"Her work of art contains, from top to bottom, the following Wapirra (Trinity) Jukurrpa. As usual in the iconography used at Yuendumu, humans are represented by U-forms. Inside the brown, nearly closed arc at the top of the painting are people who live outside of the community of Christ, people who are not yet filled by the Holy Spirit. In the left center of the painting are three more U-forms; these people have begun to turn toward the Christian faith. The nearly closed circle at the bottom of the painting shows the same people as at the top, now filled by the spirit of God and living in Wapirra into all eternity. The Holy Trinity of Father, Son and the Holy Spirit is represented in the form of three brown semi-circles in the middle right part of the painting."
This is another painting of the daughter of Herodias dancing, this time with more faithfulness to the cultural context. I cannot say much about the dancing style (maybe Lucy could comment from a dancing perspective?) but the reclining posture of the aristocrats and the musical instrument seem much more authentic.
This week I have been exploring Christian art related to the dance of the daughter of Herodias (Salome in some traditions) and the beheading of John the Baptist.
In many paintings I found the dancing and beheading scenes were mingled into one. In some cases, in so graphic and erotic a way that there seems little doubt that the artists were seriously toying with necrophilia motifs. I have spared you the worst.
The story is obviously charged with an atmosphere of political corruption, but I think that's taking artistic licence a wee bit too far don't you? Even the nakedness (seen left for example) is completely speculative as all the Bible says is, "When the daughter of Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests."
The key theme of the story, the foolishness of Herod and the faithfulness of John, tends to get lost in the titillation.
What do you think about Mormons? Are the Christian? This is a question I often get asked in interfaith conversations. Sometimes it is asked by Christians who are unfamiliar with Mormonism, but more often it is asked by non-Christians. Sometimes it is asked out of genuine curiousity, but more often it is asked in order to "expose" divisiveness within Christian ranks. So that it can be said, "Why should we believe any of you when you each say each other is wrong!"
This, however, is disingeneous, because the differences between Protestants and Mormons are of a far different order to the differences between Protestants and Catholics. Christians may disagree over peripheral issues, but the three largest branches of Christianity - Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox - all agree over the essentials, all agree that God is Trinity. There is no divisiveness here between Protestants and Catholics here, only unity.
This, however, is precisely where Mormons differ. In the essentials. So much so that I am inclined to say: Mormanism is to Christianity, what Christianity is to Judaism. A new religion, even if it shares ancestry to the old.
From discussions with Mormons themselves, however, I have found a different approach may be preferred. You see, we have found ourselves mutually agreeing that an acceptable label for Mormonism is non-Trinitarian Christianity. This puts Mormans in the same boat as Jehovah's Witnesses, Christadelphians and Unitarian Universalist Christians. Even though I consider Mormons to be even more unorthodox than any of them, I find it acceptable as it acknowledges their Christian ancestry without brushing aside the very deep differences in their understanding of God and Jesus. And it seems they, at least the ones I have conversed with, find it acceptable too. So in the answer to the question: are Mormons Christian? I would now answer, yes, but not Trinitarian, so it is a very different kind of Christianity. A kind of Christianity where Christ is not one with the Creator, as he is for Orthodox, Catholics and Protestants.
For a few years now I have been keeping an eye on supernatural fads moving through popular culture. We have had witches (till they got too fluffy), vampires (till they got too sparkly), and I wonder if zombies finally jumped the shark with the Rom-Com-Zom flick "Warm Bodies". "What's next?", I have been wondering.
Now I am hearing more and more murmers of Satanism and Satanic Panics once more, as all things 80s seem new again. Okay culture watchers, over to you. Do you think Satanism could be the new black?
I hope you hear my cynicism here. During the witch fad I used to say, "Harry Potter is to real witchcraft what Fred Flintstone is to real Anthropology." I expect to be saying much the same when whatever movies come next start rolling in.