Archive for March, 2011

Thy mind, my master, I will dare explore;

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011
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What we are told, that we are meant to know.
Into thy soul I search yet more and more,
Led by the lamp of my desire and woe.
If thee, my Lord, I may not understand,
I am a wanderer in a houseless land,
A weeping thirst by hot winds ever fanned.


Oswald Chambers on Atmosphere

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011
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I was reading recently some of OCs works – in one he said something regarding music and atmosphere, which ties into some of these quotes below. While music and the arts move us, it is important to have a spiritual eye open to what exactly we are celebrating or worshiping. Someone once said that we read books not to agree with the author, but to gain their perspective and there are aspects of that with music too. In music there are some dangers the other arts don’t possess…as music can take us (transport us) into an immediate spiritual condition / influence in powerful ways. The old saying “good art is not what it is, but what it does” also ties into this. It may seem I digress, but our ultimate “work” of art is you and me…our character, and at the end of our lives our buildings, cars, money, drums, music, books, boats, and myriad other possessions will not be on display as we stand before Christ and account for who we are. What will that atmosphere be like? Below are a few quotes from OC on atmosphere.

It is not what a man does that is of final importance, but what he is in what he does. The atmosphere produced by a man, much more than his activities, has the lasting influence.

The main thing about Christianity is not the work we do, but the relationship we maintain and the atmosphere produced by that relationship. That is all God asks us to look after, and it is the one thing that is being continually assailed.

To say a man has a good nature does not mean he is a pious individual, always quoting texts. The test of a nature is the atmosphere it produces. When we are in contact with a good nature we are uplifted by it. We do not get anything we can state articulately, but the horizon is enlarged, the pressure is removed from the mind and heart and we see things differently.

The thing we value most in a meeting is not so much what is said, but the release that comes from the different atmosphere that is brought in, and we can begin to think. We benefit most by things over which we cannot be articulate, and if the truths we read or hear are the truths of God, they will crop up again. “A man’s reach should exceed his grasp” The things we listen to and read ought to be beyond our comprehension, they go into our minds like seed thoughts, and slowly and surely bring forth fruit.

Haste to me, Lord, when this fool-heart of mine

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011
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Begins to gnaw itself with selfish craving;
Or, like a foul thing scarcely worth the saving,
Swoln up with wrath, desireth vengeance fine.
Haste, Lord, to help, when reason favours wrong;
Haste when thy soul, the high-born thing divine,
Is torn by passion’s raving, maniac throng.



Saturday, March 19th, 2011
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palm tree

…did I mention ähhhhhhhh”?

The Fall of the Magician

Sunday, March 6th, 2011
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The Fall of the Magician...literally

The Fall of the Magician...literally

(click to enlarge)
Here is the sequel to the previous scene (St James and the Magician Hermogenes). The reversal has taken place, as indicated by the Latin caption: “God granted the Saint’s prayer that the magician should be torn apart by the demons”. His fall is in full swing now. Recognizably the same as in the previous engravings are the magician and his chair, now topsy-turvy. The Saint too is essentially the same: hat, halo, staff, hand gesture, and general posture. Differences are obvious among the demons, some of whom take part in the gruesome “come-downance”administered to their erstwhile dictator. The remainder are, as it were, otherwise occupied. Comparing this “after”with the “before”picture, one may feel the demons to be protean, transient, melting incessantlyfrom one horrible guise to another. While this may be interpreted as the old “good guy licks bad guy” story – some other interpretations are;

1) it is an allegory that “the make believe kermis (circus) scene Vanity Fair, this world of human folly, will be overthrown by its own vices, which are but agents of Gods will”(Adriaan Barnouw).

2) Tolnay, on the other hand, finds this to be “a satire on the abuses of Inquisition” and a hidden argument for Bruegel’s own “religious-universalist theism which stands above the sects.”
In support of the later interpretation, we note ecclesiastics looking on approvingly from the door behind St. James on the right. Tolney calls them “blind figures, outwordly holy…who witness the murder of their fellow man with solemn seriousness, as if they were seeing a holy act.”
Hermogenes , falling upside down, appears to be “done in”. As a precaution, Tolnay suggests, Bruegel disguised this event as a theatrical scene (jugglers, performers, acrobats, carnival characters, and the sideshow announcement hanging like a flag from the back wall left center). It may be noted that dimly through the window, just to the left of the flagstaff, appear several faces of typical Flemish people, looking on, as if in amusement.

We make, but thou art the creating core.

Sunday, March 6th, 2011
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Whatever thing I dream, invent or feel,
Thou art the heart of it, the atmosphere.
Thou art inside all love man ever bore;
Yea, the love itself, whatever thing be dear.
Man calls his dog. he follows at his heel,
Because thou first art love, self caused, essential, mere.


St James and the Magician Hermogenes

Friday, March 4th, 2011
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St James and the magician Hermogenes in a showdown

St James and the magician Hermogenes in a showdown

This series is in 2 parts. I will include the first one today. The story behind this print is that the Jews had hired a magician named Hermogenes to thwart St. James (son of Zebedee). There are various versions of the story, in one the assistant of Hermogenes is converted, in another Hermogenes himself accepts Christ. In this series by Bruegel we have the following view. James has been in Judea to preach the gospel. Pharisees and Jews having hired Hermogenes to use witchcraft and magic to fight the saints miraculous powers. When the demons came upon James they cried out “have pity on us – behold we burn before our time!”…James is here in the studio of sorcery, presumably that of Hermogenes. The latin caption declares “Saint James by devilish arts is placed before the magician”. Hermogenes, surrounded by his monsters and misshapen devils sits at the left, hunched over a book of spells. The Saint shows no fear, even amid the black magic vileness and viciousness. In fact – of the two Hermogenes appears more uneasy. All Hell has broken loose in the chamber; naked witches dangle their breasts as they fly astride dragons and billy goats above…a real Hallowe ‘en broomstick witch is flying up (or down) the chimney, another is at the peak of the chimney hood top right. A diabolical toad seeks to out stare a cat at the hearth. A hole has broken through into the rooms subconscious – the cellar below, sinister monsters huddle there. The sun faced horror with upraised arms just behind Hermogenes is the twin of Satan the prince, seen in another print of Bruegels.

Such is the nature of this fantastic confrontation between saint and sorcerer. It is significant that most spectators today undoubtedly find the demonic sideshow much more interesting than the quiet strength of the Saint.