real honest about my eyes. Because this is, this about a God I don’t know. This is about a Father I have not known, that you know Psalm 45 says, ‘Leave your fathers house, and the King will desire your beauty.’ And it’s about beauty, He desires not only for us to see His beauty, but He desires the beauty that He has set forth before us. And you know when Martha came to me and said something about fixing my eyelids, after Don passed away, and I really didn’t notice it because I was on one thing, and that was just where the Lord had me on the journey of this grief. But somehow it’s about beauty, and I don’t know in my knowing that He loves beauty, in taking me beyond the boundaries of, of what I think and Who I think God is. And so it’s significant to me that the Lord would send my authority to, to ah, to want… I don’t even understand it, (Carole is crying) I don’t understand it, but in it and through it He reveals Himself just as my Shepherd and my Father that cares about every intimate detail of my life; and cares so much that I experience His love and that through that experience I, I do love Him more; He, He makes that real. And I look at this house and to me it’s the Taj Mahal, and He gave this gift of the most beautiful place in the world to live. And it’s what, it’s what you’re saying Jen, and we come together somehow out of the experience of these things. And maybe what people hear, I don’t know, is, (she takes a deep breath) is what He does in our individual relationship with Him, and that stretching of what we understand about Him, and that bombarding of what we don’t understand about Him that comes together through the blogs and through the podcasts and through Martha’s writings. It just enlarges Who we see Him to be and Who we experience Him to be.
(J) Well I’m, I’m amazed that the word beauty in that, definitely into what you just said. And I have never; the King will desire your beauty. He didn’t say His beauty, though it is His beauty. It’s His life in us, which makes us beautiful. But it’s amazing that He says, “He will desire your beauty.” How I can express Myself, God, in you, is what I consider beautiful; and that’s what I see Him doing in all of us is He’s expressing His beauty. And He wants to desire that free-flow of that beauty from us. He wants a ready access as a vessel to, to express His beauty. He desires our beauty and it is our beauty because He makes us beautiful. Does that make sense? That’s amazing. That’s amazing.
(Jennifer) Well you know what it makes me think of. I’m, like the Shaker’s, ok, and I’m going to use them as an example because they have for all intents and purposes died out because of the ascetic legalist side of them, you know, which literally set up their own annihilation. (Jennifer laughs.) But ah, but they are, people still talk about them, and the things that they built a hundred and fifty years ago, two hundred years ago, still have incredible value precisely because somewhere, even in that kind of ah, stark, ah, asceticism that they absolutely had, they absolutely had, but they still valued beauty. And so these homes are still standing, and you still go into them. And it’s like… I watched a documentary on it. This one home they did, it was just a staircase. It was a staircase they built, and I started crying. I started crying. And that home that they built, the word that came to me was sanctuary, because it felt like to me the beauty that was evident in the lines of that house and the care that they’d given to every last detail of these functional items, their chairs, their tables, ah, this barn that they built. I cried over the barn. To me there was as much beauty evident in that as in the, the great churches of Europe that I’ve seen pictures of that were so lavish and gold plated and all the rest of it. And yet there is this kind of a sparse rugged elegance to what they did. Because it was not about the trimmings, it was, I, I mean I, I feel like the impact is because of the beauty they left behind, not anything else. It’s the beauty that we remember about the Shaker’s and that we marvel at, and the master carpenter’s that try to emulate what they’ve done. And I don’t know about that.
(M) I’m gonna add something to that Jennifer, because asceticism… Jesus said, “I came to give you life, and give it more abundantly.” And it’s more abundant than I would have ever dreamed. His abundance overwhelms me in so many ways. But I want to tell you something about the Shaker’s. My husband and I were on a vacation some years ago. And we went to one that had been turned into a museum. And we went all over it, and it’s so admirable, because everything had its little place. Everything was so orderly. And there’s a whole lot we learned about the people themselves. But we walked in the school, the classroom; they had their own school. My husband looked around and he said, “There’s no Blood. There’s no Blood.” What he meant was there’s no Blood of Christ ever mentioned, ever gone into. You see they gave themselves to be good, and not transformed. And so they created something that is very beautiful, and valuable, but they created it without needing the Blood. And that’s what asceticism is. I was astonished, when he just simply said, “There’s no Blood here.” He looked at all the, all the things on the wall, the sayings, the scriptures they chose, the books that the children, and the whole, whole museum area, and his conclusion was there’s no Blood here. When you do ‘good’ (she emphasizes this word), you don’t need the Blood. When you think you can do good, and you can, you can, you already know what God wants… He wants simplicity, yes. Some people He requires to live in a cell, like many martyrs at this time. And always I think of Corrie Ten Boom who was in such despair and God showed her the bluebird; that was beauty and liberty and freedom that He showed her to sustain her soul. And so I believe they died out because of the asceticism, and ‘goodness’, and they had developed a wall rather than grace.
All I could think of as I listed to this podcast was this song:
You are all so beautiful! There is nothing like living a transparent, honest, vulnerable life – it is stunning! I pray the Body gets to this place as a whole.
Beauty is about AGREEABLENESS. Two people sharing the same interest by agreement. I’m talking about Christ and his church becoming one in heart and mind. Just as the psalmist said,” One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the BEAUTY of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple. I desire your beauty and to look upon the Lord’s Beauty. May the Lord’s beauty be upon us and establish the work of our hands!
Thanks so much, Steve. This quote from Psalm 27 is the prayer and choice and basis for beholding Christ’s beauty. I didn’t think of the verse in the time of this recording so I’m grateful that you have sent it.