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Matt Knisely asks to be “the voice that cuts through the noise in your head” and invites us to lie down in peaceful scapes and hear the gentle whispers of God to our road-weary souls. Sound inviting? Thought it might.
Matt sent me (and dozens of bloggers) an advance copy of his book “Framing Faith” that I might blog about it and offer a review here on my website. The back jacket sold me on the book before I even cracked it open. The author is an Emmy-award-winning photojournalist, has numerous honors, including Edward R. Murrow (2), for his unique photography and is recognized nationally for his compelling visual storytelling. Fittingly, Matt serves as the creative director for Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas.
Which all makes the book even that more appealing.
Aside from the eminent accolades and accomplishments, the book stands auspiciously on its own. In truth, I sat down and read it through in a single sitting, which I almost never do. I’m an ADD reader, losing focus after a few pages, plagued by sensory overload and needing to “step” away and process. Not this one. One of my favorite bookstore baristas even commented the day I (nearly) read it entirely through (save the final ten pages) that she would have greeted me but saw I was fully engrossed. Good for Matt for holding my attention.
He’s a very deep, scholarly thinker without being snooty or boring. Definitely not that. I told a buddy that I would’ve given the book five stars on Amazon simply for the ingenious quotes he deftly includes at the opening of each chapter. Not the same, overused, tired quotes you find in many popular Christian books, either. Ones you’ve never seen before. Matt, did you make them up?
My favorite was an Einstein quote which, for me, saddles the gist of the book’s purpose. Purportedly, the eminent genius was quoth to say,
Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.
Einstein said that? The dude with unruly hair and caterpillar eyebrows? A romantic? Imagine that.
Knisely very craftily handles the lyric by reminding us that this world, with its entrapments of social media, calendar demands, tyranny of urgency and even trappings of religion all serve to deflect us from the Beauty that is with us and all around us. The magnificence of Christ and His creation.
Framing Faith is a call to authentically live out the faith instilled in our DNA, to tell our stories with care and contemplation and to take the time to listen for the heart story in others, disregarding our culturally-imposed 140-character or quick-status-on-the-fly limitations.
Photography, Matt reasons, is a medium that tells an authentic story, subject to interpretation, yes, but demands an interpretation nonetheless. Framing Faith encourages us to each find our unique story and give it voice, craft, color or composition. It reinforces the truism that we each matter. Matt’s thoughtful prose bequeaths us not to purloin the art of our organic selves from the gallery of God, hung in the full eye view of humanity.
I loved this book. It spoke in soothing rhyme to my at-times discordant tendencies and aided me to imagine for myself a frameworthy faith. Thank you, Matt, for being a seer and helping your readers to see more fully.
My apologies. Couldn’t resist.
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