September 22, 2016
For those of you who may not live in Grand Rapids, you should know that this Western Michigan metropolis hosts “the world’s largest art prize based solely on a public vote” (http://www.artprize.org/history/story). It is also “the most-attended public art event on the planet” (http://www.artprize.org/about), and should be approaching half a million visitors before long! Now in its eighth year, it has a burgeoning reputation among artists in visual media, plus fresh incursions of music and performance. Art Prize has kicked off our autumn season for two-and-a-half weeks since 2009. This fall, the Eighth Annual Art Prize is scheduled for September 21-October 9.
Last year, after Art Prize was under way, I decided to print scores of copies of my shortest writings on the premial Atonement in order to hand them out here…somewhere…somehow. I settled on a box. Not a soapbox, just an ordinary pasteboard box that had hosted the new range hood for my daughter’s stove. Perfect! I turned it inside out, cut a hole for my head, trimmed here and there. After further shopping for supplies, I settled down to a bit of …”art.” Since I was daring to stand in good-naturedly for a deity, I jimmied a halo out of glo-sticks, tape, and a yard stick. I was able to locate a dandy fool’s cap (with bells!) that doubles as a shimmering multi-colored crown!
Bingo! “God in a Box”! At least that was the come-on. I stenciled “HAVE YOU PUT GOD IN A BOX?” on the back side, plus assorted phrases such as you might see on boxes containing fragile, flammable, or dangerous contents. The front side declared, “THE GOSPEL AS YOU’VE NEVER HEARD IT B4!” If you’re already a visitor or follower of this blog site, you know what that means.
I finished the funky waterproof-felt-tip-decorated piece of street art only on Saturday of the final weekend of Art Prize 2015. So I had barely enough time to try it out at select venues. I kicked off the adventure Saturday night just before dark, handing out a copy to anyone I came across, usually with a few words about the Good News they were about to read. On Sunday, I occupied a high-traffic area in front of the Bob for much of the afternoon. My daughter and her boyfriend dropped by and captured the moment in some snapshots. Then I started meandering around to distribute on the hoof.
Over those two days, I distributed over 300 copies of a half dozen of my shortest pieces on the premial Atonement. Most were only a single sheet of paper, others were two sheets, stapled. I was thankful for my children having encouraged me to “get it down to only a couple of pages, Dad…or just one page…or even half a page! Then I’ll read it.” So I took on the challenge to summarize decades of reading, thinking, and writing down to the basics. It was an extremely valuable exercise in distilling all I had learned from concordant analysis of the Bible as well as plundering the entire history of scholarship on the Atonement. That compelled me to decide what was absolutely essential to communicate. How well I succeeded you can, of course, judge for yourself, either by reading the papers at the top of this site, or coming across me downtown over the next couple of weeks.
That’s right. I kept that box handy in my apartment all year as a cheerful visual reminder to get an earlier start this time around! So if you should happen to be reading this blog as a result of following up the link at the end of any of my handouts, good on you! The six titles I’m distributing are as follows (in order of shortest to longest): 1) What If, 2) God’s Proclamation of Pardon (in a nutshell), 3) The Gospel Pure and Simple, 4) The Resurrectionary Atonement, 5) The News of Christ’s Victory (2p), 6) What Is the Gospel? (2p).
Feel free to blame me for any unaccustomed jargon you may come across, such as my occasional substitution of “wholesome” for holy, or using “agelong” instead of “eternal,” or “explanation” for word, etc. But these are mere preferences, based on my attempts to find superior English translations for biblical terms. But the real meat and potatoes of my writing is the attempt to represent the New Testament Explanation (!) as accurately as humanly possible. Let any controversy begin there. I would sincerely appreciate your feedback!
Now, if you’re a first-time visitor to this blog site, you should know a couple of things. This is not a typical blog. It actually amounts to a public-access storage facility for my notes on the Atonement (mostly), going back several decades, and premiered here for the first time. They are entered chronologically (again, mostly). That’s why I suggest folks “begin at the beginning” with the “About” page and first few blogs, which define some important terms and mention some key authors. (Recently I started rereading the blogs from the beginning in order to catch typos and do a bit of rewording and copy-editing. There’s nothing that can’t be improved!)
You’ll notice that the usual blogroll down the right side is occupied by authors and their writings. It’s an extremely abbreviated list, which I hope to expand when I can find the time. I limited myself to some of my most important sources, and whatever I could find online by and about them. (I hope to finish typing up a much more “complete” annotated bibliography of the most illuminating scholarship on themes related to the Atonement and then post it as a “paper” at the top of the site so anyone can investigate further.)
You’re most welcome to join other “followers” of this site. Just know that, for the time being, I’m “back-posting” most of my daily blogs. Currently I am filling up the month of January 2015. This allows me to accommodate several series of blogs other than my “Atonement Notes” from earlier years. I don’t know whether any other bloggers use their sites in this fashion, but it’s a main the reason why I even got started in the first place. What a fabulous way to prepare to write a book on the Atonement, right? And in the meantime, other folks can study and evaluate and comment on their contents. Which is to say, please feel welcome to add your feedback. I’ll try to get around to them reply as soon as I can! (Don’t hold your breath, please!)
I wish a great big blessing from the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ to all of you who found your way here!