Jesus... "Either you get him or you don't...."
I have a lot of images of Jesus in my head. One of them is of Jesus as a political and social subversive who sharply divided people by His words and deeds. Wherever you read of Jesus in the New Testament you read of those who have become deeply convicted by what He had said, or done. There was rarely a middle ground in the presence of people's lives when confronted by Him.
Like the pop graffiti icon Banksy (see bio below) - whose art work tears at the ethics and morality of governments, capitalism, and social agendas, - no one could be neutral before Jesus. You either "got Him or you didn't." You either loved Him, or hated Him. Begging the question, "How would we react to Jesus if we were before His presence today?" Would we be deeply offended by Him? Would Jesus elicit from us long forgotten emotional stirrings of turmoil, unresolved conflicts, or bitter feelings of envy? Or perhaps, like the beloved Mary, or the disciple John, find a deeply contrite spirit falling upon us wrapped within an enlightened shroud of profound silence before His divine authority?
It's hard to say, I think, without first being tested and sorting it all out. But perhaps a good barometer of our reaction might be in how we assess popular religious figures whom we may not have very nice thoughts about. Mostly, thoughts of repulsion, criticism, or cutting cynicisms.... Rather than "hearing the message we quickly attack the messenger." Whether this is triggered by feelings of insecurity or protection it is left to the one conflicted by the message to discover its source of projection.
I think of Rob Bell as one today's controversial figures. The divisions around his persona are deep and wide. For myself, he once created a spiritual divide that required rethinking what Christianity had become in the latter days of my Christian faith.... Not that this sort of conviction hadn't occurred in my past at other times, eras, or personal events. But more so now, today, because it was pointedly made against the raging religious criticisms flowing through the intemperate modern day church as I have since observed it. A church that I love. Whose people I love. But a church that requires daily Renewal. Regeneration. Repentance. A change of message and of heart. A church whose institutions, dogmas, and traditions, seem to be addressed here within the pages of this website all too frequently. Rather than finding a church that lives the very message it breathes having fashioned its own message of Christianity rather than the gospel one of Christianity. A message limited by our religious borders and sensitivities, our words and habits, even our partisan policies and politics.
Though I have never been especially fond of Rob's tactics or demeanor, still I think of him as a wounded friend, and well-meaning spiritual advisor, that has helped in pointing the glaring inadequacies of the Christian faith fallen upon its religious idols and tempers. Something that is as true of our lives as it is with anyone's life housed behind the safeguards and barriers of our self righteousness and devote legalisms. Who has forced untimely decisions upon the sanitized world of Christianity become too comfortably entranced behind its message and ways; unprepared to make the timely sacrifices required behind the incendiary walls of iconoclasm that envelopes its bible, worship, prayers, and hymns. A church that I believe wishes to go forth in Jesus' holy name on bended knees when confronted by the Jesus of the bible who shows to us a life undone without His presence, truth, and love.
At the last, Rob is one of many prophetic voices that have been speaking to the church to awake to its First Love even as the Apostle John did 2000 years ago in Revelation chapters 2-3. To find the divine strength of God's presence and love in all that it says and does. To eschew any messages not first speaking of Jesus as the First and Last, the Alpha and Omega, in all that it says and does. Of a Christian faith that is all about Jesus. Centered only in Jesus. And one which makes Jesus the dividing line between a great fallen, man-centered religion... or a humbled, confessional faith, full of God's divine mystery, presence, and hunger for our souls. Whose universal message of salvation is to all, for all, and through all, in Jesus' name, by the power of His Spirit.
Yes, like Bell, or Banksy, or perhaps a good-hearted friend who challenges us in our lives - and like the many who have challenged me in my life from pulpit to fellow laborer - so is this God-Man Jesus. We either get Him, or we don't. But at that sublime moment when entering into His divine presence do we find ourselves deeply conflicted by our own proud words and paucity of deeds? Or emasculated of all our virtues and pride? Knowing only the rawness of our life without His presence and love, His Spirit, and guidance? Even so, Lord Jesus, come. Come this day upon the wings of our repentance and confession as on most days in our lives when we need a Lord and a Savior to help us through the mazes of this ungodly, unloving, sinful web of life. Even as we are now before your humbling presence. Even so, come. Let these words be our thanksgiving and our Amen. In you name we pray for Help. For Sustenance. For life itself. Amen and Amen.
Novermber 18, 2013
The Controversial Art of Banksy
|We reap what we sow, Banksy|
Wikipedia Bio - link here
Banksy is a pseudonymous United Kingdom-based graffiti artist, political activist, film director, and painter. His satirical street art and subversive epigrams combine dark humour with graffiti done in a distinctive stencilling technique. Such artistic works of political and social commentary have been featured on streets, walls, and bridges of cities throughout the world.
Banksy's work was made up of the Bristol underground scene which involved collaborations between artists and musicians. According to author and graphic designer Tristan Manco and the book Home Sweet Home, Banksy "was born in 1974 and raised in Bristol, England. The son of a photocopier technician, he trained as a butcher but became involved in graffiti during the great Bristol aerosol boom of the late 1980s." Observers have noted that his style is similar to Blek le Rat, who began to work with stencils in 1981 in Paris, Jef Aerosol, who sprayed his first street stencil in 1982 in Tours (France), and members of the anarcho-punk band Crass, which maintained a graffiti stencil campaign on the London Tube System in the late 1970s and early 1980s. However, Banksy says he was inspired by3D, a graffiti artist who later became a founding member of Massive Attack.
Known for his contempt for the government in labelling graffiti as vandalism, Banksy displays his art on publicly visible surfaces such as walls, even going as far as to build physical prop pieces. Banksy does not sell photos of street graffiti directly himself; however, art auctioneers have been known to attempt to sell his street art on location and leave the problem of its removal in the hands of the winning bidder. Banksy's first film, Exit Through the Gift Shop, billed as "the world's first street art disaster movie," made its debut at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. The film was released in the UK on 5 March 2010. In January 2011, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary for the film.
Political and Social Themes
Banksy's works have dealt with an array of political and social themes, including anti-War, anti-capitalism, anti-fascism, anti-imperialism, anti-authoritarianism, anarchism, nihilism, and existentialism. Additionally, the components of the human condition that his works commonly critique are greed, poverty, hypocrisy, boredom, despair, absurdity, and alienation. Although Banksy's works usually rely on visual imagery and iconography to put forth his message, he has made several politically related comments in his various books. In summarising his list of "people who should be shot," he listed "Fascist thugs, religious fundamentalists, (and) people who write lists telling you who should be shot." While facetiously describing his political nature, Banksy declared that "Sometimes I feel so sick at the state of the world, I can't even finish my second apple pie."
Police warn international graffiti artist Banksy
his work will be rubbed out
his work will be rubbed out
by Aleks Devic, Sunday Herald Sun
November 17, 2013
ELUSIVE world-famous graffiti artist Banksy has copped a spray from Victoria's senior cops, who warn his work will be erased if he stencils without a permit.
The secretive street artist, whose identity is unknown, has divided the city.
The Victoria Police rebuke is at odds with Tourism Victoria and the City of Melbourne, which are welcoming the revered guerilla graffiti artist back to boost the city's creative credentials.
Transit Divisional Intelligence Unit Acting Sgt Paul Luck told the Sunday Herald Sun that Banksy would be treated like any other vandal.
"If he hasn't got permission to put it somewhere then it's a crime and we will encourage whatever bit of property that it's been put on, we will encourage them (the owners) to remove it," Sgt Luck said.
Banksy, who achieved cult status and whose works have sold for more than $1 million, has decorated Melbourne before but in blunders, his work was destroyed.
Lord Mayor Robert Doyle extended an invitation to Banksy in 2010 when council workers painted over one his pieces in Hosier Lane by mistake and said the council would consider commissioning him to do a work of art.
The artist has just finished a month-long "live exhibition" in New York City, and is looking for his next project.
Tourism Victoria chief executive Leigh Harry said it was "unfortunate" Banksy's local works were ruined. He said international tourists travelled to see his pieces.
"The fact that Banksy chooses to create his art in Melbourne, reinforces Melbourne's credentials in this creative field," Mr Harry said.
"Should Banksy wish to return to Melbourne to undertake any more art, he would be welcomed back."
It is believed all of Banksy's art has been removed from Melbourne walls.
During a late-night attack in 2011, vandals painted over two Banksy pieces that were in Fitzroy.
Residents Against Graffiti Everywhere founder Steve Beardon said glorifying Banksy's artwork sent the wrong message that people can become rich from being vandals.
"Banksy can go to hell as far as I am concerned and he should stay away," Mr Beardon said.
Melbourne art expert Ken McGregor compared the loss of the Hosier Lane Banksy as "painting over the Mona Lisa".
Banksy Sells Original Paintings Worth $40,000
for $60 each in New York City
BEST OF Banksy Street Art