The painting that drives me

Jul 12th, 2010 in Jim's Blog by Jim Denison

Welcome to my new blog—I’m really glad you’re here.

For ten years I’ve wanted to do this.  I’ve written a daily morning devotional for more than a decade, sending it to subscribers (now more than 18,000) and posting it on our website, but it’s not really a blog.  I’ve always wanted to do a real blog, commenting more personally on current events and cultural issues in spiritual perspective.  With our new website design, I can now do just that.  This is very exciting for me—I hope it will be interesting and relevant for you as well.

Here’s the reason why I’m so motivated to interact with cultural issues and faith questions.  It has to do with a painting I can see as I write these words.  My father fought in World War II, stationed on an island in the South Pacific.  He was one of 300 men assigned to that island—only 17 survived.  One of them was an artist.  He made 17 oil paintings of that island and gave one to each survivor.

the painting that drives me

Bougainville, Solomon Islands.

My Dad died when I was in college, but my Mom kept his painting until she died a year ago September.  Now it is mine, hanging on the wall over my computer monitor.  Here’s why it is so special to me: my Dad never went to church after that war.  He had been a Methodist Sunday school teacher, so devoted to the church that friends thought he might go into vocational ministry.

But the horrors he encountered on that island shook his faith so severely that he never recovered spiritually.

I am driven to discuss the kinds of faith issues which haunted my Dad and still bother me today.  I am also fascinated by the intersection of cultural issues and biblical truth.  What does God think about the tensions between Israel, Turkey and Iran?  Why is the war in Afghanistan now the longest conflict in our nation’s history?  What does Scripture say about such wars?  Does the Bible have a position on gay marriage?  On immigration reform or the environment?

My daily devotional, called GodIssues Today, focuses on spiritual encouragement for each morning.  My blogs will be different—more personal, perhaps more controversial on occasion, more tied to faith questions and cultural issues.  I’m excited about exploring some tough questions with you, and looking forward to conversation together through your comments and my replies.  Welcome!

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  • Bill Graswich

    If it wouldn’t be intrusive, I’d enjoy seeing an image of the painting, and learn more about the “island” you mentioned regarding your father. My father too was in the Army in the Pacific during WWII. I served in the Navy in the Pacific as well. Thank you for your daily Word and reminder that we live in the world of the dying, heading towards the world of the living.

  • Wendell Wright

    Dr. Dennison,

    I so appreciate your daily uplifting devotionals and look forward to reading your blogs.

  • how about a digital photo of the painting over your monitor, so we can see what you see everyday! Kudos on your blog, this is my first time to ever “blog” (is it a verb?)! SAM

    • Susan, the painting of Bougainville, one of the Solomon Islands where Dr. Denison father served in WWII has been posted.

  • Trainor Evans

    thank you Jim, we can’t ever know what despair and suffering our WWII veterans went through and the fact that they even funcioned in civilian life is a testament to God’s healing power. I know they are at peace now, but what they endured for us is unthinkable. Congratulations on your new blog and thank you for your work.
    see you at Bloys. Trainor

  • Jim Goodnight

    Dr. D:
    This news really is terrific. I’m looking forward to reading more of your thoughts and comments each day. I have never participated in a blog before, being somewhat of an electronic communications dinosaur, but I’m giving yours my first attempt.
    Thank you for everything you are doing at the Center.
    God bless you and your family.

  • I look forward to reading your blogs and interacting and sharing with other.

  • I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on why church attendance and membership continues to go down and what we as christians should be doing. I enjoy your thoughts and devotionals each day.

  • I am excited about another way to take advantage of your godly wisdom and teaching.

  • I was wondering if you have heard of the apparitions in Medjugorge of the Blessed Mother. She has been appearing for 29 years and they continue today. What is your thoughts on this? I am Catholic and truly believe that our Blessed Mother is appearing. I also went to Medjugogje some 20 years ago and saw first hand all the miracles that were happening there. I would love to spread Her messages of peace, fasting, prayer, repentance and a return to the Bible but have no resources to do that other than by word of mouth. I would love to read a daily devotional on this.
    Thank you and may God Bless all your continued efforts to spread the gospel.

  • I am very excited about getting to hear more from you. I have never written on a blog. So this is new to me. I will look forward to the days ahead ! God bless you and your writing ! I look forward to the emails every morning.

  • Jim~ I sure understand the questions in your mind in regards to the affects the war had on your father — the emotional and spiritual damage that war brings. My father, who just passed away, was also a WWII vet and also served on Pacific islands. He struggled all his life with the horrors of the war and seemed especially devastated in the last years of his life as he tried to make peace with the issue. Because of seeing him go through this and reading books/articles to try to understand what he endured I have come to a point where I question what constitutes a ‘good’ reason for war. We live in a fallen world and unfortunately not all the people in positions of power are truly seeking God’s guidance in these issues so the world is bound to see war time and time again. But as a Christian, I feel the need to know what God has said about it. All I know is that God directed his people to war at times in the Old Testament. It is all so very confusing and heart wrenching. I thank you for being willing to attempt to tackle the tough topics. I pray for His guidance in your ministry.

  • I have been blessed by God through you for many years now. Bring on the controversy! Strengthen my faith!

  • I have genuinely enjoyed you daily emails and I am excited to read your blog witch I believe will help my spiritual growth. Thank you


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