As an adult, my sense of the spiritual has been nature-loving and Earth-based, reinforced by some of the beliefs of Native American spirituality and by Buddhism. Introduction to these forms of appreciating the sacredness of life in a broader, less dogmatic way, took me away from the traditional Protestantism in which I was raised for decades.
My reconnection with a loving, thinking, and progressive Protestant congregation, in which a range of spiritual beliefs are not only acceptable but welcome, has encouraged me to explore my evolving sense of the spiritual. This association has also introduced me recently to Celtic Christianity. Now my pantheistic side has been given full permission to integrate my ”pagan” beliefs into a more traditional Christian framework; at the same time also it has reintroduced some of the real meaning of the Christian message at its best. The new church affiliation also brings back some buried memories of my childhood Bible training. In this church the Bible is used thoughtfully, —as poetry, metaphor, and powerful narrative—so my appreciation has been drawn in a new way to the power of some of its passages. A hymn brought one of these passages, “every stone shall cry”, to my attention. Its Old Testament source is from the book of Habakkuk the prophet (Hab. 2:10-12), who decries injustice, saying that “the stone will cry out from the wall” of he who ”gets evil gain for his house”… “by cutting off many people”. In the new Testament, Jesus calls to mind this text to rebuke some of the Pharisees, who do not like the noisy activism of the Disciples who are calling for peace and for the glory of an alternative authority, God. Jesus says: “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out”. So, just as I have understood for a long time, here stones have the awareness and wisdom to witness injustice and then to cry out about it.
As the series of my paintings on the theme of stones crying about injustice (some with accompanying poetry) show here, this idea has stimulated poems and abstract paintings for me at this time in our history when we know too much to look the other way in the face of injustice to people, other living things, and our planet. I have included actual stones in the paintings, glued with superglue that conveniently drips and weeps. The stones are from many locations, and are usually ones that have made me pay attention to them for their color, shape, or pattern. My painting and poem, “Dust then Dust” speaks about how I hope to be someday as wise as the stones.
Each of these painting poems is an interaction with the abstract painting: During the process, the painting would change as the poem developed, and/or the poem changed as the painting developed.