Artists have a place at the center of the faith but not necessarily at the center of the churches. Forty years ago The Rev. James Friedrich, artist, filmmaker, producer of liturgical events and meta-liturgical explorations, and all around edge person, was ordained priest. Over the years he has held in tandem the need to critique the political and social context in which the church has its ministry and to lift up, and indeed live out, the explosive possibilities of the arts as the means of conveying a sacramental response to those contexts. His videos on "The Story of The Episcopal Church" and "The Story of the Anglican Communion" provide creative and challenging historical perspectives in a highly usable format.
Jim has been formative, no not formative, foundational to any creativity that has existed in my own ministry. I am a terrible friend, for I don't keep up very well, but not a week goes by that he is not there whispering, "keep on trying..." So he is not far from me.
Jim's work continues and its value to the church is both immeasurable and mostly unrecognized. This would be sad, except that like seed planted it only looks like a waste. Those touched by his visions and work carry forward the work of finding new "outward and visible signs" of the inward and spiritual graces that make our lives sacramental. Nothing is lost.
Here is the invitation to the celebration of his ministry. Drop him a line. Congratulate him on 40 years.
I might add that celebrating 40 years is highly tempting. Fifty years (a really big year) seems far enough away that perhaps we will have died or been reduced to second childhood or whatever. So 40 gets celebrated. But part of that celebration is to say, "Keep on truckin' Jim! There is a lot to be done yet."