what andy warhol can teach us about god

sticker combo roma 2008

Andy Warhol was one of the most influentially controversial pop artists who has a hand in changing the face of art and some may argue the way we see the world. his eclectic multi-colored approach brought life to a variety of objects and a much needed alternative perspective that invited the world to see things a bit differently than we might have been accustomed to. some might even add his work was pure commentary of how ‘pop’ the world had become. and how the act of ‘pop’ art brought the reality that we have come to place where things like marketing, top-down approaches to leadership, commercialization and consumerism to name a few have shaped the way we see the world, each other, our past, future, present and how we have come to know God.

warhols approach to pop art saw the world as already exposed to the bastardization of commercialism and sought to bring this reality to the forefront. and this effected everything. those that follow jesus think the ‘more’ time we spend with god, the ‘more’ we get our prayers answered. some might think the more ‘faithful’ we are the more ‘jewels in our crown’ we might get; when clearly the author of the book of revelation was clearly using first-century rhetoric to make a point that people will be like these influential rulers who change worlds and realities through their actions.  or the more we do, the more we get. the more we give, the more we get. yet, “the more we take, the less we become” (Sarah Mclachlan, ‘World on Fire’). maybe following jesus really has nothing to do with what we can get from god, or how many things we can do that might get us closer to him, but maybe it is more about discovering who he intends us to be, which will naturally bring us to the listed things above. sometimes when we reduce God down to a person who participate in our consumer views, he falls into this black and white photo of the white bearded guy who has the clipboard who makes sure you are giving and doing ‘more’. so, essentially, we make god who is bigger than all of this, smaller than us. andy warhols’ approach can bring us to the reality that God can be seen as a multi-colored, multi-dimensional creator and lover who is committed to us no matter how much we do or don’t do. having said all that, i think it is imperative that we should be seeking practical ways to help those in need, locally and globally.  i think when we try and figure everything out about god, it almost, over time (unintentionally) dissolves all the things we might think we know about God, which might not be a bad thing for some…so the not knowing leads us to the mystery. i have considered myself a mystic for a bit now, in the understanding that i am more attracted to the myster of god, and the mystery makes him and all of this bigger than me. this idea of knowledge bringing us closer to god is a sort of gnosis, and i think there is something valuable in wanting to know god, jesus, and his life through knowledge, but we can’t fully depend upon those things to lead us. if we do, over time, it will minimize everything. the journey is learning to find the color in the black and white, and realize that the paintings that might help us understand god are also framed and limited and that brings us to a place of simple, jaw-dropping awe…this is the place to be, to be in beautiful intrigue over how huge god really is…

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