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Artwork by Amos Oaks
I’m sure you’ve seen the bumper sticker that reads, “Coexist”. The characters are made up of religious symbols and aims to include every religion implying this false idea of progressive change. The truth is that we have coexisted with people of different backgrounds and beliefs since the beginning of time. The Bible is packed full of stories, all kinds of stories, about people coexisting and what that reality entails. Frankly, that bumper sticker annoys me.
I’ve culled and re-purposed an old engraving of Ezra rebuilding the temple with the word "Coexist" for this illustration. As this image points out, this was a period of cleaning up a big mess from wars related to coexisting. It is about rebuilding identity in the midst of all of this destruction and figuring out how to put all things back in order.
I think what we, as Christians, should take from that word displayed in that way, is a heavy heart. What is today’s Christianity in a Coexisting world? How do we stick to our personal values while associating with people different from us? The answer is very clear: Jesus. If we truly live like him, not only can we Coexist, but we are like a rebuilt temple. We stand out - new and bold. People don’t see us and all the mess we can be, but they see Jesus and want that. I love the lyrics of Keith Green’s song, "Because of You." The opening verse says, “People smile at me ask ask me what it is - That makes them want to be just like I am - So I just point to you and tell them, yes it’s true - I’m no special one, I’m just one man…” So you can rebuild and rebuild all you want, but you will never successfully Coexist without that firm foundation. -Amos Oaks
Chronicles can lull you to sleep if you aren’t careful. It opens up with a really long list of names. Then it gives you a really long list of names. On in to 2 Chronicles, you get bunches and bunches of names. I guess that’s what it’s about though. Names. What’s in a name? A person, a lineage, a king, a history, and everything that goes along with that - good and bad. These names go all the way back to Adam and are the root of what has brought Israel where it is at this point. There are unforgettable names in this list that are the pulse driving God’s story.
I culled the beginning section of Adam’s Chart of History for 1 & 2 Chronicles illustration. (I highly suggest you buy a copy of this chart for your own enjoyment and a nice visual shot of history.) This chart is wonderfully and richly illustrated with images and…names! These names are brought to life in this chart in a way that helps a visual person like myself connect dots. Chronicles may translate as dull in the beginning, but it is so unbelievably full of life.
I hope that as you connect with this book that visuals will overflow in your mind and give you a sensory overload. I hope it engages you with the importance of who you are, what you are, and where you are in this history. -Amos Oaks
"Fanboys would have loved to have lived during the 400 or so years that cover First and Second Kings. The content is rich with heroes, villains, gods, wizards, magicians, mystics, and…kings. It is very much like what quite a bit of fanboy material has its roots in. Everything from Star Wars to Lord of the Rings to The Avengers. These are classic tales of good versus evil. It might be summed up by quoting the Book of Luke - From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded, or by quoting the Book of Spiderman - With great power comes great responsibility.
I chose to continue this idea of pop culture with an image of a gritty Steve McQueen type dude on a motorcycle pulling an eccentric on a chariot. I guess it’s a tough angel pulling Elijah to the heavens in a bizarre chariot of fire. With so many stories and images to ponder, I figured this one might be the most memorable, and could easily be paired with imagery like Gandalf battling the Balrog…Enjoy!" -Amos Oaks
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