The Bible Through Artists’ Eyes:

WELCOME my Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Islamic, Atheistic, Agnostic, and Christian friends.

We are more related than outward appearances would seem to indicate.  The details of our relational stories of truth, like our different clothes and cultures, are unique; we share the human spirit, “the breath of God;”  and that great ocean of transcendent truth is revealed personally to all.

The exclusionist in religion does not see that he shuts the door of heaven on himself, in striving to shut out others.

Emerson.

He who knows only one religion knows none.

Prof. Max Müller

The same thing which is now called the Christian religion existed among the ancients. They have begun to call Christian the true religion which existed before.

St. Augustine

To connect with the great river we all need a path, but when you get down there there’s only one river.

Matthew Fox

As each of us has unique family stories, we also have unique mythological stories.  Myth is not fiction; rather it is metaphorical, poetical.  It helps us to orient from our own physical being and environment to that Nameless Being which is the Ground of all Being – that one great river.

See https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2014/12/06/preface-to-universal-truths-expressed-in-myth/

I am an inclusive Christian.  Jesus was inclusive.  It doesn’t matter in whose name you share your miracles of love.  “By their fruits you will know them.”  What better expression of such good fruits than through the eyes of Vincent Van Gogh?

The Good Samaritan VINCENT VAN GOGH

Source: http://www.abcgallery.com/V/vangogh/vangogh56.html.  What interests me most about this painting is that the outcast, the Samaritan, is aiding the man who was badly beaten and left at the side of the road, whereas his own religious leaders are retreating into the background.  It demonstrates in the concrete what it means to be a good neighbor.

Too much of religion is divisive.  On April 26, 2007, Krista Tippet of NPR’s Speaking of Faith asked Jimmy Carter if he could explain why the end of the Cold War did not bring peace, but rather the eruption of violence throughout the world. His answer was, “fundamentalism”:

[T]hey assume that they have a rare or unique relationship with God Almighty, whatever god they define, and their beliefs, therefore, are ordained by God. And since their beliefs are God’s beliefs, they are infallible. They cannot make a mistake or acknowledge a mistake. Anyone who disagrees with them, by definition, is wrong because ‘the disagreement is with me and with God.

Right belief was not Jesus’ message, however.  In Matthew 25, Jesus teaches that all those who loved their neighbor in tangible ways, fed the hungry, comforted those who were hurting or visited those in prison are welcomed “into the Kingdom to receive your just reward”.  In that passage, the reward of the Kingdom was available to everyone who bore good fruits.  He imposed no conoditions of religion, orientation, nation or clan. One aspect of this story that interests me is that those who bore good fruits were surprised at their reward wheras those who did not bear good fruits were surprised at their punishment.  Whether this statement is literal or metaphorical, it seems there might be some in the latter group who “knew they were saved” but did not bear good fruit.

Truly we are One!

In February, 2010, I wrote My Bible Story and Picture Book for children, which you are welcome to adapt as you see fit, use and share.

Wishing you the blessings of peace and love,

Robert Wheeler

next page: https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2011/01/22/invitation-to-healing-the-bible-through-artists-eyes/

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