Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Jonah's Mirror

I went to a church service the other day where the congregation is working at making artistic interpretations of the story of Jonah. If you don't know, Jonah was a prophet in Israel. God told Jonah to go to Ninevah to speak to the Ninevites, but Jonah was afraid that they would kill him for doing so. Instead of going where God called him, he got onto a boat and rode with sailors to the other side of the known world. During the voyage, God sent a storm on the Sea, and the sailors asked why God had sent the storm. Jonah told them that it had come because of his disobediance, and told the sailors to cast him overboard. After much deliberation, the sailors asked forgiveness and threw Jonah overboard. The storm abruptly stopped as Jonah sank into the water. Then, God saved Jonah by sending a whale to swallow him. The whale swam to the shore and vomited him out on the shore. Jonah then went to Ninevah and preached God's word there. As a result of Jonah's words, the people of Ninevah repented and turned back to God.

I was struck by the idea of making an artistic rendition of a part of Jonah's story. I went and bought a big mirror at a thrift store (for three dollars) and some fabric. Then, I made this. I still have to fix the mirror to the back more securely, after I get a chance to do that, I'll hang it on the wall. For now, it's standing on the ground in our living room.

I'll allow you to interpret the piece. I would love to hear what you think in the comments section.


13 comments:

Jim Elek said...

It looks like a whale barfing up a prophet. What is it supposed to depict?

Joshua said...

Well, that's not exactly what I was going for, but in my opinion, art should speak for itself. If it doesn't communicate my meaning to you, then you shouldn't just take my meaning. What do you think it's supposed to depict? A whale barfing up a prophet, well then that's what you get out of it. I won't cheapen anyones experience by forcing them to hear my take on it.

gretchen said...

I think it's fantastic. You're so crafty. A 3-5 dollar project is fresh. I think it's both huge waves and calm water, indicating different points of Jonah's life. I could be wrong, but yes it is just an interpretation. Have a happy Thanksgiving if I don't talk to you before then.

Joshua said...

Happy Thanksgiving Gretchen!

I'm glad you think I'm fresh. I haven't been called fresh since...

well...

ever!

Katie said...

i think it depicts all the trial that jonah had to go through before he could see the real picture and that was that god chose him.

joel daniel said...

i think it's representative of the tentative prophet that we find in ourselves. the waves reminding us of jonah, the mirror reminding us to stop looking and go do what God has called us to be about.

and i think it's friggin' sweet. well done.

Jim Elek said...

I still see a whale, or if I look closer, it could possibly a porpoise or dolphin, but definitley some sort of larger aquatic life. This large beast of the sea definitely seems to be regurgitating someone. Now this may just be my "interpretation" getting in the way here, but this someone seems to be a prophet. This seems to be so blatantly obvious in the art that anyone with a slightly trained eye (or completely untrained as is the case with mine) should be able to see it. I am sorry if my response was not what you were going for Shua, but I am entitled to my feelings, even if they are completely wrong and off base. I wish you could be more like that guy , Daniel, who walked into a lion's den and then him and Shadrack and Ebednigo (spelling?) all walked out without even a hair burnt on their heads. And then that king said, that they were going to cut them in half and give half to the Philistines and half to the Canaanites but then the Canaanites were like, no way, the Philistines can have them, so the king knew that they were the real "chosen ones" and sent them to the land flowing with milk and honey. Then he told the Philistines that they were bad and made them all talk in languages that noone else understood and sent them nothing but manna for forty days and forty nights. Then the Canaanites landed on Mount Ararat and claimed it for their God, even though there were already people living there, and they stole the land, took the tobacco back to Europe and gave the indegenous peoples syppphilis in eschange for forty loaves of bread and leftover fish. That was a really messed up Sunday School lesson. They should be more careful about what they put in that bible what with kids reading about sypphilis and prostitutes and huge whales that eat people up and then barf them out later.

Tim 2 said...

I am crying laughing over here!

Tim 2 said...

Hmmm if it were a video game, it would get an M rating!!! Just imagine if the Old Testament were made into a game! SHIZZAH!!! Now that would really mess up all the kiddies! Kill all the men, women, children and animals!

Anonymous said...

Hey Josh - my turn! I think that when the viewer looks at the art work, they see themselves in Jonah's situation - running from God. It causing reflection within the viewer where in their own life they have strade from God's call in their life. We, all missionaries, often do not head God's proping to be a witness to those in our context.

Got your newsletter in the mail! Glad to hear from you guys and what you are doing in Wheeling! Hope you have a splendid Thanksgiving (I will be spending it being thankful for the double time through legal drug pushing).

Joshua said...

Well Jim. I don't know what to say other than obviously the CCO needs to get some ministers at Ohio University and CSU. Maybe you wouldn't have been quite so mixed up if we had done so sooner. (We like to make sure the students we work with understand the Biblical Narrative.)

But to be honest, I'm pretty surprised. You remember a whole lot more of the Bible than some of the people here who have been Christians their whole lives...

Oh, and Tim... the Bible has been rated R for a long time. That's why they keep trying to burn it.

Alex- You're just about right along what I was thinking.

Jim-Go Browns. Pittsburgh sucks.

Katie said...

isnt it amazing how the elek family can just ramble on like that and 3/4 of the time we are the only ones if not those very close to us can understand it all.

derek said...

Hello Josh,
I'm a college student in Atlanta, GA. I stumbled upon your blog while researching the ELEK test (a toxigenicity test for microorganisms) for one of my labs. I lived in Bluefield,W.Va for 4 years as a child. Beautiful.
Fun reading. I'll check back.