Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Desecrated Bible

From the AFP – Christian Post - Telegraph Co UK

Christians voiced anger and dismay Tuesday after a Bible, which was part of an exhibition inviting viewers to add their reflections, was defaced with offensive and foul-mouthed scrawl.

Glasgow's Gallery of Modern Art has decided to put the Bible in a glass case after the exhibit, called Untitled 2009 and part of a show entitled Made in God's Image, was vandalized.

Artist Jane Clarke, a minister at the Metropolitan Community Church, asked visitors to annotate the Bible with stories and reflections, as a way of making it more inclusive.

But visitors to the gallery took the invitation a bit further than she had anticipated.

The open Bible is a central part of Made in God’s Image, an exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow, United Kingdom. By the book is a container of pens and a notice saying: “If you feel you have been excluded from the Bible, please write your way back into it.”

The Times newspaper reported that the publicly funded exhibition ‘Untitled 2009,’ was proposed by the Metropolitan Community Church, which said that the idea was to reclaim the Bible as a sacred text.

But to the horror of many Christians, including the community church, visitors have daubed its pages with comments such as “This is all sexist pish, so disregard it all.” A contributor wrote on the first page of Genesis: “I am Bi, Female & Proud. I want no god who is disappointed in this.”

One writer has altered the first line of the Old Testament from “In the beginning God created Heaven and Earth” to “In the beginning, God (me) I created religion.”

Another has written “The Gospel According to Luke Skywalker”.

The main sentiment, however, is rage at Christianity. “F*** the Bible”, one message says. And another described the Bible as "the biggest lie in human history" and a third wrote: "Mick Jagger and David Bowie belong in here”

The official Web site of the exhibition stated that the exhibition has been created by the artists Anthony Schrag and David Malone, in with organizations representing gay Christians and Muslims. Mr. Schrag, the gallery’s artist in residence, told the Times that he did not believe in God, but that his research for the 7,000 Euros show had underlined his respect for people of faith.

A video by Roxanne Claxton that forms a second element in the exhibition shows a young woman ripping pages out of the Bible and stuffing them in her knickers and bra and in her mouth in a program to promote equal rights for homosexuals. The film showed “the word as power,” Mr Schrag said. “Roxanne gave a performance where she ate a Bible and it became part of her.”

Some Christians are surprised that Schrag and Malone who have explored faith and sexuality with members of The Metropolitan Community Church, Quest, Al Jannah Muslim Group and individuals from a range of faiths, including members of St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow before the event were even permitted by the Church to carry out such exhibition.

However, Jane Clarke, the minister at the Metropolitan Community Church and artist involved in the bible exhibit said, “Writing our names in the margins of a Bible was to show how we have been marginalised by many Christian churches, and also our desire to be included in God’s love. As a young Christian I was encouraged by my church to write my own insights in the margins of the Bible I used for my devotions – this was an extension of that idea.”

“As a young Christian I was encouraged by my church to write my own insights in the margins of the Bible I used for my daily devotions – this was an extension of that idea. I still have that Bible, although it’s rather tatty now,” she clarified her position through the official Web site of the exhibition.

She added, “It was never my intention to offend anyone – believers and non-believers alike. I had hoped that people would show respect for the Bible, for Christianity and indeed for the Gallery of Modern Art. I am saddened that some people have chosen to write offensive messages.”

Ms Clarke has requested changes to the exhibit. The bible remains on display, but within an enclosed case, the official Web site stated.

On another plinth next to it are loose leaf sheets and pens for visitors to write their thoughts and feelings in relation to the bible. Those loose sheets will be inserted within the pages of the bible by curatorial staff each day, the statement stated.

The Church of Scotland said it condemned any sacrilegious act. “We would discourage anyone from defacing the Bible,” a Kirk spokesman told the Times.

A spokesman for the Catholic Church said: “One wonders whether the organizers would have been quite as willing to have the Koran defaced.”

On Tuesday over 100 people gathered outside the gallery to protest at what they said was vandalism, Agence-French Press reported.

Letitia Reid, a housewife from Glasgow, told AFP the Bible should not be desecrated.
“As a Christian I am offended by this because Christians hold the Bible to be sacred. For it to be publicly defiled in this way is very offensive,” she said.

Jane Clarke, the artist, asked visitors to annotate the Bible with their experiences, but she has requested the gallery to display it in a glass case after it was daubed with “offensive” comments.

The piece, called Untitled 2009, caused a furore when it went on display in the Made In God’s Image exhibition at Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art.

Miss Clarke, a minister at the Metropolitan Community Church, a ministry for homosexuals, said she had not intended to offend.

“I had hoped that people would show respect for the Bible, for Christianity and indeed for the Gallery of Modern Art. I am saddened that some people have chosen to write offensive messages. I had hoped that people would show respect for the Bible, for Christianity and indeed for the Gallery of Modern Art. I am saddened that some people have chosen to write offensive messages.”

Paper and pens will be provided for visitors to write down their thoughts and will be inserted into the Bible later. More than 100 people gathered outside the gallery yesterday to protest against the exhibit.

Made in God’s Image will be on display at the gallery until August 22, 2009

Saturday, July 18, 2009


This song was written by my friend Mike Wilshire back in the early 1970's. It is one of my favorite songs of all time. Mike moved to Virginia a long time ago and has been the Pastor of Cornerstone Christian Church of Roanoke Valley since it's founding. He is an excellent guitarist and at one time a wonderful vocalist. By the way, as you watch the photos, Michael is the guy with the white hair and beard.

This version was recorded by Rick Marksberry in his studio. Kent Odor sings lead vocal and plays 2nd guitar. I sing first harmony and play the 1st guitar part and play bass guitar. Deny Brigance and Diann Marksberry sing the higher harmony parts. Barb & Ric Hine, Deny Brigance, Diann & Rick Marksberry, Terry Fisher and myself are the choir at the end of the song.

May God bless as you listen and watch us record.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Taking Down A Post

Yesterday I was contacted by someone who objected to a post that I had put up earlier this year. The discussion took place via email. After all we are in the 21st Century. This is the second time since I've started blogging that someone has contacted me to object to an article that I have written.

The first time was when a Cincinnati City Beat editor objected to what I had said regarding the advertisements for Asian massage parlors that used to take up ink on that back pages of that newspaper.

What precipitated that rant was a raid earlier in that week in which the local police, FBI and immigration department rounded up girls working in southern Ohio, Northern Kentucky and Southern Indiana.

The girls that had been arrested were illegal and were not paid by their employer but were allowed to keep much of the money they earned from selling sexual favors.. I equated this to slavery and implied that the newspaper ads were not much different from the slave bills posted in the early and mid 1800's. This was not at all pleasing to the City Beat guy. Although they still run advertisements, they now have some sort of a disclaimer that must be posted in the text of the ad. Apparently I must have been on to something.

Last Saturday, I received an email from someone that I had written about. This person was quite upset with the text I had written and we traded emails back and forth this day.

My point was an objection to the content and the timing of the work. During the exchange of emails the objector reasoned with me and explained that some of my words were construed as hurtful.

That was a very valid point. Although I still object to the timing of the work, I took the post down.

In the United States we are fond of standing on Constitutional grounds and bellowing that we have the right to free speech. And that is a very, very important right, especially when you look at recent World events in Iran and China. However as Christians do we have the right to say hurtful things?

However true it may be, the work I objected to was hurtful to a family and especially to an individual and their friends. But the text and images in that work were not mine. My concern was only that something I said was hurtful. Perhaps I could have reworded my post to give a more fair and balanced viewpoint. I felt the easiest thing was to take down my words rather than dance on a precipice between right and wrong.

In accord with the words of Our Lord in Matthew 18:5;
And if thy brother sin against thee, go, show him his fault between thee and him alone: if he hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.