Lose Your Religion

What images flood your mind from reading the title of this entry? Freedom? Anarchy? R.E.M.? I am exploring new artistic territory by creating an interactive piece based on a series idea “Losing My Religion”.

Hearing the series title immediately conjured up images of Michael Stipe’s bowed head and a dark room with a figure crouched in a fetal position. After jotting down those images, I returned to the title and ask myself the question, “What does losing one’s religion look like?” That’s when the answer hit me; it is a process. Letting go of something ingrained into your psyche is a process of emotional surgery. Religion is much deeper because it entails visible actions and, for some, certain vocalized beliefs. It’s much more complicated than turning a switch on an off. This revelation of letting go being a process led me to create this piece in such a way that viewing it is a process.

As the viewer, you must work your way through four stages before viewing the final image of this piece. Each stage carries with it a unique message and break another link in the chain of religious bondage. The process of taking in this creation is a process of breaking links in the chains of religious bondage, the art holding your hand and walking beside you every step of the way.

Religion – When first approaching the piece, the image represents religion. It is not indicative of any specific religion, I am representing religion in general. The piece extrudes itself from the wall where it hangs as if it is reaching out to each passer-by, craving their attention. Once a viewer’s attention is capture, they see the shadow box wall hanging is very closed. Two wooden panels are the first attributes than grasp the eye’s attention. Each made of rough OSB plywood, camouflaged to match the smooth rails that frame in the piece using the same dark wood stain. These two panels embrace a heavy curtain, protecting it from tampering hands and minds. The curtain stands stoically protecting the internal image, much like religion covers the heart of faith and conceals the mission of the church.

Stop – The panel on the bottom left is a stop sign. Below the stop sign; no left turn, no right turn, do not move back, do not move forward. Religion gridlocks souls in constant fear by setting strict rules and standards of thought and behavior.

Good Luck – 

The world is a smorgasbord of religious dogmas. If someone does feel the need to adopt religion, how  do they know which one to pick? Practice each one, then pick your favorite? Set up an interview for religious recruiters and go with the most convincing pitch? One characteristic practically every religion shares is knowing for a fact they are the right one. Go here, do that, not this……..good luck.

I Am The Way

Turning over the ‘Stop’ panel exposes the words ‘I AM THE WAY’, the starting phrase of  John 14:6. Thomas, one of Jesus’s disciples known for his insecurity, was quite disturbed when Jesus foretold his impending death. Jesus stated he was going to prepare a place for his disciples, a place they already knew how to reach. Thomas reacts by asking, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answers “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

Follow Me – 

Luke 9:23 If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me daily. In the fog of rules and directions bombarding us from every direction, Jesus clears a path by this one statement; follow me.

 

 

 

 

 

It is Finished – 

With his dying breath on the cross, Jesus uttered a phrase that concluded his ministry (and his life) as a resident of earth; tetelestai (John 19:30). This Greek word was commonly used to close business deals and settle legal matters as a statement of completion. Translated into English, this word means “it is finished”.

As the apostles recount the events of Christ’s death, the moment Jesus breathed his last several significant events occurred. Darkness overtakes the skies from noon until three (Matthew 27:45, Mark 15:33, Luke 23:44), an earthquake struck (Matthew 27:51), tombs opened and their occupiers rose to life (Matthew 27:52), the curtain in the temple which separated the people from the Holy of Holies (Matthew 27:51, Mark 15:38, Luke 23:45). Up to this moment,  only the High Priest could pass behind the curtain and converse with God on the people’s behalf. The tearing of the curtain carved the path for each individual to freely embrace God for themselves.

At this point of the piece, the viewer is free to pull back the torn curtain and expose the image behind. The focal point is the bowed head of our deceased Messiah, one final tear glistening as it slides down his lifeless nose.

Above Christ’s head, written in Greek, is ‘tetelestai’. I used gold leaf to create these letters to symbolize the value of this statement, it is finished.

You Are Free –

That’s me in the corner
That’s me in the spotlight
Losing my religion
Trying to keep up with you
And I don’t know if I can do it
Oh no I’ve said too much
I haven’t said enough

Below his chin is a phrase written specifically to help you as the viewer understand the impact tetelestai, ‘YOU ARE FREE’. These letters are dark crimson, symbolizing the blood shed for their inception. The phrase is placed below Christ’s chin to imply they are Christ-breathed and located at the bottom of the page, where your eye comes to rest after absorbing the full image.

YOU ARE FREE

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Lose Your Religion

  1. I like this interactive art you are creating. I think I most identify with the stop sign. When I first read the title, I immediately thought about shrugging off the “rules and regulations” that are conditions of faith. In fact, I was recently thinking about this very subject the other day as I drove to work. Too often religion is seen as a set of dos and don’ts. However, those who practice a faith are striving for something, so these “rules” are not thought of as restrictive, but beneficial to achieve the goal.

    Now, Christianity is different from the rest, as you say. Unfortunately, we are prideful beings, so we don’t like to admit we need help. Ironically, the help has already been given. Jesus’ death and resurrection provided the path to achieve the goal: eternity with our Creator. We just have to admit we need this help.

    As for the “thou shalt nots” of Christianity, I offer this suggestion: Think of someone you love deeply, passionately, regardless of the circumstance. Now, would you want to do anything to hurt this person’s feelings or potentially hurt your relationship with this individual? Of course not. It’s the same way with God. For those who claim Christianity promotes misogyny and slavery and endorses hatred of homosexuals, I urge you to look closer. You cannot single out a verse or two and make an argument. And, as Plasso states above, “Good luck.”

    Like

    • Excellent thoughts, Jason. Thank you for sharing!

      My observations throughout my lifetime in church communities brings me to the same conclusion every time; religious Christians are all deceived into believing the ultimate objective of their faith is to turn themselves into God (on some subconscious level). No one holding this dogma will admit to it, doing so would be blasphemous. Their actions, the fruit that separates the believer from the Pharisee, reveals their heart. Our responsibility is to live as an example of Christ; it’s the Holy Spirit’s job to convict people, God’s job to save them. The question we must continually ask is, who’s role am I trying to fill?

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s