Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A Device To Root Out Evil

2007-02-03, originally uploaded by feshyasdad.

I went to Vancouver with a friend this last weekend and while walking along the seawall area I came across this sculpture. I could say a lot of things about it, but this time I will leave it to the brave few who want to leave a comment. The inset shows the plaque which gave the sculpter's name and the title of his work.
So what do you think????


Pasha said...

At first glance it looked like a laser gun pointing in the ground. Then I realised it is an upside down church building. So this begs the questions- Does Dennis think that a church is a device to root out evil? Does he think this in a positive light, or does the think of it in a negative light? I would guess from his title "a device"; his use of the indefinite article implies that he thinks that this device is a foolhardy one. I would also guess that the actually thinks that the church is a device "for evil." The angle of the church looks like it has been "rooted out" and sent flying through the sky (by some explosion) and this is how it landed.
My summary is: Dennis ma man, my 19 month old could teach you a thing or too about art. You are using your "talent" for evil. (pseudo-jovialism).

Brad the Dad said...

Pseudo-wow, you really think so????

Pasha said...

:) Yes. I think that he used the indefinite article to make the church seem unimportant.
Of course I could be way off track. What is your interpretation Brad?

Nathan said...

Wow. Provocative. My first thought is that the church has often presented itself as this... a tool in God's hand to root out evil. Though this is it's claim, it's caused as much damage as any other organization or religion.
One could also argue that people of power have wielded the power of the institutional church as a tool (weapon?) to achieve their own ends.
After all, if the church supports you, God must approve too, right? ;)

Nathan said...

I'm gonna add my positive spin as well... but it's lunchtime now and this was my first impression.

Brad the Dad said...

Well Pasha, I didn't want to weigh in until near the end, but since you asked.
This sight caught me as I rounded a corner and it stopped me in my tracks. As I fumbled for my camera in the light rain many thoughts returned to me from some conversations just a few days prior. An upside down church, hmmmm. My first response was that the sculptor must be mocking the church, but then I saw the plaque with the title of the piece and the connection with those conversations seemed to solidify. I thought that the steeple would indeed be effective at digging down below the surface, and in fact it looked like some kind of gargantuan gardening tool that was ready to start plowing up the sod. It then occurred to me that the inverted state of the building seemed very appropriate. The church is designed to root out evil, but I think it needs to be turned upside down to achieve that purpose. Perhaps when we have all been shaken up (ie. turned on our heads) then we will begin to see exactly how effective a tool this can be in God's hands.
Sorry, I missed too many English classes to catch the indefinite article thing.

Brad the Dad said...

Hey Nathan,
Good to see yah here, and thanks for the link.
I can't wait to see your next spin, the first one was true. Claims and reality have tended to differ. Of course as far as using the institutional church for anything, that is quickly dwindling these days since having the backing of any church is seen as a liability in the public eye. Rightly so, I figure.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what the artist is trying to convey with this and I'm not going to try and figure it out.

Mainline churches are being turned inside out and upside down because of theological disagreements. Parishes are slowly being torn apart because of weak leadership. This sculpture conveys this to me.


P.S. I'm not really anonymous. I just don't know what password my husband has for our blog.

Chris and Suzanne said...

I would say it's original impression on me is that the church has let go of it's foundation (the Rock) and has been tossed about as a result.

That and what Suzanne already put in.

Dawson and Leona McKay said...

Here are my observations. First, the church is upside down. Second, it is unfinished. Third, the cross on the steeple is not visible. Fourth, it appears to be the work of human design, very structured and practical, while remaining lifeless.

So, I think that the artist may be attempting to present a concept of the church as a "device that roots out evil," designed not by God but by man. In short, I think the church is a representation of man's church, not God's church. It looks so bleak to me. Plus, the two most obvious things about the sculpture are that it is unfinished and upside down. He might be saying that the Christian church is lacking substance and backwards... or he might not. I'm not sure. The fact that the cross is not visible could indicate that the church is wholly the design of man, or that the cross is the foundation on which the Christian church is built (which would work against my interpretation).

I'm not an art critic, and I've never studied it, but I can say one thing for certain - the sculpture made me think. And I liked reading what everyone had to say. AND WATERWORLD IS LAME!

Brad the Dad said...

There does seem to be a thread here, eh? Everyone (except Pasha, I think) who has weighed in so far is seeing something 'misconstructed' about the church in the real world. It would seem that we are all in an awkward state or place then, huh?

Pasha said...

Perhaps it is because I am not living in Canada or Korea or Australia (all largely "Christian" countries to some extent). I live in Russia and see things from a different perspective.
Yes I know that the church has many problems. Yes it does need to be turned upside down, and believe me that the same is true in Russia.
I guess I am just frustrated by an intellectualisation of the whole subject. I have done this in the west. I saw people go round and round in circles trying to work out what was wrong with the church.
So many people in the west are sick of the "church." We knoe that is because they have not seen the real church. The church is designed to do mission. If it is not it just becomes fat and ugly. This is what has happened ot much of the church in the west. If only the church would actually BE the church.
So my inability to get in the groove with many of you is probably due to the fact that I am living in a very different world right now. Five years ago while I was living in Melbourne I probably would have been on the exact same page and agreed with all the other comments.
I do not know exactly what Dennis was thinking, but I do know that many do view the church as evil.

Let's be the church. I know that you all are. I am in the same page as you guys, my book just happens to be in the Russian language right now.

Love ya,


Pasha said...

I also think that the church is misconstructed. I do agree! Trust me. Sorry I am having a hard time speaking your language. Maybe it is because I am an Aussie too, and I not getting the nuances of your Canadian speak.

Brad the Dad said...

Hey Pasha,
When I said 'except you', I was only meaning that in your first comment you did not really state any misgivings about the church, just Mr. Oppenhiem's view of it.
No worries, mate.

Ron said...

The evil may not be outside the church. It may be that turning the church upside down will dislodge the evil that is within the church.

Pasha said...

I see misgivings in every church and glory in every church.

Rich said...

A monk once told me, "The only problem with the Church is me." Now I say the same thing, "The only thing wrong with the Church is me."

Brad the Dad said...

Smart monk.

Anonymous said...

Keep the Church!!