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greed is my god

i was brought up a catholic.  quite frankly religion and public schooling are two of the most ridiculous institutions that has ever been foisted upon me.  its childish and perhaps unhealthy for a 50 year old woman to blame her past for anything, but i will say those are two things that often times feel like two tiny yet vicious animals with locked jaws around my ankles.  i can't shake them off.  the guilt that religion has singed into my soul and the 'not being smart enough' as well as all of the constraints and hardships that sitting in a class room (and a church pew for that matter) for years on end and hating nearly 99% of it, well, lets just say i wouldnt miss it if i had a complete memory loss of all of it.

anyhow.  whats that haffta to do with this?  this cross?  probably not much.  other than i have a general annoyance when i see crosses.  that they are usually made all pretty and decorative.  supposedly jesus died for our sins on that thing.  even before him, people were put thru torturous hell, left hanging for god knows how long.  its unimaginable.  and yet, we make our little crosses so pretty and nice for our homes. to revere? to what? hold onto something? hope for something? 

and then...i'm in texas.  where i've never seen so many outlandish displays of crosses.  glittery whored up tshirts, purses...all types of clothing and bags with the damn cross on it.  it totally fucks with my head when i see a woman with big tits and a tight tshirt bearing a big ole slutty looking cross on it.  i dont even begin to understand it.  there.  i said it. it sounds foul and harsh and perhaps i'm offending you but sometimes i get so angry about feeling these things and not saying them that i have a tourettic outburst of anger that if left fumigating internally, i feel like my insides will blow up.

i've never made much art that was fueled by a sense of anger.  i've done some drawings once when i was in a dead sullen cloud that kinda scared me.  it was repetitious and painful to do.  the cross feels simple.  bearing an irony that i'm surprised i even stumbled upon.  i dont typically make 'message art'.  the found 'houston texas universal wellhead services' money clip attached on top of a small chunky slate colored cross.  the guy at the scrap yard had saved it and a few other pendant-like pieces (one of which i had made and sold already as a necklace).  it works.  i call it 'greed is my god'.  it says more than i even know what to say.  i raise my hand and will be the first to say i dont understand much about life. religion. the way of the world.  greed.  power.  money.  i dont understand people following anything out of fear.  i dont understand people not waking up and empowering their spirit without slipping into cult like organizations.  i dont understand the herd mentality.  i dont understand crosses.  i dont understand religion.  i dont understand art.


Jo Murray said…
I think you understand it all very well Paula... and you are entitled to be angry. Religion has been the cause of more suffering in this world than most other things.

PS: I hated school too.
It's all food for thought. Jo says it so eloquently, but so does your piece--simple, powerful, symbolic.
Poetic Artist said…
Let me share, Jesus is not about religion. He is about love, He gave his Life for us because He loved us ever before we were born.He did not give his life out of greed but because of Pure Love.
Love the world has no clue about.
The world knew him not but He came to forgive us of our sins. He gave his life so we could have life. .He brings peace and joy. Jesus used the simple things to show us what is important.. Jesus was placed on the cross and after he gave his Life,He was placed in a borrowed tomb. To rise from the dead..To go back to the Father in heaven..He left and when he left He sent the Holy spirit to be our comforter. My friend He died for our sins that we could have fellowship with him and have eternal life with Him. He loves you my friend. And so do I.
AnitaNH said…
Hey, Paula! Great to see you're getting into the cross thing, too!
Anonymous said…
I agree with Poetic Artist. Also, it saddens me to see the wholesale commercialization of the cross, and to some degree other religious symbols, since it seems that most people wearing them don't necessarily adhere to the symbol's meaning, be it a cross or the Hindu's "Aum", or the Pentagram --they just think "it's cool". Only God thoroughly understands the heart of the person wearing any of these symbols, so I'll leave the judging to God, and just try to understand my fellow man (or woman)where they stand.
The cross is a symbol for the crossroads, a place of decision, or choices. The phrase "carry your cross" is that- you carry the weight of the decisions/choices you've made in your life. Some people's cross is greed, some is addiction, some is loss, anger, resentment. It's a heavy cross, but Jesus offers you rest from that burden (Matt 11:28-30) --at least that's been my experience.
Lastly, an old southern preacher used to say "everyone is a preacher". Whether you believe, or you believe in unbelief, you preach your real theology in your everyday actions -what you say, what you do, what you create,how and who you spend your time/love/self with. So I just want to encourage you to keep on preachin'.
paula said…
good stuff people ....
Colleen Kole said…
Well Poetic has it right Paula and she said it well.

I don't like commercialization of the cross. But I have no idea what lies in that person's heart so try not to judge when it seems irreverent or absurd use of the cross to me. I am just hoping they believe in God.
I learned a long time ago the judging is up to God.

(There is a huge difference between fear and reverence. There is a fine line between anger and fear. )

He loves you. There is hope in the cross. Eternal hope. I am always praying for you Paula-now you know where I stand and what I am ya!
Viktoria said…
My english is too limited to perform my thoughts now,
but I totally understand you!

keep on doing writing and making "message art" !
paula said…
peace and love can exist without the belief or projection of a god. in fact i've met more truly loving caring people who didnt not believe in a god than i have who are devout christians. i think perhaps all the projections of a god have been the failings of nearly every society on earth. having been a catholic, a born again christian, and dabbling in zennish stuff...i say a healthy person sheds the layers that the world tries to cover the person with, figures out how they fit into this world and leaves it at that.
paula said…
ps watch what the bleep do we know...
Kim Hambric said…
I admire those that put their innermost feelings out there. I feel that anger. I understand it. I appreciate your putting it out there. There are those who will be hurt by your words. There will be those who diminish your words with religious superiority. There will be those that will love and care about you no matter what you say or think.

And there are those, like me, who are still laughing about "a woman with big tits and a tight tshirt bearing a big ole slutty looking cross on it. " I don't think I'll be able to stop laughing about that for a hell of a long time.

As far a religion goes . . . I'm not even gonna get started.
paula said…
KIM!!!! you said it. exactly. see you are the better writer, thinker and diplomat...thank you. i feel that...your first paragraph PERFECT. I LOVE YOU FOR THAT.
and i'm glad i made you laugh. you get it.
paula said…
hey what about my cross? :( its all about the cross gawd nabbit.
Kim Hambric said…
Paula, putting that oil rig thingy on that cross really hits the nail on the head. All nail jokes or puns are completely intended.

Oh, and I forgot to put in my little bit about judgement. I do not believe that the judging will be done by God or by Jesus or by anyone above. All judgement is reserved for those at the bottom. Those that are exploited and oppressed and used and beaten and enslaved. Judgement is reserved for them.

(I feel I need to make a little joke now but can't think of one).
paula said…
well said about judgment. i thought there was an 'e' after the g the wordcheck is making me correct it to no 'e'.
Mark said…
Paula: I encourage you to go to wikipedia and type 'cross' into the search parameter. You'll find lots of different crosses, with an equally large amount of different meaning behind them. We've become conditioned to think only of Christ when the word cross is mentioned, and that's just not the case!...
paula said…
thanks mark. mostly i have my own experience in and around the 'cross world' i'm sharing that and making some art based on my feelings about it all. i'm rather tired of deviling into religion for philosophical or theological purposes if you really want to know the truth.
paula said…
ps artistically i find myself REALLY bored with the same thing over and i'm surprised im attempting anything that has to do with a cross but it was inspired? triggered? by looking at crosses that to me basically looked the same all the time. i guess its my way of making art and challenging myself at the same time.
Anonymous said…
Paula, I love the piece and that you had the courage to put yourself out there, even though there are people out there who will be offended. The open communication that it sparked is wonderful to see. I don't think any one set of beliefs has it 100% "right". I think if one's beliefs bring them comfort and don't bring harm to others then what does it matter what that belief is?
Good on ya for getting those feelings out and expressing them through your art! Love and Light!
Lisa Fulton said…
The thing I love about Jesus is that He is the Creator and the source of all creativity. He lets us choose the paths that are inside our own spirits. He is glad when we choose good paths, and He created a way for us to be forgiven and healed when we choose wrong paths. I love the Bible because if I pay attention to its long message I can read about all that. I love the cross because it is a symbol of all that, despite how people misuse it.

Paula, I have really enjoyed all your art and your writings. You are deeply creative, a gift from God.
Tod said…
Whoa - it got busy over here. This is a great post/discussion. Paula, your observation about depictions of the cross being uninspired (creatively from wherever one perceives the source) hits home to me. What stands out to me is how impersonal many of the designs are. I'm not entirely sure of the relevance of this. It applies to any category of art/design. It just seems to me that there is an intimacy in the personal relationship with Jesus/love/earth/reality that is missing. The decorative aspect seems to take over, which does make sense on T-shirt, handbag, jewelry, etc. Eh, not sure if this adds to the conversation now that I've thought about it.

More importantly your cross rocks! Just the kind of visual bomb to carefully place inside the bathroom door where someone can digest their triggered projection (or confusion) in privacy.

Big respect to all the Christians that are still here.
paula said…
you always say the right things tod :)
thank you
Anonymous said…
What a hornets nest!
I saw and admired your cross art piece on FB. So much was going on here that I didn't click to this accompanying post and comments until now.

I, too, like and respect your honest revelations about your feelings and life to all of us out here, as well as to yourself. An unexamined life tends to be shallow and limited. I can tell you the process of examining life is unending. Perspectives change with circumstances and experiences.
Anonymous said…
Compared to what many people, including children have suffered, over the ages...being tortured for days, neclected for years, beaten, burnt slowly to death etc.. .
in comparison Jesus really only had a bad day.
I'm very underwhelmed by his sacrifice for our sin on this said cross.
Anonymous said…
I love your cross by the way, and second Todd and Kim..great comments.
paula said…
appreciate your comments, and getting some feedback about my art as that is what this is all about [for me at least]
SPARK said…
I agree with you entirely about religion. I believe in science. I believe that people make good and bad choices and that it is up to us as to whether we can forgive someone of something hurtful that they have done. I also believe that if the people that told you that Jesus loves you regardless of your beliefs that they might be surprised if I told them that Buddha loves them. That Buddha forgives them. Because to me, they amount to the same thing. Would they be offended to be told that Allah loves them? Would they scoff at the absurdity of there being such a god? None of it has religious meaning for me. I do, however, recognize that it is just one of many ways of expressing ones feelings of love and affection for someone.
paula said…
amen :)
Daphne Enns said…
Sorry P. about the above comment being signed by spark. It's a blog account that I no longer administrate but no one has bothered to take me off despite requests..

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