I first heard of Gary Molander when I read “The Idiot’s Guide to Church Burnout” on CollideMagazine.com. That was January 16th, 2010. I know because that’s the day I clipped the article into Evernote. It was also a day that was a dot in a picture that a couple of months later God would connect.
The last line of the article I read that day haunted me “I want to be clear. Burnout is a very real thing. I’m not questioning its existence. I’m questioning its root cause. And I really don’t think the root cause is being overworked and underpaid. I think the primary cause is our inability to marry our deepest God-given passions and desires to a structure or organization where we honestly believe that God can change the world through us.” It haunted me because that’s exactly where I was. But I was no where near being ready to admit it.
Fast forward a year…almost exactly…it was January 20th, 2011. I know because the magic of technology tracks things like that on emails. Gary emailed to say he was working on a book “Pursuing Christ. Creating Art.” and he wanted me to write an introduction to a chapter on the Church. At this point, and even up to the point that I sent that piece to Gary, we had never had a face to face conversation. To say I was humbled is an understatement.
Gary may not have the title “pastor” at any church. In fact he writes in his book “I think it’s a really good thing I’m not a pastor anymore…” But, Gary is a pastor at heart. And he is a pastor especially to artists because as an artist himself he understands that wiring & what it means to experience life from that corner of the world.
In “Pursuing Christ. Creating Art.” Gary time & again reminds us that it’s not about us. He speaks from a knowing & broken place as an artist himself but one he refuses to wallow in. He validates the emotions of artists but challenges all of us not to use them as an excuse. An excuse for anger, bitterness, divisiveness, inaction, & more.
In sharing his own stories, experiences, & struggles as an artist Gary encourages each of us to take heart, & to remember that we are first & foremost children of God. At the end of the way, that is what matters. And at the end of the day misplacing our identity in anything or anyone else will leave us producing false art.
There are so many incredible “one-liners” from the book I could fill this post up with, but I’d rather encourage you to read them for yourself in the context of the book. You can pick up a copy here.
I think we all need to be reminded, from time to time, to wholeheartedly pursue Christ while creating art rather than getting lost in a pursuit of art that leaves us unintentionally creating Christ.
*Image taken from the e-confessional companion guide for the book. It’s beautiful. And helpful. Check it out here.