Archive for February, 2009

23
Feb
09

I Stand Accused

Two summers ago, my wife and I went with my department on a trip to San Diego for the Children’s Pastor’s Conference.  The conference was a wash- I hated the whole thing, but time with friends and my wife brought huge redemption to the trip.  I wrestled with a lot during that week- mainly with my identity as a minister to children- and how the world saw my role within it.

 

On one of the evenings, after the day’s sessions, my friends and I caught the train and headed south to Tijuana.  At the end of the line, the train stopped and we all hopped out- I had seen enough pictures of Southern California and Mexico to not be surprised at the environment, but being there had a different feel.  As I crossed the border, I expected to see children selling bracelets, I expected to speak to people who would reply in broken English, I expected to see prescription pharmaceuticals on the shelf to purchase for affordable prices, I was pretty sure I’d see some Cuban Cigars too.

 

But when we rounded the final of a long series of concrete staircases and walkways to “officially” enter Mexico, I saw this:

 The Accuser

 

 

As I look at this image now, she looks older than I remember, but she still makes me feel like scum.  As I walked around Tijuana, my mind continued to wander back to her face and I felt like apologizing.  I wanted to say “You’re right.  I’m sorry.  I’m everything you’ll ever call me.”

 

It’s quite possible that this stencil was put up by some kid on a dare- it may have also been a resident who saw one too many entitled Americans.  For me, that doesn’t really matter- God talks to us everyday.  His fingerprints are all over us (and around us).  He’ll use anything if you let Him and it won’t ever stop until his work is completed in you.

 

What does she say to you?

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17
Feb
09

Smooth Talker

Smooth Talker

It’s like I had a stack of papers and I lost the yellow sticky with God’s secret to my life written on it.  When I dig through the papers for the second and third time, it’s like I can’t read the words. I find I need my glasses- or the ink is bleeding from the pages.  Then the pages fade away all together and I’m staring at my hands.  And there they are- just staring right back.

 

“Is there something I can help you with?” They ask politely.

“Funny, I don’t remember what I was looking for.”

“Well then, perhaps you’d like this shiny red ball.”

“Well heck, that sounds grand!” I say- and I mean it too.  Then I spend the rest of the evening sitting in a chair in a barren room in an empty house in the middle of nowhere staring at this stupid ball that was made in Taiwan like a moron who had a lobotomy.

 

Something led me there.  Something called me into that room and into that chair.

 

What is a man’s heart?

 

I need the sun to break the fog.  I need the sky blue again.

There is a trumpet sounding beyond the gray haze.  It’s faint, but it’s there and it’s calling me.

 

He says: “I got your purpose right here.  Right here in my hand, but it’s a secret.  Betcha can’t guess what I’m gonna have you do.”

 

Yes Sir, I hear your trumpet and I may be part deaf, but I can hear it.  I can feel it.

And I’m comin’.

07
Feb
09

The Biting Cold of Winter

 The Biting Cold of Winter

This is one of the paintings from the show I had up at Margie’s Java Joint in December.  I got a lot of positive feedback on this one, but there wasn’t one stab at an interpretation.  I must admit- I was bummed.  Hopefully this means something to somebody.

03
Feb
09

labels.

bust comp

This is a bust of a girl I picked up at the ARC for 8 bucks.  As soon as I saw her on the shelf, I new I wanted to do this to her.  I think she’s beautiful.  The face painted onto this bust is a recreation of the painting “La Catrina” by artist Sylvia Ji.  Ji paints beautiful portraits of seductive women sometimes with the facial treatments you see in the “after” picture of the bust.

 

When I was a younger artist, I struggled with artwork of this nature.  Not because I didn’t like it, but because I did.  As a Christian, what was okay for me to like?  You may think this a stupid question- or that I over-thought something of little importance.  I can see how you may think that…

 

For me, art is one of the most important things.  And because I have willingly placed myself under the authority of God, I really thought it necessary to wrestle with these questions:  What is art?  Is there such a thing as Christian art?  Should I be a Christian artist?  The last one I had little control over (unless I never wanted to create anything again).  But those other ones…they got me pretty good.

 

I learned that it is not healthy to place the label “Christian” in front of anything.  A Christian is a person- it is one who has surrendered self to God through His Son- Jesus, the Christ.  I think that label has started more careers than it should’ve and killed even more still.

 

You know what else?

I was afraid that Christianity meant boring.  I was afraid that if I was an artist that was to portray my faith through my work, it would have to have blatant religious symbols- like crosses, or crowns of thorns, or smiling people, or Jesus himself (the blond hair blue-eyed Jesus version everyone paints).  Is there truth there?  Maybe. 

I shouldn’t say that…those things have truth to them.  Maybe I’m just tired of seeing them everywhere.  Isn’t God so much bigger than that?  Isn’t he still here?  Our God is a God of mystery- and he is ever-working.  I see His fingerprints on His creation.  His truths are everywhere.

 

Jesus came to testify to the truth (John 18:37).  In light of that, it is important to seek the truth in what we see.  Sometimes it can be very hard to look at- so for many of us, we choose to look for truth in prettier places like air-conditioned rooms or in paintings of houses with nice landscaping. Ultimately, this leads to smaller living.  Those things can be beautiful, but a partial truth is no truth at all.