The Vision of the Prophet Ezekiel
This is a post designed to display and explain, somewhat, a work of art which, though I love, is characterized by a period in my own history I disdain. First, however, I’ll need to explain some background so you can fully appreciate why I both love this art I created and loathe the iteration of myself which created it. And you can thank me by not being negative when I withhold a florid depiction of my former religious zeal.
Once upon a time, I made a radical leap from postmodern nihilism to fundamentalist Christianity, quite overnight. It would be easy to fill hundreds of pages about this event and its seismic impact on my life but I’ll do that another time, if ever. The important takeaway is that I became staunchly, obnoxiously, savagely, blisteringly, and, most importantly, nauseatingly religious.
I also developed a reputation as an amateur expositor of scripture in my locale, varying in my public reception from ‘pompous heretic’ to ‘orthodox snob’ to ‘visionary prophet.’ You would be surprised, I hope, to realize these are actual quotes. I deigned to instruct the hungry lay of the things of heaven, and to divulge the mysteries of God, and I ventured to do so with alacrity and authority. I eschewed the softer teachings of apostles and the exciting metaphysics of the revelators, preferring to unearth whichever passage I might find most arcane and unknowable. Later (code for ‘now’) I realized I selected these inscrutable passages because they placed me above reproof, since no one could say with clarity whether I was right or wrong.
If you know anything of the Bible, you may recognize the prophet Ezekiel at least by name. I won’t tell you a damned thing about him, but I’ll tell you this: When I tried to explain my private interpretations of the first chapter of his book, to the earthy, mortal folk of South Carolina, I came across a bit of an intellectual barrier ranging in its expression from ‘Huh?’ to ‘Who cares?’ Unfettered, I decided in my omniscience to condescend to their level and explain in another tongue: art. I thought, I will draw what it means by literally compounding its many layers and meanings and words. And I set out on a two year journey to slowly piece together, by hand and aided only with prayer, pens and a bible, a somewhat sizable drawing of my takeaway from Ezekiel 1. The product of that labor you will find here below. And by the way, it’s 9238 by 7276 pixels so have fun with that.
The great irony of this is that art was an even more abstruse medium to my flock of disinterested acolytes than spoken or written words. They don’t even understand art? I sighed, internally. They looked upon it with passive, idle curiosity, uttered monosyllabic grunts of briefly appreciative surprise (Ooh a common one, and Ahh equally common), and moved on, the memory like a migratory bird caught in a turbine.
I donated this work to Hillcrest Baptist Church, Sharon, SC. It is probably collecting dust in an attic or torn asunder by shifting furniture in the annex. I wouldn’t know as I haven’t been there in years. If you’re ever in the area, here’s the truth amidst my bitter irony:
They’re very nice people. I went there to instruct them and I was too blind of eye and hard of heart to realize how much they had to teach me. Of course, this juxtaposition of mismatched dynamics led to my learning almost nothing. Their lessons? Not about religion, but about commonplace matters. Things I am still struggling through, like how to show compassion, owning up to your errors and moving on; loving your family, organizing your life and keeping your eyes on what matters.
Supposedly a picture is worth a thousand words, but this one is only worth about 650 to me.
During the composition of this post, I listened to [Worthy] by [Beautiful Eulogy]. It’s charming, gorgeous and cohesive hip-hop. Or is it? Critics universally praise its production and aesthetics, but struggle to define it. Like all Humble Beast Records releases, you can get a copy for [free], no strings attached.
Containing equal parts chill electronic production, church sermons, theological assertions, boom-bap inspired raps, and contemporary Christian worship passages, it is notable just for its oddity. I love this record, but the longer I live the further I veer away from my former interest in listening to theology in my music. It’s not for everyone.