Sunday, 21 October 2012

Theological Definitions

Kingdom of God
The Kingdom of God is a foundational concept in Christianity. The Greek term Basileia tou Theou is used in all four canonical gospels and by Paul. Matthew also used the term Basileia tōn Ouranōn or Kingdom of Heaven when writing to Jews.

Three major doctrines are affirmed. The first is the belief in the parousia (appearance/coming) in which Jesus will return to the earth. The second is that on this return Christ will establish or completely manifest God’s rule and reign of love and justice. The third is that God will create or renovate this creation into a new heaven and new earth that will endure forever. While all Christians agree that resurrected and redeemed humans will live with God, and he with them, there is disagreement as to whether this will be an entirely new creation or one that is continuous with the current creation. Our ultimate hope is because of ‘who is coming to this world’, rather than what the world is coming to.

Jesus believed in both a current heavenly rule and reign of God, and an eschatological consummation and manifestation of that reign. This can be seen in the Disciples prayer where he taught them to pray ‘Your kingdom [will] come’.[1] Paul also referred to this now/already but not yet paradox in 1 Cor 15:24-28.

Imago Dei (Image of God)
Human beings, both male and female, are created in the image and likeness of God. No other creatures were created this way. In the New Testament the words eikon (image) and homoiosis (likeness) are used to describe both Christ and humans as being in the image of God. This is not a bodily likeness, or likeness of countenance, but rather a multifaceted, diverse collection of Godlike qualities in humanity that together may be called personhood, defined by our relations with God and others. The identity of human beings can be seen as a gift from God, intrinsic to their very being.  God is creative, creation-sharing and relational, and will be faithful to that way of relating to those created in the divine image. As part of reflecting this image, humanity was given three tasks: the God-given ability to multiply; to have dominion over the creation in terms of care-giving and nurturing; and to subdue the earth by bringing order out of disorder, drawing what is already good to its fullest possible creational potential.

Christianity has always viewed humanity as having a paradoxical but not contradictory nature – humans are both animal and spiritual; they are God’s special creatures who possess the gift of God’s own image and likeness; but are damaged goods, being both corrupt and condemned. We are only fulfilled through God’s saving grace.

The Church
For Paul and the apostles the early church was seen as the corporate community of God's people, and although made up of many individuals, is united, with Christ forming the cornerstone.[2] The Nicene Creed refined these beliefs, declaring the church one, holy, catholic and apostolic. The Christian consensus is that of a divinely-instituted community where Christ is present by his spirit, which cannot be divided. The critical and essential ideas of this unity with Christ are those of one Lord, one Spirit, one faith, one baptism. It is the ‘indispensible vehicle of Christian spiritual life, the locus of Christ’s special presence and the Spirit’s power.’[3] While there are different interpretations between Roman Catholics, and Protestants, both have a have a strong belief in the church as a sacred means of grace.

Sectarianism is one of two main alternatives to the Christian consensus, where the unity of the church is unimportant and the practice of sacraments or ordinances are rejected. Sectarianism can be seen in latter day prophets and self-proclaimed messiahs such as Heaven’s Gate and David Koresh. The second alternative is the rejection of water baptism and the Lord’s Supper by groups such as the Society of Friends (Quakers) and the Salvation Army also go against the consensus of the Great Tradition. Olson describes this as ‘a heresy of neglect’.[4]

By dying on the cross and rising, Jesus reconciled us to God so we can live forever in unbroken, creative fellowship with him in the Kingdom of God. As creatures made in the image of God, we can already begin to experience the new creation, even while we wait for the complete renewal.[5] There is a fundamental missional calling on the church as a whole, and every individual member to fulfil God's mission right where we are, and in the global mission field.

[1] Matthew 6, Luke 11
[2] 1 Corinthians 12:27.
[3] Roger E. Olson. The Mosaic of Christian Belief: Twenty Centuries of Unity and Diversity. InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois; Apollos, Nottingham, England. 2002.
Olson. 289-290.
[4] Ibid., 294.
[5] 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

Thursday, 11 October 2012

TYLER - an obituary - November 2000-October 2012

We had Tyler put to sleep yesterday, Wednesday 10 October 2012, after 11 months with us.

Tyler was my mother's dog. Since she had suffered from series of massive strokes and a heart attack, and gone to live in Selwyn Village's hospital, he had been under the benign neglect of my father.

When dad broke his kneecap in December 2011, he and Tyler came to live with us while dad recuperated. Tyler was in a sorry state. The first thing we did was send him to the grooming parlour, and get rid of the 2" matt of fur and muck:

We took him to the vet and got him vaccinated for the first time in two years, and also got his diet changed to Hills Joint Diet. Tyler suffered from severe osteo-arthritis in his hind quarters, and the stairs he had been climbing up and down at Bill's house had not done him any good.

He thrived. He stopped barking incessantly - I think he had been bored senseless. He settled in, and once the cats had learned he couldn't catch them, they reached a state of truce. His weight dropped from 34kg down to 28kg - a huge strain taken off his bones.

By the middle of this year, however, his arthritis had got worse, and the vet put him on Pentosan (I think that's what it's called). It definitely seemed to help. But over the last couple of months, the pain got worse. Then he got a tummy-bug and a sky-high temperature. We had weeks of diahorrea. Change of diet to Intestinal biccies. Painkillers. More diahorrea. Tyler spending quality time outside. Because he slept very heavily, the pain in his back end, and his struggle to get to his feet when he realised he REALLY needed to go, his bowels and bladder would often start releasing before he got out the door.

He could no longer put any weight on his left rear leg, and his right rear leg wasn't much better. He would have to literally 'unwind' to lay down on the floor, and getting up was a real struggle. He could only curl up in one direction - hence nearly identical photos - onto his right side.

Then another tummy-bug struck a couple of weeks back. The final straw was coming home from work earlier this week, after Becca had done a wonderful job vacuuming the floor, to find Tyler had gone again. The following morning, following the sound of smashing crockery (the border), I came out to find her having walked thru Tyler-shit, tracking it thru the house.

Tuesday night dad came round to say goodbye. He'd grown more affectionate towards Tyler since he hadn't been looking after him, but there wasn't much love there.

Yesterday morning I took all three dogs for a final walk along the reserve. Tyler hop-skipped along, eating lots of catshit, and generally having a great time. On the way back (and this is only about a 200m walk) he fell over 3 times. He sat on the wet grass, looking a bit bewildered and embarrassed, before struggling to his feet and continuing.

When David and I got him down to the vet's, Gary was shocked at how bad Tyler's pain actually was, and put up no resistance to our request to have him put to sleep.

Once the drug was inserted in his vein, it was over very quickly.

We cried. He was a pain in the behind, and we never really loved him, but he had been part of our family for a year.

Rest in peace Tyler. No more pain buddy.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Swap One, Abandon 6

Why release only 1 ATC into the world, when you can release 6!

Tissue prints, stamps, inks, layers and layers and layers, washi tape, and text. The challenge was Swap One, Abandon 1, but it was so much fun to make a whole batch of them. When I work out how to up/download images from my phone, I'll put up the pix of the 'hides'. And when I get home, I'll put up a pic of the one that was swapped.

This is the 'official' abandoned card  - put in the Asian Foods section of the supermarket:

And this is the 'swap' one that was sent overseas:

"That is an astonishingly beautiful card!" Thank you!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

October Resolution

I'm feeling inspired to blog.

I don't do New Year's resolutions - I never keep them for a start. But I am making an October resolution.

When I started doing theological studies, I found out I had to learn a biblical language. I decided I should learn Hebrew. Looking back, I can see that it was probably as much to impress the new 'big people' in my life, as it was a desire to learn something new. And I've been trying, off and on, over the last two years, to learn it. Then at the beginning of this year, I found out about an on-line e-learning course from an Israeli university. But it was $900! American! But the characters just won't stick in my brain - it's just so different from any language I know, and I'm mono-lingual!

On the other hand, Greek characters do stick in my brain. Because they're so much closer to English characters, maybe? I can look at a greek word, and work out what the letters are, and sometimes, what the meaning is.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I finally came to my senses last month after a conversation with someone who I hope is a new friend (and counsellor). 'How often are you actually going to use it?!' Well, when you put it like that ... there's only 1 person in my life who speaks Hebrew, and he's withdrawn from church life, so ... yeah, put like that ...

So, on to the October Resolution. Instead of studying Hebrew (or Greek for that matter), I'm going to study ART. Yeah! Really! I've got all these e-learning art courses which I've bought, looked at, but NOT ACTUALLY DONE! Plaster, Encaustic, Acrylic Painting, backgrounds, mixed media techniques ... (There's probably more, but damned if I can remember them all).

I have one more written assignment, and then a Theology exam in November, plus the remaining 5 study modules. Once they're done, it's ART TIME!

It's time to stop talking about doing it, and start DOING IT!

I've joined two wonderful facebook groups recently, which have really stimulated my desire - and in some ways my opportunity to actually create. These are Artist Trading Cards and Magically Mixed Art Community. The other site I recently joined is Swap Bot, which is an exchange site. All three are wonderful communities of artists. I've got seriously into making ATC's (Artist Trading Cards), which are 3 1/2 x 2 1/2" cards that are only traded, never sold. The small size means they can be done relatively quickly, and there's something to show at the end of it. You are not limited to a particular style or medium, which makes them ideal for mixed media.

Let's see if I can find some pictures of what I've done recently ...

Bookmarks - Embossed and decorated.

ATC Swap - Christian Letter C: Illuminated Chi-Rho. Metallic paints, gel pens.

ATC Swap - Pop-Up Card: Forgotten Memories. This one and Guadelupe (below) took about 10 hours + to do. The Swap Coordinator had a link to a You-Tube clip showing how to make this pop-up, but it was at least postcard sized, if not bigger. I had to reduce all the parts in size to fit the 3 1/2 x 2 1/2 ATC format (and I can't do maths!). I made a couple of dummy attempts before making the real ones. Then creating the 3D front decorations was another time-consuming effort - but so much fun! You hold the red part of the base, while sliding the pink striped wrapper either backwards to make it stand up, or forwards to make it lay down. The keys and clock are from cardstock. There's a little metal clasp from a fishing swivel attached to the fibres, clock and keys.

Guadelupe or Coatlaxopeuh.
The frame is made from corrugated cardboard, with diamantes and silver glitter glue blobs. The saint herself is cut in 4 layers, each piece separated by sticky-dots.
ATC Swap - Paper Free: acrylic 'skin' heart with metallic paints in the skin; held on to plastic sheet (from a notebook) by heart brads; polymer clay 'love' stamp held on by copper wire. Embellished with lace.
ATC Swap - Book Page and Stamp: This was taken from 'The Wind in the Willows' by Kenneth Grahame. I cut out the text on that page and used a selection to make a poem. The stamp is a New Zealand one from the 1920's. It's actually reversed, as I was intending to use it as an image transfer.

 ATC Swap - Summer: 3D pohutukawa tree, beach and sky. 'Summer' rub on transfer. Not happy with the word, but never mind. Added 3 fluffy red balls - meant to be pohutukawa flowers! I think this was one of the first ones I did!
 Work in progress - minibook - skewered pages. Really need to get this finished.

So part of doing more art is also getting back into making the minibooks - it kind of fell by the wayside with everything else (particularly study) getting in the way.

With Swap-Bot: Steam Punk; Victorian Mourning (3 cards); Christian Alphabet Letter D

With FB ATC group: Fall/Autumn; Coffee Lovers; Alternative Hello Kitty; October Lottery; NYC; George Tooker; Completely from a Magazine, book or newspaper; Carousel Animals; Tattooed Owls; Steampunk; That Jolly Old Elf.

Wow! 13 Swaps - most are 3 card swap - I have to make 3 of each theme. That will get me working, won't it!

So the intention is to blog about each ATC as I do it. I'd also like to try to put up some tutorials of stuff I've learned, that others might be interested in. Maybe I'll get more followers - who knows! It's all about me on this one!