Monday, June 25, 2007

Oh, My God!

I would like to preface this post (It has been a very long time by the way.) by stating that I am a Christian. I love being a Christian. I volunteer at, and go to my church every week. In this post I will be mocking art and artist, not the Son of God.

A couple of weeks ago Vesper and I were doing some Father’s Day/Birthday shopping down at the SuperMall. We were well wearied and eager for some rest so we spied some of those tacky massage chairs and splurged for a 3 minute back rub. Across from the chairs was the Christian Outlet Clearance Center. Always curious to see the wares of such stores Vesper and I wandered over. To my initial horror, and later delight, this is the first thing that we saw.

It was quite simply one of the most ridiculous pictures of Christ that I have ever seen. Here is a clearer version of the same picture.

The cacophony of religious symbols is enough to overwhelm the unwary viewer. Vesper and I stood gazing awestruck at the painting for a good 2-3 minutes. Then, the laughing kicked in. I don't think I stopped snickering and guffawing for quite some time. Then, we spent the remainder of our time trying to figure what on EARTH the artist was attempting to say.

- Mallet and Nails - These artifacts point to the fact that this man is a sinner. Apparently his sins have crucified Christ anew, or he's doing his darnedest to.

- River of Blood - The Blood of the Lamb is what saves and cleanses all from sin. So, I suppose that having the hooded Christ dragging the man of sin up the river of blood signifies that he is attempting to redeem the man of sin through his efforts.

- Dirty Jeans - He has rolled around so much in mammon and the earthly things of this world that he is simply filthy. In need of a good blood bath, if you know what I mean.

- Purple Shirt - This one was a bit tricky for us. Colors can symbolize many different things. But for the sake of this religious painting, let’s take a look at how purple is used in the Bible.

Royalty (Mark 15: 17, 20, John 19: 2, 5)

Decadence and Abomination (Rev. 18: 12, 16, Rev. 17: 4)

Holiness and Service of God (Ex. 39: 1-3, 5, 8, 24, 29, Ex. 28: 5-6, 8, 15, 33, Ex. 35: 6, 23, 25, 35, Ex. 26: 1, 31, 36, Ex. 36: 8, 35, 37, Ex. 38: 18, 23)

So, either this man is: A) Of the royal birthright and has fallen into wayward paths B) Immersed in his decadence and all that is worldly and revels in his abominations or C) A humble servant of his master that his been caught up in the vicissitudes of life and despite all of his earnest efforts is in need of the grace of Christ. I vote for B.

- Christ's Hands - Notice Christ's hand clutching the man's sternum. Christ's hands are also a symbol of his redeeming love and ultimate sacrifice for creation. Through clutching the man so fervently with his hand, he is beginning to lift the purple (read sin/abomination/decadence) from the body of this man. This is the hand that is being used to pull the man along the river of blood to who knows what. Christ's other hand is supporting the weight of the unconscious man.

- Unconsciousness - Apparently he is so deep in sin that he is also unconscious from lack of the living water of Christ.

- White Lilies - Symbol of the resurrection. Pretty straightforward.

So, in the end, after analyzing all of the symbols, we were still confused. Do the lilies mean that this is the resurrection for this man? That all of us have done this to Christ, and this is the payment he makes for all of us? Is this simply a wayward soul who is being helped back onto the path of righteousness? I nominate this picture of Christ as the worst of all time, at least of those who are trying to be serious and worship and pay homage to God. Simply atrocious, but good for a laugh and a bemused headshake. Poor guy. He tried hard, but ended up making a creepy painting in which Jesus could pass for a vampire. Am I wrong for missing the blunt guilt paintings of Christian yester-year?

(The caption on this picture reads, "If you have done it unto the least of these, ye have done it unto me." Nothing like a good stab of guilt, or heroin.) (As an aside, I have a couple of observations about this painting as well. 1) That junkie has a lot of meat and muscle on him for being a junkie. Also, Christ has quite the gun. 2) Would that injection of the sauce really hurt the Post-Resurrection Son of God? He has a glorified and perfect body by the 20th century. That needle isn't going to phase the Creator of heaven and earth. 3) Dude, a skull? 4) Are those nun chucks on the door? 5) There are many others, but haven't we dissected enough cheese ball paintings for one day, month, and year?)

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