Posts in 'Parables' Category

Searching for a God Particle- A Parable

We sit in the art gallery, silent yet full of beauty. The guest artist has promised to make an appearance. The doors open admitting a socially awkward entourage of irreverent natural scientists who use a bullhorn to tell us that they are hiring lab rats to help them find the God particle. Any of us in the gallery who wishes to work for a handsome hourly wage is part of the research team. The lead scientist demonstrates our task. With a blade he scrapes a bit of paint from the canvas of one of the masterpieces. He deposits the paint flakes into a glass dish, adds thinner, mixes to an even consistency then smears it on a slide. “Take your time; prepare small smears; We are looking for something quite small; and you are being paid by the hour.”

The lead scientist tells us to start with those parts of the paintings that most likely would represent God – the light rays filtering through the fir grove, the artist’s signature, or the gilded dome on the distant horizon. A pantheistic looking girl ignores him and starts to scrape some mossy rocks along the banks of a stream. A materialist scrapes gold leaf from the dome, and while the natural scientists peer into their microscopes, he deposits the gold into a baggy stashing it in his pants. Most of the scrapers dutifully smear slides stacking them beside the microscopes, filling out their tedious forms, a grave sense of historical importance on their faces.

I sit on the viewing bench, my scalpel in hand unable to join the others at the canvases. I slide around to face the opposite wall to gaze at the unscathed paintings. I imagine the curator storming into the gallery ordering the guards to escort the desecrators to her office. In time she enters, smiles and chats with the lead scientist, taking her turn at his microscope. I learn later that the natural scientists and the museum have been rewarded an impressive grant to conduct this research together.

The painting directly before me depicts a horizon. The sky is orange and vast. The earth is yellow. The line between is thin and straight. I can see for miles. I wonder how it is that the artist can capture with the variation of two colors and one black line the immensity of nature. I find myself drawn into the painting walking rapidly away from the scraping pigment and the clicking of slides. The minimalist’s world of yellow and orange is focused upon the distant horizon stirring an expectation for some cataclysmic event or an eschatological figure arising from the thin, straight line. From where do these images and longings arise? They are certainly not painted. Are they figments of my imagination? I decide to wait for the artist who will answer the question for me. The artist will explain to me what is not painted but seems to be powerfully present.

On the bench beside me is a brochure, a guide to the exhibit. I read the section describing the painting before me. The artist quotes, “Do you believe because you have seen? Blessed are those who have not seen but believe.” It is as if the artist anticipated the scraping behind me. While his quote doesn’t completely answer my question, it does make sense as I observe the painting. My strong desire is to walk to the end of the yellow, rise above the line and explore the orange. But then, orange is my favorite color.

Published in: Parables | on February 7th, 2013 | 7 Comments »

A Parable: Leaving the RV for a hike up the Mountain

In the days of his youth Fred was an outdoor enthusiast hiking the trails of Oregon. As an old man he began to suffer more and more from arthritis. He bought a modest RV, one of the simpler ones with an expanding bay window and a dish on the roof. He would park it along the Salmon River peering at the riffles where he would have fly fished in days past. At some point he began to surf the 378 channels off the satellite. He regularly drew the drapes of the bay window to cut the glare on the screen. In time he was confined to a wheel chair and installed a lift on his RV. The conventional wisdom of his friends and care providers was, “Don’t go out; you will endanger yourself.” And so, his mindset toward the nature he loved changed from joy to fear. His surfing finger would pause most often on Oregon Field and Stream, then he began to watch nothing else but the History Channel. Then, he took an interest in Christian cable, mostly fanatics crying the demise of American culture and morality. Continue reading »

Published in: Parables | on June 8th, 2010 | 1 Comment »

The Parable of the Identical Twins, Love and Science

Once upon a time I met a man named Love, who told me that he was an identical twin. We met in the flower of our youth hopeful in romance, seeking the loves of our lives. Love and I went about our courting in quite a different order. Love would ask a girl to dinner and a movie. At the table he would make it clear up front that he desired to get to know her to determine whether or not she would be the woman of his dreams. He peppered their dinner conversation with many a question, getting to know her through, what I would consider to be more of an interview than pleasant dialogue. Admittedly, I was a bit naive in those days. I would meet a girl and say, “Wow! Here is the girl of my dreams!” Then, I would sit at the table to discover as much as I was able about this amazing creature. Continue reading »

Published in: Parables | on December 16th, 2009 | 1 Comment »

The Three Little Pigs, Chapter 3

Chapter Two

Chapter Three
On a sunny afternoon the three little pigs ventured a visit to town to the loft of their urbanite uncle living in the penthouse suite overlooking the river. They told him of their fear and he highly recommended to them the hypnotist in town. He told them of his own fear of H1N1. This hypnotist, Dr. Bo Vine had successfully connected him to points in his past and in his subconscious, the seeds of his fear, helping him to face them and properly deal with them. Continue reading »

Published in: Parables | on October 17th, 2009 | No Comments »

The Three Little Pigs, Chapter 2

(Recently, I uncovered this Chapter 2, previously unknown to the world, proving that the final paragraph of Chapter 1, is not original but added at a later date by someone other than the author. The pigs dancing around the piano and singing, “Who’s afraid of the big, bad wolf,” and the final statement, “And they lived happily ever after,” are added. These additions do not match Chapter 2, which I now unveil to you.)

The three little pigs stared in horror at the dead wolf in the cauldron, the flames still licking the iron. With great effort they pulled it free and dragged the carcass across the clean and tidy room, out the front door, across the yard to the foot of the mulberry tree. Huffing and puffing the three little pigs dug a shallow grave, rolling the wolf into it, then covering it with dirt. They piled stones into a crude pyramid as high as they stood to ever remind them of their arch enemy.

None of the three little pigs slept the first night. At breakfast, prepared by the third little pig, they found it difficult to speak to one another, though they were brothers. Now that the wolf was dead, should the three of them live together in the house made of bricks? Or, should the first little pig and the second little pig rebuild their homes? Should they use hay and sticks? Should they use bricks? The first little pig said, “Do you think that the wolf is actually dead?” The second little pig said, “His body is dead, but do you think that his spirit will haunt us?” The third little pig said, “What makes you think that he is the only wolf out there?” Continue reading »

Published in: Parables | on August 22nd, 2009 | 4 Comments »

For Freedom Christ Has Set Us Free: A True Story (Except for the Props)

I know a man who has become so sick and tired of his habitual sin that he has taken drastic measures. He has taken to wearing a blindfold. He cuffs his hands, wears a chastity belt (his wife is keeper of the keys) and he shackles his feet. He hires a retired mendicant (they work for almost nothing) to read the Holy Scriptures to him, as his blindfold prevents him from doing his own reading. He reports that as long as he is subject to these constraints, he has not fallen to his habitual sins. He tells me that the Word of God has been the cause of the cessation of his sin. When I mention his cuffs, shackles, blindfold, and belt, he quickly insists that the Bible has provided all of these for his prevention of his sin. He is wearing these in obedience to the Word of God. He listens to the monk read and he does his best to memorize as much as he can, hiding the very Words of God so that he might not sin against God.
He has even memorized Psalm 119:105, “Thy Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” I asked him if he had been doing much walking lately. “No, no I haven’t. When I get up and out of these shackles, I get into trouble. No I haven’t been on the path for a very long time. If I am going to stay away from sin, then I need to stay right here in my room, close to my Bible reading monk.” I told him I found it interesting that this memorized verse about the law of God enlightening our common life encouraged us to get up and out into the world where the Word of God could be applied to anything we might encounter. “Oh no! I am too sinful and weak for the world. I need to stay right here with my blindfold over my eyes, listening to the Word of God.”
“OK,” I said. “I am returning to the world now and when I return, I hope to find you in good health and spirits.” Continue reading »

Published in: Gospel, Parables | on February 17th, 2009 | 2 Comments »

dialogue about art

Pagan: So, you are standing outside the museum today protesting the featured exhibit of NEA art?
Christian: It’s an abomination to my God and to my faith.
Pagan: I think that would be its purpose. There are a few of us around who don’t particularly revere your God or share your faith.
Christian: Does that give you the right to publicly desecrate God? What about freedom of religion?
Pagan: I believe that the exhibit is protected by the freedom of speech. By the way, what kind of art do you like?
Christian: Oh, I’m not much interested in art. This is the first time I’ve been to this museum.
Pagan: You mean, this is the first time you have actually stood on the steps of the museum. Give me some examples of 20th century art produced by your Church that would make a fine exhibition in this museum.
Christian: (pregnant pause) I don’t rightly know of any. Our church doesn’t encourage the arts.
Pagan: By the way, most of the art in this museum, the featured NEA exhibit excepted, was patronized by the Church in past centuries. You should go inside sometime soon, I mean, after the NEA art is gone. Here’s a complimentary pass to use at any time.
Continue reading »

Published in: Art, Parables | on July 22nd, 2006 | 1 Comment »