Saturday, January 28, 2006

welcome, cain.

image copyright: nellis, 2006


elnellis said...

an intertextual piece: in liue of some theological dialogue i've been involved in lately- i've been reflecting on the biblical narratives that hint towards a communal aspect of soteriology and have also been revisiting one of my favorite david bazan songs: slow and steady wins the race.
i was going to call it "your personal relationship with Jesus" but refrained...

pedro said...

Nice work, phnil. I love your visualization of the parable.

I was just struck again today with the profound perspective of one of the central biblical theological perspectives in my worldview - the remnant. I have been reading a book called Zero about the conceptual and mathematical developmet of the twin concepts of zero and infinty. The author mentions time and again how these twin concepts have always been at the crux of the Western understanding and logical proofs for God. He also mentioned that zero/void was couched in the Genesis creation story. Our world was formed out of a chaotic, formless void that was neither existent nor nonexistent - a terrible and perplexing thought. The worldview of the early biblical figures saw all of existence as being on the perpetual verge of falling back into the chaotic void - into annihilation. However, God pronounced what he had formed out of the void to be very good, and he has always preserved a seed from amid chaos (Noah and the flood; Lot and Sodom/Gomorrah; Abraham and the continuation of his prolific tribe through Isaac). It is as if the seed is carried through destruction solely by the grace and holiness of God (a image inversely related to Edwards' sinner being dangled over the precipice, held by a hair from judgment by a righteous God). Such a remnant came, over time, to be seen as if they were, indeed, refined by the fire and purified by the righteousness of their savior. Such a radical salvatoin demands a radical discipleship to a God who is not only terrible and infinite, but who paradoxically is loving and self giving. God is, at once, 1/0; zero and infinity; a paradoxical singularity of both infinite, limitless, powerful grace and personal, sacrificial, servitude.

It is unfortunate that we do not live as if we were on the verge of falling into self-destruction and annihilation ourselves. It is, again paradoxically, only by giving up our instinct for self-preservation that we are refined by the righteous fire. It is, perhaps, not so much that we will be saved from hell, but that we are daily being saved from hell that makes the grace of God soamazing.

let this understanding, which Christ held, also be held by you: that even though he was God, he did not regard his divinity as something to be hoarded. Rather, he emptied himself and obediently subjected himself death on a cross. Thus God exalted him and elevated him to the highest place for the praise of his name.

and this is love - not the we loved God but that he loved us and sacrificed himself for us.

If God has preserved us from a fate of annihilation, how can we not walk with our brother and hold his hand on this journey?

And just who is our neighbor?

nathan Barrett said...

Pedro and Pete,

Graniose direction. So much to handle. I am always amazed at the amazing things/thoughts that God puts in our hearts and then how they are manifested. Very interesting concepts Pete. I know a friend who would be blown away by that kind of stuff. What's the name of the book? Were there any other thoughts connected to this creative piece Phil, it hasn't caught me yet!

pedro said...

The book is called Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea. It was written by Charles Seife.

Lian said...

Love the work, as usual Phil. Your diversity amazes me.

It is so cool to see the cumulative effects of our inter-blog dialogue. I think a lot of the ideas we've been exchanging has also really had a huge effect on me creatively. Spiritually, too - I have really had a lot of great spiritual conversations about these things.

Anonymous said...

Phil I love to check your site and see the things that you have put up. It always inspires my "arty" side (though I feign to even claim that.) I find it funny that something so superficial like a blog site can have such an impact on our day to day lives. God has thoroughly used various conversations on a few blogs to force me to face myself and my views on relationships. I've discovered many truly ugly things about myself. And though I'd like to blame "Christians" at large, I know that ultimately I am the one I hate. I am the one to leave my brother, my own flesh and blood, out in the cold with no blanket. By avoiding deeper relationships with people I can comfortably meander my way through life. I can avoid those who have hurt me so I won't have to forgive. Forgiveness and an understanding that I can not control anyone but myself are the keys to real relationships. We rant and rail against fake relations with people...I am in the front lines. But I know that I am one of the chief executors of such behaviour.

All that to say...Good shit, Phil.

erika laftass

chris said...

so phil...

when are you going to start writing and illustrating your won childrens books? you could easily do it with pieces like this one.

i really like it a lot!
keep on doin' what you do!

by the way, it was really good to connect with you on the phone a few days ago. thanks for that, it meant much to me!

elnellis said...

hey friends, as always, thanks for the feedback. it is pretty bizzare to have people from around the globe interract with my art literally the day i finish a piece. the world is so small.
i enjoy reading your thoughts and what is evoked for you when you engage with me in this way. usually it's stuff neither of us expected. i continue to be delighted and suprised by what is waiting in the comment sections of the select blogs i read.