Thursday, October 2, 2014

To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain

In 1980, Ronald Reagan ended his candidacy speech at the RNC with this:

"I'm more afraid not to..."  The thing that is so striking about this clip, and that I love so much is that it is evident that even then this country was plagued with political correctness, and yet Reagan did not give in to it.  Obviously, Reagan had a moment of apprehension that he might offend someone... by praying.  But he did it anyway, because by not praying he knew he would be offending a much higher power.

For me, inspiration for painting can come from anywhere.  Sometimes from music, sometimes from what's going on in the world, and often it comes from my desire to silence the noise of the world.  But lately, I've wanted to speak a little louder in my work.  Recently, I saw a facebook post by the frontman of one of my favorite bands Seventh Day Slumber.  He boldly said that he felt the Christian music industry was "lost" because so many bands have bowed down to the gods of political correctness and have become afraid to speak the name of Jesus in their music.  And he's right.  But I mentioned my very favorite band Disciple before, and how they've refused to bow down to that god by going independent and literally screaming the name of Jesus in their music.

This death of political correctness is just one of the things that has inspired this painting.  That and what we've seen recently overseas in Israel and the Christian persecution in Iraq, Egypt, Syria, and beyond.  The apostle Paul says that "when one member (of the body of Christ) suffers, all members suffer with it."  It sickens me to see these satanists under the name of the "Islamic State" continue to murder in the name of their god, and not a thing being done about it.

But blessed is the one who is not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ (Romans 1:16).  The truth is that no one can take Christ away from us (Romans 8:35-38) because as long as we are alive, Christ is with us.  And when we die, we are with Christ.  This is what Paul means when he says, from his prison cell awaiting execution, "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21).  We lose nothing.  Nothing is taken away from us.  The sword is weak against God's righteousness.

To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain
oil on canvas
30x24 inches

Until now, the only thing I've posted of this painting is the symbol hanging from the figure's neck that looks like a U with a dot in the middle.  It is actually the Arabic letter nun, which would be the equivalent of the English N.  This letter was used as a marker by ISIS on Christian homes in Iraq, and stands for "Nazarene."  Lately, it has become a symbol of unity among all Christians around the world, to say that this is us too.  We have not all been through the suffering that other Christians have been through, but we are still the one body of Christ.  Some have forgotten their suffering.  Some have ignored it.  But not us.

I don't particularly see this painting being shown in very many shows or galleries anytime soon.  As much as I would love to show it, I'm assuming it would get turned down outright.  But who knows.  This is one of those paintings that I just did with no thought or reservation about how others would think or feel about it.  My Lord, my Savior, Jesus Christ is the reason I painted it.  I am not ashamed of his name, or his gospel.  I am not afraid to speak it with conviction.  I hope this painting speaks that loudly, and honors him.

1 comment:

  1. Great work Ryan! Your talent has always been impressive.