Tuesday, March 02, 2010

New paintings honor gay martyrs

The Murder of Matthew Shepard by Matthew Wettlaufer
Oil on canvas, 2006. 1-1/2 meters x 1 meter.

The Murder of Allen Schindler by Matthew Wettlaufer
Oil on canvas, 2006. 2 meters x 1-1/2 meters.

Men killed in gay-bashing murders are honored in powerful new paintings by gay artist-philosopher Matthew Wettlaufer.

He painted Matthew Shepard (1976-98), a university student who was killed in Wyoming, and Allen Schindler (1969-92), a naval officer who was killed by two of his shipmates in Japan. Both were brutally beaten to death for being gay.

Wettlaufer makes connections between the anti-gay hate crimes, other human-rights struggles and his own art in the following interview with Kittredge Cherry, founder of JesusInLove.org and author of “Art That Dares.”

Born and raised in America, Wettlaufer lived in El Salvador and South Africa before returning recently to California. He has a doctorate of philosophy from Germany’s Kassel University and moved to Capetown to teach philosophy at the University of Stellenbosch. He paints a variety of subjects, but his large political landscapes focus on issues of homophobia and political violence.

It is especially appropriate to reflect on gay martyrdom now during the season of Lent, when the suffering and death of Christ are remembered. In the following interview, Wettlaufer is especially eloquent at discussing the meaning of his art because he is a philosopher as well as an artist.

KC: You have a doctorate in philosophy and taught philosophy at the university level. That's unusual for an artist. So I am going to ask you some about the philosophy behind your art. Why did you decide to paint the difficult subject of the gay-bashing murders of Allen Schindler and Matthew Shepard?

MW: I was strongly affected by their murders, it was one of the reasons why I found myself leaving the United States, because of the entrenched homophobia in society which served as a foundation for these acts of brutality. In 2006 I saw the film Brokeback Mountain and it reawoke all these feelings of anguish and pain that I had managed to put aside after moving to South Africa. I walked around in a daze for a week. Then I painted the Matthew Shepard painting, which was my first political narrative. I was actually embarrassed about showing it to anyone, it was too personal and too private, but over time I grew out of that reticence as I started to get feedback from people about it.

I m not sure if this is related but I was at the March on Washington in 1993 and I saw Allen Schindler's mother address the crowds on the Washington Mall. I knew his story already because of an article I had read that described the events leading up to his murder and the murder itself, which the Navy initially tried to cover up. Hearing his mother speak brought me to tears.

All my life I have sought ways of recording the memory of people martyred under conditions of oppression, by working in El Salvador during the 1990s in health care, by teaching philosophy (critical theory) in El Salvador at the University in San Salvador, by activism in the gay community. Painting these people made sense to me as a way of creating an archive of what their deaths meant, so that they never be forgotten. It was in some ways easier to paint Salvadoran subjects as I am not Salvadoran, it was much harder to bring myself to paint gay subjects, especially the subjects of Shepard and Schindler, as this was so close to home and so personal.

KC: What did you experience during the process of painting these terrifying scenes of anti-gay violence? Maybe you felt fear or liberation or a connection with the past?

MW: I cried. I felt angry and exhausted. But mostly I was in tears. I hope that doesn't sound self-indulgent! I also felt a frustration at "not getting it right"--not really capturing what their deaths meant to me--but I think that must be the problem with all art--it never seems to "get" it--only an approximation. Still what I had in my mind was what I actually painted--I always have the picture formed in my mind before I paint, and it usually comes out the way I imagined it beforehand. But capturing the feeling of their loss is much harder to achieve.

KC: Matthew and Allen are sometimes considered to be gay martyrs or gay saints because they were killed for refusing to deny their own (God-given) sexual identity. What spiritual meaning, if any, do you see in their lives and deaths?

MW: As I had wanted to be a priest when I was a teenager, before I realized I was gay, I would not be surprised if spiritual elements enter into the way the paintings connect with a viewer. The cross-like character of the Shepard piece for example is completely intentional. He and Schindler were martyrs, and martyrdom has a spiritual level to it. Some of the strongest influences on me growing up were people who had been martyred for civil and human rights--Martin Luther King J., Robert Kennedy, Medgar Evers, Salvador Allende, Oscar Romero, and Jean Donovan (one of the four US Churchwomen killed in El Salvador).

KC: You described yourself as a "lapsed Catholic." What is your own spiritual journey?

MW: I joined the Church when I was 12. Before that I grew up in a small mountain town in Southern California--I was very fortunate to be around wilderness, mountains, streams--and to be able to hike and to escape into the wilds. I had I guess a pantheistic feeling about spirituality, an intimate connection with life around me. But when I turned 12 I felt I needed to exchange this vague experience for something more structured and organized, so I went to the Catholic Church. Part of the reason for that was seeing the events happening on television in El Salvador during the late 1970s. Oscar Romero's courage in standing up for the rights of the poor and persecuted made a strong impact on me.

I joined the Church though right at the time when things in our parish changed and we had our gay priest replaced with a straight and very rightwing one. I began to clash with him and with catechist classes over the issue of being gay. I went ahead and was confirmed but our priest told me that as I was gay I was psychologically ill and should seek aversion therapy to "cure" myself. I left the Church.

As a young adult I found myself in a 12 step program and it was there that I was able to reclaim much of my earliest feelings around spirituality. I draw on those when I paint. I don't know if I believe in a God--but I believe in a higher power--the universe in its massive incomprehensible vastness inspires me with respect and humility. I study currents in contemporary physics to educate myself more on these matters. I am also impressed with liberation theology, with buddhism and with the essence of what Christ taught, about unconditional love of others and about compassion and forgiveness.

KC: Are you an openly gay man? (If not, it's OK, I'll omit this question when I post the interview.) If yes, how does your sexual orientation affect your art? Do you have any other paintings on gay themes?

MW: I am openly gay :) I think it affects my art in the sense that I see things from the outside looking in. I have a few paintings that touch on gay topics--one of a man next to another man's hospital bed--an AIDS pieta. Also one of two soldiers sleeping with their arms around each other. And one of the two soldiers in the cage--it is titled “There's No Place for Us.” (All three are pictured below.)  It has been hard for me to paint "happy" or optimistic pictures dealing with gay subjects, but perhaps that will change with time. Ultimately I would like to create images that are hopeful and life-affirming with all the power and emotion that I have felt in making my martyrdom paintings.

KC: You've lived all over the world -- El Salvador, South Africa, United States. What have you learned about art, spirituality and gay/lesbian issues from your experiences living in such different cultures?

MW: Some places I have lived were more accepting of gay people than other places--at least on the surface and in terms of legal rights. In some places I found that people have an almost physical reaction to art which speaks to them, a strong and passionate accord with visual imagery. It hasn't been my experience that the most tolerant societies are also the most passionate artistically; in South Africa I found a rather lukewarm reception to my work (and to political or social work in general) in the art community--equally lukewarm was the South African reception of abstract and expressionist pieces by some of my teachers, attitudes which mystified me. Yet on the other hand the legal standing of gay people in that country is well ahead of most western countries. In Latin America on the other hand I find a more intense reaction to my work (and to the political painting of other people) yet my experience of El Salvador is that it is a deeply homophobic society but that there are growing pockets of inclusion and acceptance, especially in the cities. It is a struggle still.

For more info on Matthew Wettlaufer, visit www.capegallery.co.za or contact him directly at tahquitzpeakartist@gmail.com.

Pieta by Matthew Wettlaufer
Oil on canvas, 2007. 36 x 56 cm.

Two Soldiers on a Train by Matthew Wettlaufer
Oil on canvas, 2008. 32 x 44 cm.

There’s No Place For Us by Matthew Wettlaufer
Oil on canvas, 2007. 1 meter x 1 meter.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this passionate and pertinent interview. The artwork is painfully important and rendered by a person who should be confident in his craft.

Anonymous said...

For every Matthew Shepherd there are a thousand who die before their time because of active homosexuality being promoted by false disciples of Christ.

Anonymous said...

Who's is calling whom false?

Anonymous said...

The same people who were witch burners? Same old same old.

Kittredge Cherry said...

Thank you for all the comments on Matt Wettlaufer’s art, both the praise and the critique. I felt a chill when I read the one that says, “For every Matthew Shepherd there are a thousand who die before their time…” It’s true that many more gay men are dying young due to AIDS, suicide, and other hazards of living in a homophobic society. It’s not because of “false” gay-positive Christian teachings, but because of society’s homophobia, which is often masked by fundamentalist Christian rhetoric.

I must add that these images seem more scary to me now that I have posted them all together. I was looking at them one at a time when I worked on this post.

This scripture comes to mind: “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

eric said...

Once again, Kitt, you have done it. The pictures in this post are viscerally haunting, providing no room for nuance of feeling. They depict so well the hatred of homophobic elements of society.

To the anonymous writer who took advantage of this post to comment about false disciples, I would suggest that you have your statement wrong.

For every Matthew Shepherd there are, indeed, a thousand who die before their time because of the active and virulent homophobia and hatred being promoted by false disciples of Christ... such as yourself.

Anonymous said...

If you calculate the number of gays in the world and recognize how many die before their time, then it equals every year the number of Jews who died in the Holocaust. How can you in good conscience encourage people to do this to one another -- and then pat yourself on the back for your lack of homophobia?

Trudie said...

The comments of Anonymous totally confuse and disturb me. First of all, of course, I'm not fond of the idea of a person refusing to acknowledge opinions by sharing their own name and identity.

Second, where exactly is this person coming from? Does he/she believe that people "die before their time" because of their own actions and choices rather than because of the inevitable results of the circumstances of our lives on this planet? Certainly in some situations this is true, but in many more, it is NOT.

Obviously, I totally disagree with the assertions of people like Pat Robertson who see the "cause" of every disaster as some sort of punishment by God -- his comments on the Haitian earthquake being the result of the people there following Voodoo certainly take the cake. It is in fact that sort of "vengeance oriented preaching" that has led to most of the gay bashing that occurs in our world, and one could point to similar attitudes in historical Christianity that set the scene for the Nazi Holocaust as well.

I would hope that this discussion settles down to a more rational perspective on the need for powerful and truthful work like Matthew's to keep us focused on the reality that Jesus is assaulted each and every time one of "the least of these" is attacked. This is a valuable message for Lent -- or anytime!

Anonymous said...

Who's talking about punishment by God? If you run a stop light enough times you're going to get hit and there's no point in relating that to punishment by God. If you engage in any other kind of risky behavior, you're more likely to die before your time than people who don't engage in that behavior. If you encourage people to do that, then you DESERVE punishment by God, and that includes Jesus. As for Trudie being "not fond of the idea of a person refusing to acknowledge opinions by sharing their own name and identity," well, that's probably what all this comes down to for Trudie and a lot of others -- what they're fond of and not fond of as opposed to what is real.

Turtle woman said...

I think anoymous makes the mistake of thinking gay = male. There is no correlation from lesbian life and culture and gay male culture.
So all this god's punishment nonsense is about men attacking other men, just as straight men do all the gay bashing. It is male on male violence. Lesbians are not reported on.

Anonymous said...

I'm not talking about attacks but about sex.

Trudie said...

Let me be clear and specific. Gay Bashing results from fear -- the fear that the heterosexual community has that somehow they are threatened by homosexuality. That's what the term "homophobia" means. It has many forms, obviously, the most terrifying being that manifest by supposedly straight, super-macho type men, claiming that God supports their prejudice.

Turtle woman, sorry, but lesbians are not immune -- I know personally a woman from South Africa who was repeatedly raped because her relatives thought that would be a way to "turn her straight"! This of course is over and above the sexual abuse ALL woman are subject to in many cultures.

All of us indulge in "risky behavior", the most common type being getting behind the wheel of an automobile, especially when we are in any way impaired. And yes, Anonymous, if you run a traffic light or stop sign, you will be very fortunate if you're only "punished" by the law, and don't have a fatal crash. However, I abhor what is apparently your basic premise, as best as I've been able to figure it out, that "sex is risky". So is eating, if you overdo it, or breathing, if the air in your vicinity is polluted, or drinking water, if it's contaminated. Regretfully, eating, breathing and drinking water are essential for our physical survival, and healthy sexual interaction is vital to relationships. The issue is not to condemn a particular "style" but to understand that all actions need to be informed by Love.

pennyjane hanson said...

anonymous: fred phelps in a suit.

thank you trudie. i've been trying to figure a way to respond to this homophobic with a clean tongue and a loving heart.

sometimes i think that love might be THE riskiest business we humans involve ourselves with. maybe that old cliche has meaning here, "the greater the risk, the greater the reward."

but...we couldn't help ourselves if we tried...all humans want love and lots of it. among our homophobic brothers and sisters in destitute africa heterosexually expressed love (sex) is quite risky indeed...our friend, anonymous, doesn't seem to care much for those folk, it's us homosexuals that tear at his heartstrings...perhaps we should be flattered.

homophobia is like porn in the court, you know it when you see it no matter how you dress it up.

it's the meaning of this art that our friend seems to miss. it's about love and compassion, not anger and bitterness. i didn't empathize one iota of anything from these drawings but just that...love and compassion. not judgement, not anger, no bitterness, no self-pity...just love...just feeling for another human being...it makes me feel, feel love...love for us.

"who can know the mind of God, who can give Him advice?"

much love and hope. pj

Anonymous said...

Love and compassion. I agree. But if my little daughter keeps running into the street where there's traffic, then my love and compassion might be the "harsh and dreadful love" spoken of by Dostoyevsky. As for this homophobia thing, well, I don't think I have it, but on the other hand what difference would it make what my feelings are? What I'm referring to is the objective reality of gays who are suffering and dying at appalling rates.

eric said...

"If you calculate the number of gays in the world and recognize how many die before their time, then it equals every year the number of Jews who died in the Holocaust."

So, you're saying that over 6 million gays die every year in the world. Where do you get this number? What is the source of your statistics? It would seem you are pulling them out of your... nether regions.

This claim is ludicrous. But, I'm sure you are prepared to back it up?

Anonymous said...

Let's say there are six million American gays dying at the usual American death rate of .8%, and so 48,000 are dying each year. According to the official Danish statistical agency, 80% of married gays do not reach old age, and if that applies to the U.S., then 38,400 American gays are dying young each year. So then extrapolate that over the world in general.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to say what death rates there are for lesbians, because very little scientific research is done on purely lesbian health issues. Over 3000 studies in CA for gay men, about 2 studies of lesbians. I don't think we have many facts about the life of lesbians because homophobia and sexism erases women all the time.
What I do know for a fact, is that some men actually gay bashed other men, and then came out as gay themselves. Michelangelo Signorelle admitted this in the movie "Outrage." An MCC man in CA admitted this as well. He gay bashed men because of his internalized self-hatred.
I believe that gay men are actually more a danger to each other a lot of times, then they are IN danger from the world at large. I believe women, whether they are lesbian or straight are in great danger from men worldwide, and that male crimes against women are the attrocities across time and culture. Again, women are oppressed, killed and raped AS WOMEN, and if you look at countries in war time, women are in danger of being raped by the man next door, the uncle, the father etc.
People use all kinds of justifications for attrocities, but they all have a patriarchal basis. Try telling men NOT to do things. So men can start telling the truth about what they actually do to each other in the world, and they can start objecting to things men do to women. When we see a men's civil rights movement of outrage against other male oppressors of women, then we'll have something new in the world.
Documenting all hate crimes, and all religious abuse of people worldwide is always a challenge. Every time I hear the word HE and GOD in the same sentence, I think, this is the very origins of the opprssion and negation of women. And everytime I see the assumption that God is a straight man, we see gay men getting killed and the killers actually admitting to religious based "god condemns" language as their feeble excuse.
The end result, the brutal rape of women, the destruction of gay men, the self-hatred of gay men and lesbians that also leads to early deaths. You can also look at the early deaths of black people in America too. When a culture openly hates you, when men openly joke about beating their wives (I just heard a man joke about this at a business meeting this past week), it is open season.
When we really get at this oppression and terrorism, the war on women, the male war on gay men... well we'll really get somewhere. I don't think real love is dangerous at all, but I do see male dominance as a real danger to all women.

Kittredge Cherry said...

Wettlaufer’s art has sparked a true dialogue between different viewpoints -- that is what is needed to prevent more murders like those of Matthew and Allen. Thank you Trudie, Eric, PJ, Turtle Woman, and Anonymous.

There seems to be more than one Anonymous commenter, which makes it confusing. You can make up a pseudonym when you click “anonymous” so we’ll know which “anonymous” you are.

I disagree with the assumption by Anonymous that gay sex is always risky, or at least riskier than heterosexual sex. A monogamous gay couple using “safer sex” techniques with each other is less taking fewer risks than a promiscuous heterosexual person having unprotected sex with multiple partners. My hope is that more gay men will recover from sex addiction by loving themselves and building a connection with God. May this blog help people on the path to wholeness.

Matthew Wettlaufer said...

Thanks Kittredge for asking me to do an interview with you and for posting my paintings, I felt very honored and glad that some of my work could be shown to a larger audience of people.

I've found the dialogue and conversation interesting but am not sure how it has shifted from a discussion about violence against gays and lesbians to the issue of sexuality. This seems to me to be a shift of focus away from holding society accountable for its treatment of gays and lesbians, to blaming the victim for being a victim of that treatment.

My experience with dealing with the religious rightwing is that openly gay people are a call to a change of heart in them that they cannot bear to make. It would require of them an abandonment of the narrow-minded orthodoxy that leads them to read biblical texts literally. It is also a call to them to give up the fear that generates their religious beliefs. But if society is to mature into a place where we all belong, then that kind of change of heart will have to happen eventually. Otherwise there will be more Matthew Shepards and Allen Schindlers.

Regarding sexuality, I do not believe that gay men are any more suseptible to acting out sexually than straight men or women. I use to believe that gay people were perhaps more suseptible to sexual addiction than other groups of people but I've changed my mind due to what straight people have told me! In fact I think it is one more myth generated by a society that only sees what suits its agenda, as long as we can be characterized in ways that are less than human, the denial of our equality can be justified. But that is still a matter of blaming the victim for the crime, and it needs to stop.

Anyway thank you to the many posters and people who have emailed me about my work, I wish to express my appreciation to them, their encouragement has been heartfelt.

Anonymous said...

This isn't about religious doctrine, being right or left wing, or about acting out. It's about using the body in a way that's offensive to Mother Nature. She doesn't act like a lady when you do that. This thread shows the astonishing ability of people to change the subject.

Kittredge Cherry said...

A special thank-you and welcome to Matthew Wettlaufer for joining the dialogue through the blog comments. It’s a treat to have the artist himself here to discuss his work in more depth! I’m pleased to hear that people are emailing you directly about your art.

I’ve also been thinking about how these comments have wandered from the subject of the original post -- violence against GLBT people and these particular paintings. I’ve noticed that this often happens in the blogosphere, and maybe that’s OK. Is it my role as owner/author of this blog to try to make people stay on the subject? If my post inspires several people to go off on a tangent, maybe that’s part of the fun, part of the enlightenment. The advantage of the Internet is that this type of interaction is possible.

On the other hand, I think gaybashing is a tough topic to discuss directly. (Hence, the need for art.) The murders of Allen and Matthew are indefensible, and the killers were convicted by juries and punished -- though some say not severely enough.

How do we respond to the violence? I’m glad that Matthew turned his emotions into art. Some GLBT people respond to hate with more hate, and that fuels the cycle of violence.

Getting back to the paintings themselves, here’s another question I have about the Matthew Shepard painting: Why do you show Matthew’s attackers as animals? Or maybe they are not animals, but demons.

I assume it’s because they were doing something so terrible that it was sub-human or demonic. I appreciate it as art and emotional honesty. I also wonder if it’s right to dehumanize anyone, even these murderers. I think of Jesus words from the cross, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Kittredge Cherry said...

In a previous blog discussion, I encouraged people not to ignore negative comments, but to address them directly. However, I didn’t mean that the entire discussion needs to get hijacked.

Anonymous said...

Kittkatt said"I disagree with the assumption by Anonymous that gay sex is always risky, or at least riskier than heterosexual sex." The denial about this is bigger than the river in Egypt, and yet the killing in this area compared the the Matthew Shepard kind of killing is like a mountain compared to a molehill.

pennyjane said...

you know what? anonymous, or whoever you are...you've made your point. your alligator tears have flooded nothing. you've been heard, continuing to beat the dead horse is superfluous.

you have your opinion, here it isn't respected, and the more you hammer away at it the more you annoy. so, whatever is your goal, to just annoy or to convey an honest concern...it's over. you've beat it into the ground. it's time now for you to move on, use your time and energy in a more fruitful endeavour.

people are sexual creatures by nature, we...all of us...assume risk in the pursuit of sexual gratification: we all get it. some people will mitigate risk, others won't...your concerns are not a factor. you can bay at the moon 'till the cows come home and you will move no one in that matter.

so, please, act resonsibly now, stop shoving your agenda down the throats of others. if you aren't interested in the relationship between gay art and spirituality you are a fish out of water here. that's what this site is about...not your opinion about human sexuality.

so...Godspeed, may a favorable wind bless your sails as you seek more productive waters.

much love and hope. pj

Anonymous said...

pennjane said: "people are sexual creatures by nature, we...all of us...assume risk in the pursuit of sexual gratification" Hmm. And so let's be encouraging to those who are destroying themselves?

Kittredge Cherry said...

Pennyjane, you put my own thoughts about Anonymous into words. I share your opinion:

“you've made your point. your alligator tears have flooded nothing. you've been heard, continuing to beat the dead horse is superfluous… it's time now for you to move on.”

I especially like this sentence: “if you aren't interested in the relationship between gay art and spirituality you are a fish out of water here.” I’ll have to remember to say that in the future.

Matthew Wettlaufer said...

@ Kitt Thanks Kitt for your comments, you're right that there's no reason why a dialogue shouldn't go off on tangents. But I also agree with you that it is hard to discuss anti-gay and lesbian violence head on. For me it brings up very strong emotions of anger and outrage, and I find I have to detach from these in order to make any sense, something that I am not alays good at!

I think the one poster's constant attempts to shift the focus of this discussion onto the topic of sexuality is strange. It brings up a lot of questions for me about why they are so insistent, if perhaps they don't have issues around their own sexuality that are underscoring this. I've found that people who are comfortable with who they are sexually don't usually have the need to judge the behaviour of others. Whatever is going on there, I wish this person well and hope they can work out their issues, but as Pennyjane has said I think that trying to do it here by saying the same things over and over again isn't going to do them much good. It's like beating a dead horse.

Regarding the demonizing of Matthew Shepard's attackers--I was asked this by someone else who objected to the murderers being animal-like because she said it made the viewer less likely to see them as mirrors to their own dark sides--in other words, it places the murderers safely outside of the realm of a human context letting the viewer "off the hook". I still don't know what I think of that argument. I painted them the only way I knew how at the time. Shephard also is not really human in the painting--he is unrecognizable. In expressionism the object of the painting is the emotion of the act, so I suppose I was trying to capture the feeling I had of this event, and was less concerned about anything else. Regarding forgiveness, I was a long ways from that at the time--I can imagine forgiveness for these two now, but not when I was painting the murder itself. That would have had to have been another kind of painting!

Anonymous said...

MW said: " I've found that people who are comfortable with who they are sexually don't usually have the need to judge the behaviour of others."

Judging sounds like morality. I'm talking consequences.

Kittredge Cherry said...

Thanks, Matthew, for explaining more about why you painted the attackers as animals. I didn’t mean to force people to forgive. Jesus didn’t actually forgive his attackers from the cross himself, but rather asked God (“Father”) to forgive them. Some say that’s because even Jesus couldn’t forgive them then.

Anonymous, you are starting to annoy my regular followers and me by repeating your same anti-gay idea many times! I am going to turn on the comment moderation feature. That means no comments will appear on this blog unless I approve them. I do not intend to allow any more comments from Anonymous that simply restate the same idea. Anonymous, you’ve made your point. I disagree with you, and I wish you well.

This will be the first time I’ve ever used comment moderation. I hope that it works smoothly. If not, please be patient. It will mean a delay for everyone in when your comments appear, but I believe that it is necessary.

Maybe it’s a sign of success that we now need comment moderation here. At least more people are noticing us and commenting! It does seem like there’s something about Wettlaufer’s art that stirs up anti-gay comments. There was a hot debate about it on Facebook, too. The artistic skill and the subject of gaybashing stir up powerful emotions.

pennyjane said...

matthew, thank you for your explanation...but for me it wasn't necessary. art is supposed to provoke and yours does. the questions raised by the first depeiction here are legitimate and i'm not sure a resolution is in order. thank you for all of these, and thank you kitt for sharing them with us.

i guess, on a personal level, i don't know any more about these two young men who committed the hidious crime than what i've seen on tv or read about in news releases, so...i can't even find a basis for forgiving them personally...they just haven't touched my life in a manner deserving forgiveness. the act itself...well...that's another matter. that touches me and causes bitterness and anger in me. i would be better off, i think, if i could forgive the act.

the problem is...the act is still out there...it's still ongoing. it's allot bigger than matt or the perpetrators of this specific crime. it's, i guess, what i call "another nail in the cross" in the continuing crucifixion of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

christ, in my simple way of seeing things, was not "crucified" He is being crucified...it goes on and on. He lives today and our sin continues to mount. i am not concerned that He will run out of power to assume our sin, His power is infinate, beyond even our power to sin. but it does sadden me, hurt me, when i feel His continued suffering in our name. my own sin hurts worse, but when i consider the sin of the whole world i can easily be brought to tears. it can cause me to judge sin...as nutty an idea as that is...because i am selfish and want to think that my damages are less than the next guy's.

so, to stop rambling and make the point. when i can forgive myself, for my part in that particular sin...sloth, inattentiveness, indifference...then maybe i can forgive the overall sin itself. in the meantime, i'll try not to be cynical, i'll pray and hope for the day when we can give Jesus some peace on the cross.

much love and hope. pj

Pallas said...

Undeniably meaningful and beautiful work of art. Thanks for sharing

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