Archive for April, 2011
RE: Holy Tongue Lashing – Job 38-41
Hello, how is life now that you’ve been justified through God? I must admit, I’ve never read your book of the Bible all the way through until today. You see, yesterday, in my Daily Bread readings I was directed to Job 38:1-11,31-33. This was a very interesting passage that I read, but it made me question why God was responding to harshly to you. So I decided to read through the your book today to see what all the commotion was about.
To recap, (incase you forgot) you were a holy roller in the eyes of God, but Satan (who is footnoted as the Accuser, which I liked a lot better) asked if you would be so righteous if you were not so blessed by God. With this, God allows Satan to destroy everything you hold dear and even cause you physical aliment. With this destruction you begin questioning God, you tell your friends that you are justified, you were a righteous man, you did no wrong in the eyes of God. After your friends and Elihu try to tell you that you are unjustified with no avail, then God steps in. So this brings us to Chapter 38.
He begins thusly: “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.” Holy Moses. I wonder what your thoughts were when God finally answered you. This initial response from God is, to put it simply, powerful. “Brace yourself like a man”? There is a joke that’s gone around for several years in this century, I don’t know if you had it in your time, it’s simply the phrase “man it up”. Coming from ones friend this doesn’t seem that threatening. But to have the Creator of the Universe come to you in a whirlwind and basically say, ‘prepare yourself for the wost tongue lashing EVER’ is about 7 trillion times more intense than anyone in this century could fathom. And this verse is just the beginning, this speech goes on for four whole chapters. Gulp!
My general question for you is what on earth were you thinking when God came down and spoke to you? When he confronted you about things you knew nothing about? Questions such as, “Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place…?” or, “Do you send the lightning bolt on their way? Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’?” He confronts you with question after question, all of which are meant to show his power, might and glory, and are meant to show you exactly where you stand, and that isn’t in the holy presence of God.
There is so much in these verses that I could not begin to do justice to. But reading your book, the story of your being humbled by God, it gives me hope. It’s an answer to the questions that people ask about you all the time. Questions like, “why do good thing happen to bad people?” God explains himself, he doesn’t leave you hanging, waiting for an answer. Although his answer seems harsh, and without love, the truth is this response is exactly what you needed to hear, and like a parent, it is full of love, it’s just hard to see that through the punishment. You thought yourself justified before God, you though you had no sin in your life. And the truth is, you were wrong. We were wrong. As a Christian there have been times that I have felt holy and righteous, feeling like it’s my good works that got me there. Not so. The only reason we are justified is because God allowed us to be that way. I feel you would have agreed with Paul in his New Testament writings, “I am but a sinner saved by grace”. You seemed to learn your lesson well, and with that, you were blessed more than you could have expected.
I think there are a lot of lessons to learn through your book. I honestly didn’t think there were, this is why I haven’t read it until today. But reading through the story, through your long monologues of woe, and especially through God’s response you your woes, there seems to be answers to those big questions that people ask.
I think a lot of people see Christianity only as Jesus, the ‘kinder’ of the trinity. But they shouldn’t be so swift to overlook God the Father. Most people believe that God the Father is the mean one of the group, but the truth is he’s extremely quick to forgive. He teaches lessons, but those are necessary for his people to grow. To see God as the Ogre of the religion is a gross mistake, he’s the one who initially reached down to us humans in our weakness. He provided the out whenever we needed it. Whether it be through sacrifice of animals in the Old Testament, or through the sacrifice of Jesus in the New Testament.
Job, you were a screwed up man for a while there. But your willingness to listen and learn from the voice of God is a great example to all who follow the ways of God.
Enjoy your justification,
I wish so much that you were not always so sad. I’m sure being Bi-Polar isn’t easy to live with, but your work is so grand that I wish you would have stayed and continued. Some of my favorite paintings of yours are the dark mysterious types. The Church at Auvers, Starry Night on the Rhone, and The Mulberry Tree. Although most of your works are well-known, these are a little less so, only because your works such as Sunflowers and Starry Night are taking the spotlight. These works, these dark mysteries, they show a bit more of what’s inside of you. The pain and anguish you went through, the depression you must have felt.
However, there is one thing to take note of in your works, and this is the light that comes through. Brightness, despite the dark backdrop. In The Mulberry Tree for instance, the darkness comes mainly from the sky. A deep rich blue that makes you feel a storm is on its way. Yet the tree itself is more neutral in orange and deep yellows, and the ground below shines with bright yellows. A grand example of the manic/depressive state that you constantly dealt with. This fascinating tree is my background for my phone at the moment. What a lovely thing to look at every time I make a call.
The Church at Auvers is a painting I have long been fascinated with. You weren’t really a religious man, but you painted the things around you, so the church received it’s place in your collection. I always wondered if the woman walking toward the church was planning on entering or if she was simply passing by on her way to do something else. The particular detail I love is the bright orange roof to the right. This to me is again, a sign of the manic in you. Orange evokes feelings of anger, and although the general theme of the painting is blue, which makes one feel comfortable and clam, the orange let’s you know that not everything is ok, there is something amiss.
The final painting, Starry Night on the Rhone, is by far my favorite of your works. It’s also the darkest of the three I’ve chosen to examine. It often reminds people of Starry Night, which is understandable since it almost shares the same name and subject matter. However this painting is different. Different from Starry Night and different from the other two dark paintings. It’s deep blue sky and golden stars are calming, lovely even. The reflections of light guide the viewer’s eye up to the sky or down to the little couple leaving the bay. I find it interesting that this painting is the only one I’ve seen of your work, Van Gogh, that doesn’t seem to move. All is still in this scene. Everything is silent, the wind isn’t blowing, the town is about to go to bed, and the boats are all put away for the night. What were you doing painting at such an hour? Why did you chose to make this painting still?
I hope to write you again, your paintings top my charts, and I never grow tired of them.
From the art lover in me,
There are a few things for me to say about this blog before I start posting my thoughts to the world. First I would like to point out is this blog is in no way connected to that chick flick “Letters to Juliet”. The second I created this blog I realized these two things may get connected. I have not now and never intend to see this movie, and this blog has nothing to do with such nonsense as said chick flick. The second thing I would like to inform you of are my intentions. My friend encouraged me to begin a blog. Not because I’m a grand writer and should therefore post my thoughts to the world. Nay, in fact, I possess little skill in writing, and to be honest, I don’t really enjoy it. But my main influence for writing has alway been in the academic sense. So I don’t really know how I feel about writing when I am given the freedom to express my own thoughts. So we shall see how this goes.
As you may have noticed, I am chosing to set this blog up in letter format. This is partly because I feel I need some type of structure, and also because I’m still a big believer in writing notes instead of emails, and looking things up in a real dictionary and not on dictionary.com. Call me old-fashioned, I know I’m on the odd side of the fence when it comes to technology.
You may be wondering what I intend to write on. Well, that’s a lovely question. It’s right up there with what I will do after I graduate. the short answer being, I don’t really know. But I am looking forward to the ability to come up with ideas and post about them. My interests fall within the cultural spectrum, in both senses of the word. Culture as in fine art and snooty things like Shakespeare, and culture as in a group of people who have learned and shared patterns of behavior and the material goods that come from that behavior. (this second definition is taken from Professor Stamps. Thank you sir for constantly sticking that in my brain). My interest in culture is my springboard for my Cultural Anthropology degree that I will be getting in December 2011 (yes, that’s this December).
So, with this broad knowledge of my interests, you could expect posts about things of culture. Also, there will from time to time probably be posts addressed to God. Theology is another of my passions. I do have belief in God, and Jesus (cementing me in as a Christian), and with this belief there will no doubt be some form of commentary about something I’ve read in the Bible or The Daily Bread that day.
I don’t want to limit myself in topics though, so I may go off the wall sometimes with my subjects. But I wanted to warn you, dear Reader, of what you may be getting yourself into with this blog. I hope I’m interesting, I hope my thoughts make sense, and I hope you enjoy my blog. I don’t know how often I’ll post, I’m out of school for the time, so that should leave me with plenty of time for posting. But I’m not going to set a schedule right now, because I don’t need such pressure.
Hope to write again soon,