Archive for October, 2014

22
Oct
14

SEEING Art.

psalm 110To what extent should an artist need to explain their work?

That’s something I started to think more about this morning. I was showing Gloria one of my recent paintings and pointing out some of its features. She appreciated it much more afterwards, saying that prior to my explanation the painting looked … well I can’t remember her exact words, but they weren’t complimentary.

She now realised that there was purpose behind the painted marks and symbols, she could appreciate they had meaning and she liked the painting a lot more.

Her response raised the question of what viewers expect from art and how many are interested in something more than pretty pictures. How much effort are they willing to put into looking an art work?
In my paintings I try to express ideas related to scripture, using text and symbols. Some of those symbols may seem obscure and the casual viewer may miss their intended significance. It might be easier if a glossary of symbols was displayed next to each painting to explain what everything means, but what room would that leave for the viewer to discover things for themselves? And surely discovery is part of the joy that we can get when viewing art – as long as we are observant, patient, and give the artwork enough respect to SEE it rather than merely glance at it.

16
Oct
14

Protect Middle Eastern Christians. (article from International Christian Embassy Jerusalem)

Unequalled

At a press conference on Monday (13 Oct 2014) in Jerusalem, prominent leaders of major Jewish and Christian global organizations announced an historic joint initiative calling on world leaders to take urgent, determined actions to halt the brutal persecution of Christians in the Middle East.

“The current plight of Middle East Christians is heart-breaking and even western churches have to do more to bring the suffering of our fellow believers to the forefront worldwide,” … . “But to have a prominent global Jewish leader lend his voice to this moral call for protecting the region’s persecuted Christians is unprecedented in modern times. We welcome all others of goodwill who will take a stand now for these vulnerable ancient Christian communities.”

“Just as Christians defend Jews against anti-Semitism, just as Christians support Israel, we Jews have an obligation to speak out against the growing persecution of Christians in many parts of the world,”.

“Islamist extremists have launched a full-fledged assault on our Western values, on our civilization, and Jews and Christians must work hand in hand to defeat this threat. For too long, the world has remained silent in the face of this evil. We must act before it is too late,”

Complete article here:
http://us.icej.org/news/special-reports/call-world-leaders-halt-persecution-middle-east-christians

Psalm

03
Oct
14

Burqa Ban?

The subject of burqas has been in the news again. In particular the possible security problems they would cause because they prevent identification of the wearer.

For a short time it was decided that burqa wearers would have their access to Parliament House restricted, but that idea seems to have been overturned after objections were voiced.

Now that the Parliament House issue has been resolved, I’m wondering whether I could visit there myself over the weekend. I have just the thing to wear…

parliament house attire

02
Oct
14

The Search for Truth (article from Voice of the Martyrs)

David’s father was the local village Imam and held a strict Muslim regime in the family’s home. Like many young Muslim boys, when David turned 10, his father sent him to the local Islamic school where he was carefully instructed in the Koran and Islamic rituals until he turned 16.

Even at the Islamic school the boys in David’s class were taught that there are three holy books apart from the Koran; the Torah, the Gospel and the Psalms. However, the teachers only taught from the Koran. At 13, David prayed that he might find these other holy books. When he finally finished school, he began his search in earnest.

See complete story here:
http://www.vom.com.au/news.asp?pid=1&id=1522&utm_source=Voice+of+the+Martyrs+E-news&utm_campaign=ea629ae1b6-&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_7ae1061273-ea629ae1b6-328810609

truthTowards the end of the article we read that David “discovered that not everyone had the same thirst for meaning and truth as he did”.

I think that is a very significant statement. It explains a lot of what goes on in both the secular and religious worlds.

It also reveals why so many within the church, people who would profess to being Christians, are so easily led into error and so resistant to recognise it.

How much of a thirst for meaning and truth (especially the latter) do we have? I believe that if we DO thirst for truth, if we genuinely desire it, then God will reveal the truth to us.

Many times I’ve heard questions about those who don’t get the opportunity to hear about Jesus and His gospel – is it fair of God to condemn them for something they’ve never been made aware of. I think David’s example and his observation of people’s attitudes to truth provide a potential answer to this question.

God will get the gospel to those who DO thirst for meaning and truth. God will provide a way for all genuine truth seekers to be made aware of Jesus – THE Truth.*

____________

*In scripture we see examples of this including Phillip being directed to the place where he’d meet the Ethiopian eunuch; and Peter’s vision that led him to seek out Cornelius.

01
Oct
14

The Only Way to the Father (God)?

wayI’m coming across more and more people who are ignoring what scripture clearly says and creating meanings totally different to what is plainly written on the page.

 They will appeal to “Spiritual insight” and present a “prophetic” interpretation of what is written OR they claim some kind of special knowledge gained through tradition/education/cultural awareness. Both cases require the average believer to submit to the understanding presented by those with that special knowledge, because we (apparently) haven’t got a hope of understanding scripture for ourselves when we read it.

 

Recently I’ve seen some imaginative claims about the following statement from Jesus:

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

To me that is a straight forward statement about Jesus and His importance.

 The latter part makes clear the exclusivity of access to the Father (God) through Jesus. And yet the imagination of man can work overtime to reinterpret such a simple statement to make it fit with their own personal theological agenda.

 A few weeks ago I saw video of Oprah Winfrey interviewing Joel Osteen. When Oprah pressed Osteen on the claimed exclusivity of Christianity – Osteen gave a reply something along the lines that Jesus is the only way to God, but there are many ways to Jesus.

In today’s relativist and syncretistic world it’s a popular idea that all religions lead to God, that none has a monopoly on truth (regardless of Jesus’ statement that HE is the Truth).

Osteen tried to put a Christian-friendly spin onto that idea. He made sure he presented Jesus as the sole means of access to God (so he wouldn’t alienate his Christian supporters) but not wanting to distance himself from Oprah, inferred that other religions are merely another way to Jesus.

More recently I’ve seen another approach to Jesus’ claim. Pushing aside what Jesus actually said, a blog commenter (a claimed Messianic Jew) suggested that Jesus REALLY meant that the Torah is the Way the Truth and the Life.

While I find it disturbing that someone would need to make such a claim to support a chosen belief system, (which I don’t think is held by most Messianic Jews), I wasn’t really surprised because I’ve had previous disagreements with him regarding the divinity of Jesus. This example seems to be merely another case of diminishing Jesus’ importance.

 There are clearly MULTIPLE ways of changing the clear and simple message of scripture into something more esoteric and each of those ways takes the “average” believer away from the truth, creating a distance between God’s word and the “average” believer that makes it necessary for an intermediary to bridge the gap.

An intermediary between man and God?

Wait a minute – doesn’t scripture tell Jesus is that intermediary? That HE is the only means of access to the Father? At least it does if we are simple enough to accept scripture at face value instead of looking for reasons why the Bible doesn’t really mean what it says.




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