Friday, September 25, 2015

Thoughts on The Pope's Visit

Well, it is all the Pope, all the time on TV. Although I am not Catholic, I have been watching a lot of it with interest. In this time when an anti-Christian sentiment is growing in our world, our country, and our universities, I am interested when anyone who has faith in Christ is given respect and an opportunity to speak for Christians and Christian values.

I heard one commentator discuss the Pope's address to the U.N. and label it as cautious and non-confrontational. He must have heard a different speech than I did.

The Pope did speak in a quiet and gentle voice. No shouting, no name calling, no arm waving. Remember that old saying that refers to how people react differently to events depending on "whose ox is gored"? Well, in his soft-spoken, half-hour speech to the U.N., the Pope gored just about everyone's ox. I thought he took no prisoners, in, of course, the most loving and considerate way.

At the conclusion of his speech the Pope asked people to pray for him, no matter what their religious beliefs, and, if they had no faith, to wish him well. This is not an arrogant, "I'm right up there with God," man. He clearly stays very well informed about what's going on in the world, and he has very definite opinions about it. And expresses those opinions with love and gentleness.

I am sure that his speech is probably available online somewhere, if you did not hear it. I would say a hearty "Amen" to most of what he said. The pity is that most of the hearts that need to hear it most desperately are already so hardened they will pass it by with a sneer.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Another Weird Quote From My Brain

This morning, as I was on the edge of waking up, I heard two dream people (at least I hope they were dream people!) having the following conversation: "Remember what our metaphysical parents said, "Fire Aces Art every time." (And, yes, those caps were clearly in that sentence.) Now I do not know what a metaphysical parent is, but I can think of a lot of directions that remark about Fire and Art could go.
Fire could be considered as a source of light and heat, the first source of control over those factors that humans had. Without fire, heat and light had to come from the sun, moon, and stars. Although humans have always had that inborn creative urge to make things of beauty, or just to make art as a way to record the facts of their lives and history, light and heat are essential for basic survival. To be able to control or create a source of heat and light whenever and wherever it is wanted or needed, does ace art.
The other, vastly different, interpretation of that statement could be that of fire as the great destroyer. Fire burns where there is fuel. It does not matter whether that fuel is a carefully constructed campfire, a forest, dry prairie grass, a house, or a piece of priceless art. It is all just fuel for the flames, and Fire Aces Art.
From there one could philosophize about the impermanent nature of the works of man. Many sermons have been preached about this. Jesus said in

Matthew 6:19-20New American Standard Bible (NASB):

19 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal...."
In the treacherous world of today's Middle East, Muslim groups bent on world domination have blown up (another form of fire) ancient archaeological  artistic treasures, because they picture the "gods" once worshipped in the far distant past. These are no longer objects of worship, but elements of history. This wanton destruction makes me sad and angry. But, once again, Fire Aces Art.
The practical uses of fire actually help promote art. I think about those caves where people long ago left drawings of animals and prints of their own hands. These caves are so deep underground that they have no natural light at all. In my imagination, I see some people as torch bearers who make it possible for the artists to decorate these lightless rooms. These artistic remains are absolutely priceless links to our ancient ancestors. Without fire, they could not have been created in the pitch black of the caves. Without the deep caves, these art works would not have survived the millennia.
In today's world, good lighting of many types is priceless to artists. And painting light and shadow is one of the great artistic talents.
Fire may ace art. Fire, in all its many forms, can aid art. I would hate to live in a world or society that lacked either of these.
Fire a necessity for quality of life. Art a necessity for quality of life. I want both.
I snapped photos of some of the art on my cave walls:
This is a painting by my sister Grace Baker.
These pictures are from my granddaughter, Megan, starting about age six. She still draws constantly, and I need to talk her into giving me a new, frame-worthy work.
These paintings were all done by my mother-in-law, Emma Russell Wales. Sorry that it is not a very good photo.
This watercolor is by my brother-in-law, Lyle Stewart. I did not notice until I had the photo on the computer that I created an inset reflection of myself taking the picture. I am to lazy to redo the photo!