Yes, the title of this piece raises eyebrows. The inspiration for this piece was from The Acts of the Apostles, the first book in the New testament after that four Gospels. The Book of Acts supposedly relates the trials and tribulations of the early church right after Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension.
The first order of business was to draw lots (gamble) in order to select a successor for Judas, who had hung himself to death.
This piece is based on Acts chapter 2, verse 44:
…and all those believing were at the same place, and had all things common…
Young’s Literal Translation
I prefer Young’s Literal Translation to the New Testament. Young was an interesting character – fluent in ancient Greek – he actually believed that Greek was the language spoken in Heaven.
His translation was a literal, idiomatic, word for word translation from the original Greek. However, it matters not which translation or transliteration of the New Testament you rely upon, all are in agreement as to the meaning of this verse – they all lived together, and had all things in common – Communism. You can’t get around it, you can try to explain it away, but if you accept the written “word” as the final “word”, unchangeable and not contradictory ever, because god never changes, then you must accept this as an impartial explanation of the early church.
Of course, any student of scripture understands that this arrangement soon fell apart – within the next five chapters, in fact. However, it describes an ideal – and ideal that most biblical historians agree is a “Christian” ideal.
The impetus for this artwork – and the “in-your-face” labeling thereof – was a major contradiction I observe more and more of fundamentalist, bible-thumping believers. As the radical fringe of the Republican party embraces the lunatic fringe of religion, a common battle ground centers on social welfare programs.
Now, let me be clear on this point – any person that denies that there is a ton of waste in government is delusional. Any person that denies that an extremely large percentage of recipients of government largesse are not on the take, and guilty of fraud, is a likely candidate to receive a deed that I have to a certain bridge. You can’t beat the price!
But we run into vocal pundits from two extremes. One is the religious right that would cut all benefits, claiming that everyone should be required to work, or starve, and that god will help those in need. The liberal leftist would hand out money willy-nilly, with no accountability whatsoever. Somewhere in between the extremes is a happy medium.
I am not going to worry about the liberals – the point of this sculpture was to point out the hypocrisy of the right-wing fringe of fundamentalism. All too willing to commit the sin of omission, it is verses such as this that many believers would prefer to pretend didn’t exist.
Communism is evil, Satanic even – godless… and rather than study the reasons communities fail (hint – the human condition) they toss out the baby with the bath water. While preaching love (agape – unselfish) they find ways to justify greed and selfishness – and do it in the name of religion! If the religions of this world would do more to practice the gospel and less time worrying about legislating their own brand of morality on every unbeliever, a world of grief would be lifted.
James 1:27 (again, from William’s Literal Translation)
religion pure and undefiled with the God and Father is this, to look after orphans and widows in their tribulation — unspotted to keep himself from the world.
Wait – I though god hates fags that poverty was his judgment for TV shows like Modern Family. and He wants his chosen people to picket funerals and to harass unbelievers – displaying His hatred towards the unclean, all in the name of Christian love…??
My point? If every church – entities that do not pay taxes – did their part to support the homeless, poor, imprisoned -if they used their tax exempt status as an excuse to actually help the helpless and at-risk in society – then we might not be arguing about cutting funds to government social programs – all of which are abused and counter-productive if one were to simply go by the numbers. When government bureaucrats tell families they would be better to split in order to qualify for funds – when bureaucrats tell husband and wife to split in order for one receive critical medical care – something is out of kilter. And this, my friends, transcends political boundaries and religious affiliations – this all comes down to being a decent human being.