The Art Site

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Here's something I wrote a while back..
comments gladly accepted :)

The burning heat of the sun falls heavily on the group standing in the middle of the podium. They are all men here, soldiers, dressed in their summer uniforms - white linen tunics, brown sandals, belts - their more formal attire discarded because of the intense heat of summer.
They all laugh and point at something that stands in the middle of their group, we cannot see what it is yet because two giants of men block our view. Sweat rolls down the men's faces, glistens in beads on their necks and shoulders. One of the men to our right, short and balding, laughs extra loudly - cackles, and screeches out words that must be swear words. A ripple of barely - suppressed laughter moves over the crowd like the disturbance of water - like rings in a pond.

Suddenly, there is a hushed silence, heads turn around to look behind them, the crowd parts hesitatingly. A man strides through their midst. The muscles on his golden arms ripple as he swings them, his crisp, bleached hair lies in waves on his fine head. He is indisputably their leader - everything about his confident air and flung back shoulders proclaims it. His eyes flash, almond shaped, brown - he moves down the aisle of perspiring men with a careless grace. He carries on one arm a large piece of Egyptian linen, died a deep purple, like the curved insides of seashells, the colour reserved for kings and emperors only. In the other hand he is holding, very carefully, a wreath of thorns. A scratch runs down the back of one perfect hand, wet with crimson.

Men push against each other, damp tunics to damp tunics, sandals shuffling in the dusty sand, to make way for their leader, and to see what will happen. As they move we see a figure standing alone in this arena of men. He stands a little to one side, his head bowed, his arms hanging by his side. Despite his despondent attitude, there is an aura of peace about him that singles him out from the tense, watching crowd. The crowd catches a glimpse of the man's mutilated back and shoulders - cruel Roman whips have turned his back into ribbons of flesh, skin and blood. Silence grows, throbs like a living organism in its breathless persistence. The leader stands in the ring now, the chiseled head held high, arms crossed, feet apart, a magnificent specimen of manhood, taunting, defiant.

Silence. The man in the center does not look up. The leader advances, stops. In one smooth motion he lifts one hand and drapes the rich purple cloth over the silent man's bowed shoulders. Then, as if he were baiting a wild beast, he lifts the wreath of hideous thorns and with both hands pushes it hard on to the man's head. An expression of intense pain crosses the man's face, his hands clench, and he inhales in one quick, gasping breath. In an attempt at nonchalance, the leader puts his hands on his hips and looks up and down at the silent man. He strides around him triumphantly and then, right up in front of him, he kneels in the dust.

In a voice dripping with sarcasm and barely veiled anger, he says:
"Hail, King of the Jews."
The man's eyes look into the leader's eyes sadly.
"Strike him, Strike him!" Shriek the crowd, unable to bear the suspense.
The leader jumps up, raises his open palm and strikes the man hard, across the face. Instantly the cheek goes chalky white, then burning red. The man winces but continues to look at the ground. The leader scowls, his face contorting with hatred and fear. He purses up his full lips, spits. The mob raises a cheer.
Jesus. He sacrificed everything for the people He loved. Just as Jesus showed His love for us by giving us His life, so we show our love by daily sacrificing our own desires for the people we love. We seek their good before we even think of our own. We love in this strange, seemingly contradictory way because God, through His Son, has shown us how.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


Captain Wentworth: I come on business, Sir Walter.
Sir Walter Elliot: Business?
Captain Wentworth: Yes, my proposal of marriage to your daughter, Anne, has been accepted and I respectfully, sir, request permission to set a date.
Sir Walter Elliot: Anne? You want to marry Anne? Whatever for?

Persuasion is my favourite Jane Austen book now; it has replaced Pride and Prejudice forever. The contrastingly unfeeling Lizzy and Darcy have no chance besides Anne and Wentworth.

To explain: I have just recently finished reading P&P, and expected to get at least a little bit gripped by the story. Sure, I've watched it that many times, and probably read the book too much, but good books should always grip you. It was disappointingly flat, tragically hollow. Since that moment P&P lost some of its lustre and appeal.
Elizabeth, though still one of my favourite heroines, had no excellent reason for marrying Mr. Darcy, except that he was handsome, got around on perfectly groomed horses, always looked gloomily out of the window, never talked, was always offending someone, went and saved Lydia from a dire situation, had an amazing house by a lake, and ten thousand pounds a year.

He's your typical dark, melancholy hero with the good looks, who annoys and aggravates the heroine until close to the end of your story, when he does something utterly fantastic and the heroine swoons pathetically into his arms.
How sweet.

And Lizzy. Well, she's harder to be mean about because she really is the perfect heroine. She does all the right things: says witty sayings at all the right times, is not afraid of the formidable Lady Catherine, challenges the dark and gloomy Darcy, refuses to ever dance with him, then dances with him, meets the gentleman at his own house while making a tour of it, accepts the hero's proposal precisely when she ought to.

But Anne and Wentworth! Excitement.
Picture this: A young couple, one of them with good prospects in the navy, the other nineteen years of age, sweet, pretty, with a good strong mind, capable of thinking correctly and deciding appropriately. They want to get married, and explain the proposition to the girl's baronet father. The father is outraged, and the girl's friend advises against it. The girl is persuaded to break off the engagement. The young man goes off in a huff, with a broken heart and wounded feelings. He nurses a bitter resentment towards the girl, the girl's friend and her family throughout his years of service and promotion.

He comes back to England; the war is over. The girl is older now, eight and a half years have gone by, and her bloom is gone. He meets up with her, is astonished by the change. The rest of the story is devoted to what happens when he gets back, how he overcomes his resentment, and whether or not Anne will marry the dashing (Wickham-like) Mr. Elliot who plagues the pages of the second half of the book.
It is a gripping read. I've never read an Austen that has made me want to know what happens next, like I did when I read Persuasion.

Do you have a favourite Jane Austen book? Why is it your favourite, and do you agree with me that Anne and Wentworth have more going for them than Lizzy and Darcy?

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

a social moderate?

After our bible study yesterday, my brother Andy and I were talking about my (lack of) political ideology. A young lady who had been at the bible study commented that there must be some kind of quiz I could do, that would show me what my political stance was. Facebook should have it. With a few clicks Andy had the Political Spectrum site up on Mum's laptop, and was asking me the first of sixty questions. Sixty was pretty daunting but the questions were really thought - provoking, and a lot of them were about concepts I hadn't thought through before.

Before I got through the quiz I was pretty convinced that I was a strong conservative - at least, that seemed the most likely ideology to fit my ideas. But this is what the quiz came up with:

My Political Views
I am a right social moderate
Right: 4.15, Libertarian: 0.8

Political Spectrum Quiz

Well, I've never heard of a 'Social Moderate' before! It sounds sort of Socialist, except for the 'Right' part. I also surprised myself with my leaning towards libertarianism - where did that come from?
At least I know now where I am on the political spectrum, but that doesn't make deciding what I really believe about difficult issues much easier. It just seems to give me something to tell people if they ask me where I am politically - but would they understand what I meant if I did tell them? I mean, whoever heard of a Right Social Moderate anyway?

I'm keen to know what other people's political ideology is, and why they hold it. Is it something you take to it's obvious extreme so that you're being consistent, or do you stop somewhere along the line?
I'm trying to understand whether you should take something you completely agree with to it's logical conclusion, in order to be consistent, or whether you should stop somewhere. If you don't completely agree with it, should you believe it?
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