THY ROD AND THY STAFF THEY COMFORT ME


PSALM 23
1The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of
righteousness for his name's sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

The ancient scriptures above can be found in the Torah, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Old Testament of the Bible. The passage speaks to us about how the Lord is our shepherd. Christ links himself to these scriptures thereby asserting his divinity. People wanted to stone him for that. The passage is my inspiration for the depiction(s) of Christ. The art is the first part of a three part picture that I am working on.


The passage also makes me wonder about those that lead us, those that we follow.
As we live this life we have the tendency to coalesce around those that achieve excellence. That’s  how humanity advances. Also, it’s just human nature. We rally behind our favorite sports stars, entertainers, politicians, writers, etc. Who we select to follow gives marvelous insight into the type of person that we are. Let’s consider some of these leaders, or SHEPHERDS OF HUMANITY.

OBAMA - DON'T YOU JUST LOVE HIM? DON'T YOU?

A lot of people love him. I like the fact that he is Black. He is from a minority that comprises 12% of our population yet he is the president of the United States of America. This makes me feel like we can rise above petty racism and heightens the notion that anybody can make it big in America. I like the fact that he is a family man with two cute daughters (almost as cute as my daughters). That aside, I don’t agree with a lot of what he stands for. Obama believes the rich not paying their fair share and corporate corruption are the blames for societal woes. Within his veneer quest to empower the average person he has dismantled the notion of substantive personal responsibility of the individual citizen. That is his African-Americanism coming out. The mentality that “it’s the man’s fault and the man is holding me down” is at play. And it’s peppered with his Black Liberation Theology. Within the tenant of his faith to tear down the establishment, the “spread the wealth” campaign has become subversively militant underneath the everything-is-peachy propaganda.  And his path of atonement via the rendering of reparations for slavery is coming along quiet well don't you think?  Sweet collective salvation must be just around the corner.  You do realize that this IS Black Liberation Theology, right?  The problem is that his moral compass does not always point to God. It points to something else, as evidenced by his support of institutionalized murdering of the unborn and homosexual marriage, to name a few. His ideas of hope and change are not good things from what I see, hear, and understand. 


...LOVES ME NOT?

ROMNEY - I wanted to become a Mormon saint?


He was an interesting shepherd for a while. Not exactly the poster boy for conservatives. I don't like how they split up the true conservative votes during the primaries and then shoved this guy down our throat. Dirty trick that was. I suspect Karl Rove was behind it, as years ago I detected his disdain for what he and they call the evangelical vote. I didn't care that Romney is a rich guy. But I personally had a hard time warming up to him because of the things he stood for in the past that no one would talk about. His flip-flop on abortion bothered me. And I didn't like how he underhandedly passed gay marriage in Massachusetts. Here is a good article about that:

If you dig deep into this you will be shocked. If gays choose to be together then that’s their business. Society should allow them civil unions if that is what they want. But don’t call it marriage. That’s blasphemy. More about that later. Romney has said he believes that marriage should be between a man and a woman yet he did what he did in Massachusetts. The only sense I can make of that relates to him being Mormon. If you dig deep into what Mormons believe you will inevitably encounter the belief in polygamy - you know, having multiple wives. Please, don’t make the Mormons talk about polygamy! Don’t tread on a person’s private religious convictions. These are the things they say. WHATEVER! That’s where you go if you truly want to know what makes a person tick and where you are going if you follow that person. I think Romney indeed believes that marriage is between a man and a woman –or perhaps Romney should have just been honest and said that he thinks marriage should be between a man and WOMEN! But Mormons can't do that because it is unlawful and they are big on following the law. I think Romney wants to lay the legal groundwork to make polygamy lawful. If gay marriage is OK then so goes polygamy.  His past actions as Governor prove this to me.

Had he won the Presidency and then ushered in legal polygamy, he would have become a Saint of Mormonism. He would even get a statue of himself along side Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. Now that would be an amazing accomplishment for a rich and powerful guy that one time ate “cheesy grits” down South while campaigning for the presidency.



OF COURSE, ROMNEY LOST - DASHING ANY ASPIRATIONS TOWARD MORMON SAINTHOOD.

Bill O' Reilly - Really, Bill? Really?



He has a lot of followers. I was one of them for a long time but then stopped watching. It’s not a 100% boycott. I still watch a segment here and there. But not like I used to. I started having my issues with Bill when I noticed his support of gay marriage. He would not say that he supported it. But he put on the record that he did not have a problem with it. Yet he refers to himself as a traditionalist. It does not square. Why does he do that? He touts his Roman Catholicism. But then he takes up positions that do not line up with the Faith.  Also, he seems a bit disrespectful to the Priesthood at times. Perhaps he does that because he is a ratings hog. That seems to be his primary concern. Bill does stuff like trying to get Lady Ga Ga on his program just to get his ratings up. I realize it’s just the business he is in. That’s what he does. Maybe that is why he allied himself with the gay rights movement. It’s a ratings thing. It’s a money thing. 

He also admits to loving the verbal jousts, and winning them.  This really floats his boat. Him being out in the so-called market place of ideas too often has eroded his morality structures.  It is vain to think that you have it so together that you need no protection from the elements and that you can weather the storms without harm.  This is Bill. He has compromised principle in the process of achieving his ratings, wealth, and pride (vanity).  


SO WHAT... WE ARE ALL HUMAN AND DO SUCH THINGS.

Though the above statement is true, it does not mean
 that we should follow the people that do such things.

Ellen - she's one of them there gay, lesbian people.

  What about this shepherd? She is not abrasive and controversial like the other one – you know, Rosie O’Donnell. She’s spunky yet approachable. She’s funny. She’s the perfect way to get straights to warm up to gays, right? I do not hate gay people. In fact, I have a lesbian co-worker that I have become friends with. That aside, gay marriage is something I am against. If gays want to be together then that’s their business. But don’t call it marriage. And I am sick and tired of being hammered day after day with the gay issue. It’s in the news everyday. It’s on the magazine covers. It’s everywhere! They make up 1-2% of the population yet I am daily bombarded with the stuff, as if it will wear me down. It won’t. I feel like I am being force-fed the stuff and I resent it.  


Even so, my shepherd teaches me to say:

 "Look at me and behold the face of God, 
as I behold the face of God in you".

Jesus Christ - the only Good Shepherd.


God created the universe, the earth, and humanity. Did it take billions or thousands of years? Did it happen in some Big Bang type thing or by some magic words? Were we formed out of the dust of the ground over a vast age through evolution or did some old man with a long-white beard form us out of clay like a kid makes play dough people? These are only a few of the interesting questions for which no person on this planet has ever had solid answers. I love such questions. They stretch my mind. They bring me closer to God. Even so, we agree to disagree on all these subjects that orbit our central belief.




The central belief is that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. When he finished creation he said that it was good, including us. By unearthly influence we tripped into an imperfection that we alone are powerless to overcome. Now we live in the hope that our Creator is fulfilling his promise that we are indeed created in his own image and that we are indeed good. Our Creator had himself born within his own creation of humanity so that he could do what no other person could do – save us.  He is my shepherd and the only one that can lead us out of our imperfection. To wrap your mind around all the details takes patience and time. It can sometimes be confusing, almost as confusing as Science.



He is my shepherd and the only one that can lead us out of our imperfection.

OK, lets stop dilly-dallying and confront this gay marriage thing!




God made humanity. Male and female he made them. They were created in his image. He blessed them and told them to be fruitful and multiply. This is a holy thing. It is a perfect thing. When we live this way it may be the highest form of worship to God. When we live this way it is a reflection of the very image of God as he created us to be. This is a sacred thing and a true believer could never skirt around this without stepping into sin.

After our fall into imperfection, the scriptures were written for our guidance. The scriptures describe to us what a sinless marriage should be in the very beginning. But that’s just the start. Throughout the Bible are many references to marriage to make a spiritual point. Consider the beautiful Song of Solomon. I like the parable Christ told us about the wise virgin awaiting the Bridegroom. Good stuff. And at the conclusion of the scriptures we hear of the glorious Marriage Supper of the Lamb. This is where Christ returns to earth to be joined with his bride, the church. All these references to marriage in the Bible provide us with holy imagery. They are beautiful images. They allow us to look around our imperfections and see the image of God.

The idea of two men being married or two women being married is profane. It is incompatible with the Faith, from beginning to end. As introduced above, much of the scriptures would be rendered broken if considered in the context of gay marriage. If gays take the word "marriage", we would have to come up with a new word that refers to traditional marriage. Then we would have to change the words in the Bible. What about the old Bibles that we have had for centuries?

And if you are gay and you are reading this, I am sorry for being so sharp. I love you and somewhat understand the hard life you live and the awkwardness that you sometimes find yourself in.  Some of you are gay by conditioning and choice. Some of you are gay because it is a genetic thing. Since our fall into imperfection our genes have been under curse resulting in imperfect behaviors as well as sicknesses. It's in our DNA. We were born that way. It's just the way we are. And so we struggle with sexual sins, addictions, violence, greed, sicknesses, etc., etc.  

THY ROD AND THY STAFF 
THEY COMFORT ME



The art

The above drawing of Christ is part of a bigger piece. It will be a three piece in one drawing. I am not finished yet. I drew it in pencil and touched it up with black and white digital painting. At this time I am working on the grass. I put down a pencil layer on paper, smudged it with a blending stump, and then scanned into my computer. The pencil layer is my foundation for texture and value.  Using Corel-Paint, I zoom in and work on it blade by blade using black and white digital painting. Here is some of it so far - it is just the bottom slice:

(CLICK ON THE PICTURE TO ENLARGE)

A big thanks goes out to Hayden. He was my Jesus model. I took numerous photos of him to use for reference. He is a young man of Romanian decent. Northern Mesopotamia is the geographic region where the Jews came from. Romania is not far from there. With his olive skin and Jewish nose, I think Hayden exhibits some of the morphological characteristics of the ancient Israelites (i.e. Jesus Christ). He made a great Jesus model. Thanks Hayden!

I will upload the complete picture when I am finished with this work-in-progress. It will be similar to sequential art when I am done, with three pictures in one. You'll see.