Friday, March 23, 2012


About a month ago, as I was driving along a Georgia road after a day of work, my mind was fixated on the vehicle in front of me. All of its parts, the tires, the bumper, the muffler, the glass, the radio were all produced then combined together to create that vehicle. All complex things that we take for granted but nevertheless, a very amazing feat in human ingenuity was driving there right in front of me. Indeed, it’s something we see every day but only came about within the last 150 years. What I realized is that every component of that vehicle no matter how complex in design or process, whether man made or natural, came from the Earth.

If that is the case, then technically, everything that was ever made, or will be made, manufactured, created or engineered was already here, throughout all of history. It was a matter of digging the resources out of the ground, processing them, applying them, combining them, using research and development to merge them into a useful thing. The same resources were there 4000 years ago as they are today. In this way, all things ever made and will be made or could be made are already able to be here today. The elements that bring them into being are knowledge, understanding, work, and creativity. There is a mind behind all that.

Which brings this verse to mind in Ecclesiastes 1:9, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”

There is also a spiritual parallel to this. Jesus said he would send us his Holy Spirit. The Spirit is a resource that is always available. The Apostle Paul says in Galatians 5:16, “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” What I want to point out is he says to “walk in the Spirit” as if you are already able to; the resources are already there. Later he talks about the fruit of the Spirit as, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.” It’s not forced on you it is a resource, a walk, a way of life that you have the power to choose. If you want patience, ask for patience and walk in it because it is readily available.

I have a friend who had a conversation with an acquaintance who said, “I have to try to be a good father” but my friend did not reply with, “well, I’m sure if you try hard enough it will happen.” Instead she responded with, “if the desire is there you will know exactly how to be a good father, there is no trying, it’s just BEING a good father.” She blew my mind with that because I had somewhere in the back of my head resigned to think it had more to do with luck in the cosmic lottery how well you did in life.

The resources are there and have always been. What it comes down to is recognizing where to get those resources and choose to dig them out of the ground, process them, refine them and apply them.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Reality in a Higher Dimension?

Have you ever wondered if there was a reality greater than the one you experience everyday? Have you ever allowed your mind to dwell on infinity to the point that your head hurts and then instead of giving up, due to the feeling that you will never understand it or picture it in terms you can relate to, continue to let your mind explore the those thoughts further? One thing that is interesting me lately is the dimensions of time and space or as physicists cal it space-time. It is theorized that there may be as many as 10 dimensions most of which we have yet to detect other than length, width, depth and time (side note: some physicists have theorized that time is not only linear, that is, moving forward. but also moves up and down since it is relative to where you are in space and how fast you are moving). I don't want to get technical, well honestly, I never took a course in physics but understand basic concepts of it beyond Newtonian physics. The reason I am even writing about this is to try to better understand the world in which we all live, to make sense of it and hopefully become better people because of our better understanding.

Leaving time aside, what does a four dimensional object look like to us who are three dimensional (I'm speaking only in terms of space)/ One illustration I've heard a few times but more recently from Rob Bell, a pastor who himself tries to point out God to people who otherwise would not make so called spiritual associations with natural things. He said something to the effect of, and this is not verbatim so forgive me if it's not totally accurate, "imagine you lived in a one dimensional world. To you your world would look like a line. Now imagine a circle, which is two dimensional decided to come visit your world. As it approached it will first appear as a dot which would soon become a short line which would appear to grow longer then as it was fully grown to its full diameter would start to shrink to a smaller line then back to a dot then disappear. To you and your friends that is how it would look. But suppose you were inclined to say, 'I think that was a circle that come to visit us. I have no proof other than what we saw but something in my heart tells me there was more to it, that it wasn't just a line.' His friends would think he was crazy because they all saw the same thing." What it comes down to is perception. Is "what you see is what you get" always true?


Here is a link to a game that illustrates this concept very well and it's really fun too:

I thought about this a while and wondered what a cube, a three dimensional object would look like in a two dimensional world with the same type of illustration. Imagine in our two dimensional world we looked up in the "sky" and suddenly there appeared to be a square which came out of nowhere. Depending on how long it took the 3 dimensional cube to move through our world would determine the duration of us being able to view it. The cube will only look like a square that appears, stays for a period of time, then disappears. The cube existed before it approached our world as it moved in it's own three dimensional world and always remained a cube throughout its passing through our two dimensional world and then continued in its own 3D world even after disappearing in the 2D world.

What does that mean for us then who live in a 3D world? What is a 4D object or person passed through our world. Did it exist in it's own 4D world before coming to our 3D world? We only recognized it as a 3D object that had a beginning, a "life" or duration, then disappearance or "death". It makes you wonder if there really is a higher reality.

Friday, May 20, 2011

What Does Time Look Like to God?

I've sort of pondered that question from time to time and especially lately given the Harold Camping thing about tomorrow being "Judgement Day." I personally don't believe that and think any prediction of the end will invalidate it only by what the Bible says regarding that, "no man know the day or the hour of Christ's return." Many times throughout the years I have heard people claim that, "to God a thousand years is like a day" as stated in Psalm 90:4 and reiterated in 2 Peter 3:8. Here I think we make an assumption that is not really there. It says "it is like" not plainly that "it is." I don't believe that statement was meant to be taken as an accurate scale like a year on Earth is 365 days but a year on Mercury is 88 days, so therefore, a year on Earth is like 4 years on Mercury. I think it was meant to be more of a metaphor to explain that time really has very little or no meaning to God. Yesterday and tomorrow and four thousand years from now are all viewable to God at one time. Here's more on why I feel that way.

I was curious about the "Book of Life" mentioned a few times in the Bible since the whole idea of Judgement Day has become so prevalent in recent days. There are two verses in Revelation, that, for some reason, which I was not even looking for, mention a specific time along with the "Book of Life." Revelation 17:8 says, "The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and yet will come up out of the Abyss and go to its destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because it once was, now is not, and yet will come." What I want to point out is that statement is spoken to John, the writer of Revelation from a Heavenly being who I believe dwells outside of linear time however John, like the rest of us live in such a place that time is linear. This is why I think he speaks about the Beast in the context of human time (was, is not, will come). The thing that caught my eye was he says that there are those who's names have not been written in the Book of Life from the creation of the world. One would then assume that those whose names are written in this book have had there names in it since the dawn of time, or at least human time.

In Romans 8:29 Paul writes, "For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters." God, seeing all of human time all at one instant knew from the creation of the world, those who would freely accept him. But I'm not trying to argue Predestination verses Free Will my point is that all time is right now to God. Again, in Revelation 13:8 it says, "All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world." The last part of that statement is very insightful. We know Christ wasn't crucified on the first day of creation, at least not as far as linear time goes but to God it was as if it was from the dawn of time.

A strange way of looking at it is if you had a thin glass rod held out in front of you lengthwise so that you could see it was, say 5 feet long, you could look at that rod as a timeline of human history. Now, imagine you could turn that rod so that one end of it faces you. Imagine you could look down the rod all the way to the other end. In viewing it this way, all of time is technically all at one point because you can view through the entire length of the rod without moving your eye left or right. It is all right there. I think this is how God relates to time. We as humans, however; view time in terms of days, weeks, months and so on but God sees it all as now. So is a thousand man years literally equal to one day to God? I highly doubt it.

Glass image courtesy of ~love-hand-in-hand on

Friday, August 20, 2010

Heaven and Hell

Recently, Bravo had a show on their schedule called "Work of Art," which was a reality show for artists. I took interest in this show because, being an artist, I find it challenging to illustrate emotions and ideas that are hard to convey in words. One of the tasks the contestants had to illustrate was "Heaven and Hell" in an episode about contrast. After watching the episode, I found it interesting that the artists who had this particular challenge had received the critique that their work was "cliche". Many times we artists fall into a trap of trying to make a work of art that is recognizable to the point where we unintentionally make things that don't provoke thought, but meet the viewers expectations, leaving the viewer with nothing to think about.

I thought hard about that particular episode. How could I illustrate "Heaven and Hell" without creating a work that was just "light and darkness", "joy and pain", "fire and ice". To add to this desire, a few months ago, Tia and I went to a religious conference in North Carolina where one of the points of emphasis was "the arts in the church". They stressed the importance of art and music as an influence in the church. I found it funny that in history, theology influences art and vise versa. How many times when we think about a topic or subject have an image of that thing in mind? This encouraged me to use my art in ways I usually don't.

Here is the product of my brainstorming on the subject of "Heaven and Hell". I wanted to do a traditional piece, since recently I've been spending a lot of time doing photo manipulation via a computer. I thought about, not so much, how to paint the "places" of Heaven and Hell but what is the mindset or direction of those destinies. Jesus' parable of the "sheep and the goats" has taken on a new life to me in the last few years. He makes the distinction between those who feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and so forth and those who neglect the needs of others. He makes the point that the sheep are gathered into his father's house and the goats are cast out (through similar parables). I wanted to convey the idea that it was the actions of a man in this regard that set him on the path to one place or the other. Also, I found it important to make this have it's anchor in the physical world. Many times in life I've heard people say that this parable was spiritual and not physical. I'd have to argue with that because Jesus himself fed the hungry even before he spoke one word of truth. In this way people were more receptive to his message because if their physical need was met by him, so perhaps he could fill their spiritual need as well.

Also, the light and the darkness coming from the doors had the same intensity as it reached the man showing how both Heaven and Hell were not far off but met the man where he was and it was up to him to walk toward one of those doors. There is a thin sliver of red above his head between the light and darkness illustrating that what separates the two is the blood of Jesus. As you look at the hand on the left coming out of the ground, it is holding an apple and has a venomous snake wrapped around it's wrist harking back to the "Garden of Eden" marking the start of human history and the vanishing point of the painting (the doors) is the end of the man's life. The hand on the right is rejected by the man. The wrist of the neglected hand is pierced, illustrating what Jesus said, "if you have not done it to the least of my brethren you have not done it unto me". The chain represents the hold the mentality of the world has on the man as he clenches his hand for his own self sustainment.

I hope you enjoy this painting. Feedback appreciated!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Preserving the Mystery

So many times in life we are faced with information or a situation or a question in which we meet a wall that keeps us from seeing beyond what lies in front of us. At that wall we make a decision to either find a door that takes us to the other side of the wall or just stop and admire the beauty of the wall and the art that decorates it.

This wall represents "mystery." We can be satisfied with what the mystery presents itself as or press on to understand the mystery. What I've come to find out many times is that once the mystery is solved the "art on the wall" is no longer appreciated. Did you ever hear a song you like where you couldn't make out some of the lyrics? The song remains interesting to you because it's always a mystery as to what those particular words are. A few times I've searched out the lyrics in some of these types of songs and soon lose interest in the song.

I sort of wonder why small children enjoy the packaging to a toy more than the toy that's inside. Is it that the box represents all the wonder of what could be inside and then we are disappointed with the answer because it was never able to satisfy us in the first place?

What I'm trying to point out here is that there is beauty in mystery. Sometimes things should be left uncovered. I think this is why God only reveals some truths to us yet masks many others. Perhaps it is a mechanism to draw us to him. Isn't a relationship much more exciting when there are still things to learn about the other person? Once you've revealed all there is to know about them it kills the mystery. Yes, you can still love someone once you've gotten to know everything about them but the relationship becomes a cruise as opposed to a climb. Also, if you've ever watched one of those shows where they reveal magician's secrets you lose interest in those tricks and illusions.

Let's preserve mystery where we can so that life and God and all things can remain interesting.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Faith Over Fear

A few days ago I was driving along the highway in Northeast Georgia and took notice of the brightly colored flowers that were growing in the median. As I only had a few seconds to just glance over to see them I noticed that there were at least 3 or more different species of flower that was growing of all different colors and structures. I thought about how seeds and cells of animals all know exactly what to become: what there shape is, texture, color, scent or in an animals case, how many legs it will have, fur or hair, skin or scales. Needless to say, I was amazed at how these little seed or cells are barely anything yet they have all they need to become something specific.

As I pondered these things, I indirectly asked God how that's even possible. Just then, as I inhaled, I felt as though a small amount of air in addition to what I was taking in was blown into my lungs through my nose. It was slight but noticeable. So noticeable that I was freaked out a little by it.

I continued driving and stopped for a bite to eat a few minutes later. As I sat in the parking lot I was still left with the impression as to what had just happened a few minutes earlier. Then in that little voice you "hear" when you know God is speaking to you, (some of you know what I mean) God said, "they know what to do because I breathe my life into them."

The whole experience felt very real. It felt as though I had met God on a plane or dimension that we normally never(or rarely) see or experience. A confirmation of what Paul says in Romans 1:20 "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." It was clear to me that God's breath is in all living things and I was thankful that He showed me in such a powerfully subtle way, but I missed that experience I had which seemed like a live encounter with God and wondered if I would ever have that again.

So, last night I spoke to an old friend about it on Facebook. He shared a similar experience with me. He said that he felt this heat wash over his body and what he believed to be God, just as I did, say to relax and let it happen. He said he felt like he got healed of something but didn't know what. I found that very fascinating.

I told him that it upset me how I freaked out and the experience went away. Another example of this that I gave was when I think about eternity or infinity or space and my mind seems to leave the walls of time and space and drifts into places that seem so far from the natural world I am accustomed to. Then I stop because I can not comprehend those things so easily. But I want to go there. I want to know if you can stay in that experience longer and see or know something on a deeper level.

My friend had reminded me of the story of Peter when Jesus asks him to come out of the boat to him as Jesus is standing on the water. Peter steps out and for a brief time is standing on the water. Then he "freaks out" like I did and starts to sink. My question was, "what if we don't freak out but let it happen?" Is not allowing it to rush over us because of fear cause the feeling to go away? I pray that next time it happens I am ready for it because I really want to see where God will take me.

Does this mean that as a Christian I only pursue these kind of experiences? Absolutely not! They serve to make my faith stronger and deeper but I must chose to do what's right each day and continue to learn to love like God does. On the other hand, without these kinds of experiences it makes one's journey with God a little less lively.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Multiplicity is Sideways

So, like I've said before, one of the reasons for this blog is to post art that I enjoy, either viewing or doing. Currently, I am working of two projects. One project is a collection of black and white (or gray scale) paintings of people who inspire me who are agents of change or who I feel are doing the work of God (which I will post shortly). At this point I have completed three paintings and am working on a fourth....slowly, I might add. The other project, or rather inspiration, is the use of color in a rather blatant way. I tend to like earthy colors so I will try to get a little more vivid with the next ones. I've got a few ideas on this but have so far only completed my first. Here is one that I did that I had a lot of fun with. The idea was to take 4 photos of myself and then manipulate them into one. Yeah, I know, nothing new but I was inspired by color and this is one idea that came from it. Enjoy!