Posts tagged with: Life

Time for a Refresh

Wow, it's been a few years. Sorry about that. I'm hoping to invest more in this site now. I've added a section for illustrations to show some paintings I've been working on with more on the way. I won't go into too much detail about future plans right now because it really sucks to say something is coming soon and then not be able to deliver on it.

The good news is that even after several years, I'm still pretty happy with the site design as it stands, so I don't feel obliged to spend a lot of time doing a redesign of it. It's much more fun to be able to focus on creating new things than constantly revising old ones.

I'm trying to keep focused on Christian art, design, and culture, and to that end I've pruned a lot of old blog posts that are no longer relevant.

Stay tuned...

Dennis Jones' See With Me Bible

See With Me Bible

Last month on Easter Sunday we were the sponsors at the baptism of our friends' baby boy, Jacob. As a gift Jennifer picked up a children's picture Bible called the See With Me Bible, illustrated by Dennis Jones. I was blown away by the quality of his work.

Jones' style is lush, whimsical, and filled with humor. The Bible stories are told solely through the illustrations with no accompanying text except for a short one-sentence message at the end of each story.

The most notable feature of the illustration work are the character designs. Each character depiction is unique and easily identifiable, from Adam and Eve, Noah, and Moses through Jesus and the Disciples. They're all painted with exaggerated poses and features, each with their own subtle nuances.

While the exaggerated characters are what make the work so appealing, I found the depiction of Jesus to be a little over-the-top. He looks too much like a comic book super hero.1

Jones paints in gauche and post-processes the illustrations in Photoshop, adding a few digital effects like depth of field blur.

Many of the illustrations from the book are available online as prints. I may have to pick up a few.

  1. I struggle with our Westernized stereotypical image of Jesus. While we can only guess at what Jesus looked like we do know he wasn't a white guy. This is a topic not easily resolved, especially, I imagine, when trying to publish a children's book.

I Used To Believe

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV)

I recently came across I Used To Believe, a site full of the strange and humorous ideas people remember from childhood. I was surprised that so many similar fantastic ideas are arrived at independently among children. I never really realized that child logic, which is such a separate and independent form of cognition, would deduce so many similarities between individuals.

Here are a few of my own childhood ideas that I recalled while browsing the site:

  • Reports of Guerilla Warfare on the news conjured images of soldiers fighting armed gorillas in the jungle.
  • The television PSA's against Drinking & Driving pertained to any drink, and I scolded my mom for drinking a Pepsi in the car.
  • Every intersection in the city had a control room beneath the street filled with municipal employees whose job was to monitor the traffic and change the stop lights accordingly.

Free Books

Anyone not as fortunate as I am to own Seattle's largest book collection may want to check out these resources for free books.

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg is the largest repository of downloadable ebooks, all in the public domain. Anything from The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci to Alice in Wonderland as well as several translations of the Bible.


If reading lots of text on a screen isn't your thing, BookMooch is a site for trading dead tree books with other people through the mail. You get points for adding books that you'd like to give away. Then you can use those points to get books from other people. You can create a wish list and the site will notify you when someone has added a book you're looking for.

I've traded about six books so far. The only cost is in shipping a book to someone else, but the Post Office has a special 'book rate' that amounts to about $2 a book. It's a much better deal than you'd get at most used book stores.

Share and enjoy.

Childhood Misunderstandings

Precious Moments

When I was little, before I could read, I thought that the line in the Lord's Prayer "And lead us not into temptation" was actually "And lead a snot into temptation". By my child logic it stood to reason that because snot is usually undesirable we were asking God to bring a spirit of snottiness unto whatever would try and lead us astray.

I thought it was strange that everyone rattled this line off every week in church, but that I'd be asked to change topics whenever my conversations became preoccupied with this bodily substance.

When you're a kid, you're forced to accept a lot of things that don't make any sense. You think you'll understand better when you grow up. I'm still waiting for that to happen.

Obligatory Comments on "The Da Vinci Code"

Vitruvian Man

I know this issue has already been covered in great detail all over the place, but here's some more fuel for the fire.

We had the pleasure of attending a forum on "The Da Vinci Code" yesterday evening at a local church. One of the speakers was talk show host Michael Medved. He gave a very good presentation on why "The Da Vinci Code" phenomenon presents ideas that are damaging to our culture. Here is a summary of his key points.

Attacks Christianity

By suggesting that the Church devised "the biggest cover-up in human history", and the depiction of Christians as murderous, self-flagellating fanatics, it seems pretty clear that "The Da Vinci Code" openly attacks Christianity. The story's premise is that Jesus was not the Son of God but that the Church created this myth in order to gain power and suppress the populace.

Michael Medved is Jewish but is outspoken in his support for Christianity as a positive force in the world, especially in the US. He says that an attack on Christianity sets a bad precedent for all people of faith.

Promotes Paganism

With its many references to the "sacred feminine" and descriptions of hieros gamos sex acts, "The Da Vinci Code" promotes Neo-Paganism. Medved defines Paganism as a feel-good "spirituality" devoid of moral or ethical behavior. It's a false kind of spirituality based on self-gratification without any obedience or obligation to a higher authority.

Encourages a Conspiracy Theory Mentality

Central to the plot of "The Da Vinci Code" is a massive conspiracy put forth by the early Church and enforced in modern times by an extremist Catholic sect. These kind of wild theories are bad for a society based on democratic principles and the importance of the individual.

When people believe in powerful groups manipulating world affairs from behind the scenes, it creates a sense of hopelessness. Rather than seek to affect positive change in the world, those who indulge in conspiracy theory remain indifferent, blaming invisible superpowers for the ills of society and reveling in their own victimhood.

"But It's Just Fiction!!"

If author Dan Brown hadn't insisted on how factual his novel's underpinnings are, maybe we could dismiss the whole thing as fiction and just enjoy it as an entertaining story. But the book opens with a statement on how accurate his facts are and he's stated in several interviews that he believes the work to be truthful.

Furthermore, even fictional stories have had a powerful impact on shaping public opinion. Initial research has shown that a significant number of people believe in Dan Brown's theories about the origins of Christianity.

My Own Thoughts

If people are being hoodwinked by false teachings, we as Christians are responsible for setting the record straight. It's not enough to dismiss something because it labels itself as innocent fiction or popular entertainment.

As The Message translation of 1 John 4:1-3 states:

My dear friends, don't believe everything you hear. Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you. Not everyone who talks about God comes from God. There are a lot of lying preachers loose in the world.

Here's how you test for the genuine Spirit of God. Everyone who confesses openly his faith in Jesus Christ – the Son of God, who came as an actual flesh-and-blood person – comes from God and belongs to God. And everyone who refuses to confess faith in Jesus has nothing in common with God.

In other words, any teaching that denies the divinity of Christ is either (A) extremely misguided or (B) evil. There doesn't seem to be any middle ground in this regard, nor is there any exception made for works of speculative fiction.