Have you ever gone on a God Hunt? A God Hunt begins when you teach yourself to look for God’s hand at work in the everyday occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:
When we went to Oaxaca, our youngest son, Jeremy, who spent his honeymoon with his wife in this Mexican state—and who runs an immigration counseling service with a high number of Mexican clients, and who teaches Spanish as an adjunct professor at Wheaton College—gave us a list of items he wanted us to pick up for him and bring home. We actually spent a great deal of our free time roaming the mercados and artisan communities looking for the things he included on his list.
The barro negro (“black clay”) pottery, at the top of Jeremy’s list, are typical of Oaxacan pottery. In fact, the Valley of Oaxaca, in which the capital city resides, is renowned for its pottery-making tradition. What is amazing about barro negro is that it is turned without a potter’s wheel. Doña Rosa, now deceased, pioneered the turning of pots on a clay dish stacked on another clay dish, which is turned upside down and cemented to the ground with a plug of wet clay. The size and shape of the pots has been expanded by Doña Rosa’s many descendants, but the means of turning the pots remains the same. With wide eyes and open mouths, David and I and our eldest son watched a pot-making demonstration where the potter turned out what eventually became a large pitcher—without the traditional wheel. The little town of San Bartolo de Coyotepec is an artisan pottery village. Here we found the black pottery requested by our youngest son who had sent us off to Oaxaca with a list in hand.
The story of Doña Rosa intrigues me because it is one of the many examples I’ve discovered of artists who have found a way to create beauty despite the obstacles of their lives—lack of training or lack of artistic resources. In fact, there is a whole tradition known as “outsider art”; people, often uneducated, often impoverished, who create amazing expressions of that God-given urge outside of the parameters of the academic or recognized artistic community. Whenever I run into “outsider art” I am reminded that Scripture tells us we are all made in the image of God. This deep need to express, to create, to form, to design—no matter how, exactly, it finds its expression, is to me evidence that those Genesis passages are true. Even if we don’t recognize that God is the Original Creator of All, this urgency to emulate—sometimes without training, even without paints or brushes or clay or fabric—the God who is the Originator is evidence enough to me. I delight in the thought of a Mexican woman figuring out how to make clay pots without a potter’s wheel, and stacking an upright clay dish on top of an upside down clay dish, throwing the clay on the stack, turning the upright plate with one hand and pressing a hole in the clay mound with her other hand, then thinking to herself, Yes. This will work. This will work indeed.
I cannot deny the existence of a God when there are so many proliferating, sometimes profligate, examples of the need, of the urge, of the deep desire to create. “And God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image.’ … So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.’” —Genesis 1:26-27.
I spy God!
Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.
Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This micro-finance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.
For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.