Sunday, October 31, 2004
God spoke to me this morning, and He said, “Michael, you better not say anything snarky or dismissive about that article in today’s New York Times Magazine about American evangelicals who are establishing Christian businesses, performing faith healings in banks, conducting Bible study in the Centers for Disease Control, praying with real estate clients that they get a good price for their home, and so on.” God also said, “you know, it’s not at all weird that so many people think that I speak directly to them. In fact, if you read the article carefully, you’ll find that ‘some workplace Bible-study groups . . . feature training in how to distinguish between God’s voice and random thoughts.’ So it’s not as if people are just making stuff up and attributing it to Me.”
I said, “But God, if You’re really God and not some random thoughts in my head, don’t You already know if I’m going to say anything snarky or dismissive about these people?”
He smote me then, and let me tell you, that “smiting” is some serious shit. It’s way worse than “smacking around” or “walloping,” that’s for sure.
So I’m not going to say anything about these people or their businesses or their beliefs. I just have an innocent question about the inspirational painting on the office wall of Riverview Community Bank president Duane Kropuenske, which is reproduced on the Magazine‘s front cover. The painting is titled “Unending Riches” (you can check it out here for a better view) and it’s a portrait of Jesus standing with two businessmen in what is clearly an executive office. In the background is a generic cityscape, framed in a large window. The businessman on the right seems to be introducing the businessman on the left to Christ, who’s shaking hands and wearing white robes.
OK, so check out what’s on the wall behind the shoulder of the guy on the left. It’s another inspirational painting of some kind! Have you ever seen anything like this before? A piece of inspirational workplace art that includes, in a mise en abyme, another piece of inspirational workplace art? It’s too weird. And more important, why would this particular office need an inspirational painting in the first place? I mean, Jesus Christ Himself works for them!! They’ve already got the power of the Almighty right there, standing behind the desk with the laptop-- what more do they need?? Are you trying to tell me that even the firm that employs the Son of God has to festoon its office walls with “motivational” posters?
I just think that’s blasphemous.