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Notes on the Journey for the Way Ahead
Judith Deem Dupree, Ad Lib Founder
Ad Lib began as a response to both pain and vision. The angst of the unrequited need for identity within the body of Christ was my touchstone. Not to be "singled out" AS an artist (literary, in my case), but to be acknowledged in the Biblical sense, as a part of the Body according to I Corinthians 12, and affirmed as such, and received as such (as well as, and in addition to, being received simply as a servant of God, a disciple, His child, etc. - - all a part of the whole). There was a disconnect when it came to this most God-driven part of my being. This disconnect began with others, but slowly eroded my ministry unto HIM until I was virtually "in denial" - - which I consider a sin and a grief to the Holy Spirit, that most compassionate Counselor.
And this, coupled with my growing disenchantment - - my frustration - - led me over and over into a conviction that I was not an aberration, but a symptom of a real Gap in that wall of His temple (I Corinthians 12, again). If I was struggling, surely there were many others who felt the same vague (or not so vague) disenfranchisement.
So, the concept of Community in the Arts began to take shape. Slowly. I shared it with several dear ones and was delighted with their delight. At first I saw it primarily as a network, a gathering, of writers - - those who leaned deeply on the Spirit for creativity.
My paradigm was L'Abri. I hungered for the kind of fellowship it represented - - but with a consciousness of a Call as scribes. I saw it as a Refuge, a Fortress, an Upper Room.
This is where I "was" in 1996, the first year we met. I was lonely, idealistic, frustrated, aching with a desire to be a force for healing: and in great need of being healed.
As I discussed our goals with the "early birds" that first year, we suspected and suggested that Ad Lib be opened eventually to ALL the arts. We agreed that it would take a while, but it was our goal. However, shortly before the 2nd meeting, it suddenly broke open, and our Denver "artsies" came aboard . . . with tears of joy and relief. We rejoiced together at such a Gift given, and from that point on, I/we knew that by His design we were to become a larger canvas than we had dreamed of. Imagine that! No, not larger - - more intricate. Always, we have felt the peripheries He established as something far less than "conference" size, simply because our purposes are far different.
Discipleship is best learned in intimacy, where the pace can proceed as needed.
Youth ministry was added to us in the midst of our development. This must be a deep concern to the Father - - mentoring our next generation, who face a failing and often frightening world! As often as we can, we include a youth track in our conferences.
Because we are a tiny part of the great Drama of the ages, we must be ever mindful of our modest but integral place within the flow of the Church throughout the centuries. As we highlight and bring to mind the labor of Love of those saints who have gone before (some great, many unknown), and how their artistry embellished the faith throughout the centuries, we can better assess not only our "role in the drama," but the state of the arts in the Church today both generally and specifically. So let us study carefully our heritage.