Jesus on the Fence, Christ on the Cross
(Edited excerpts from e-mails to The Kiddo and a few friends, plus bonus babble)
Following is a short note and photo that were e-mailed to me yesterday by yet another visitor* to the Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese Sandwich page on my website. (Is it a hoax or should I accept that perhaps this person's choosing to write to me on April Fool's Day was merely a cosmic coincidence? I wonder.)
From: carrie ******** <*********@*********.net>
Sent: Friday, April 1, 2005 9:00 AM
Subject: JESUS ON FENCE
Attachment: Captured2005-3-3100004.JPG (0.03 MB)
The Mother Mary Grilled Cheese has nothin' on my Jesus on the fence.
The fence has never been stained or touched, just noticed it a few years ago.
Let me know what you think about this.
Hey, it's me again: Brother Dave.
It took me a moment before I realized that I was supposed to be seeing a cover shot of Christ on the cross in the photo because, due to one of the few instincts hardwired into the human brain, I, quite naturally, was looking initially for some pattern I might identify as being representative of a human face. And yes, at first I really did see an abstract face-like pattern, although not necessarily very human-like. (At first glance, I could imagine I was looking at a Shroud-of-Turin-sort-of-treatment for the face of a cheesy evil space alien that surely appeared on some arc of the Doctor Who series, probably when Tom Baker [my personal favorite] played the Doctor.) It was only after I couldn't begin to guess why someone might think she sees the face of Jesus instead of any other someone's or something's face in the stain or whatever-it-is that I then noticed the crucifix-like pattern. Hotcha! I can see! I can see! It's a miracle! Hallelujah! And Holy Hotcha again!
Well, no, I'm not really all that impressed by the quality of the image or, say, its potential for being some kinda divine sign from God. I mean, if your very own precious little kiddo child created something comparable in kindergarten art class, sure, you'd proudly put it on display for a while. But I'm thinkin' you'd probably take it down some time to put it in a drawer or a box somewhere for safekeeping and to make room for newer and more sophisticated works the kiddo brings home as he or she grows and learns and creates more art. So now, if you believe in a God and also believe that He or She is the creator of all things, well, you gotta figure that God's got the chops down when it comes to making stuff. Right? And so then, if God truly wanted you to feel compelled to stick this kinda picture on the fridge door of your soul and leave it there for all eternity, don't you think He or She would have put a little more effort and/or creativity into the work and maybe paid a little more attention to detail? Don't you imagine an Almighty would be guided, at least in part, by His or Her all-knowing prescience to be a bit less abstract and slightly more representational so as to minimize having a holy message being too easily misinterpreted as something profane (ex., the face of a demon or the aforementioned cheesy evil space alien)? ...I'm just sayin'.
But, hey, I really like the title: "Jesus on Fence" — Now that's amusing. (Although, I would have named it "Jesus on the Fence" — and I even did so when I saved the photo to my hard-drive — because I think adding the article "the" allows for a certain kind of symmetry [Christ on the Cross, Jesus on the Fence] and also it is suggestive of an interesting neutrality and/or indecisiveness that many believers might consider the antithesis of being Christ-like. [ex., "With regard to Christ's potential view on whether it is right or wrong, say, to download porn from the Internet, if you extrapolate only from direct quotes attributed to him in the New Testament, you might be surprised to find Jesus on the fence in this matter."]) (To be fair: Although Ms. Carrie used the phrase "Jesus on Fence" as the title of her e-mail to me, she also used the phrase "my Jesus on the fence" in the body of her short message. So there.)
Note: You may click here to open a separate window featuring a larger "Jesus on the Fence" photo, with boosted contrast and slightly-diminished brightness to help highlight image detail. After studying the photo to your full satisfaction, simply close that window and return to this page. —BD
And so it goes.
And so I go.
Be well, m’Dear, be happy. Know peace, know love. Find joy wherever it awaits you. Live in light, live in bliss. Bless your heart.
Love 'n' sticky stuff, Brother "Your Online Miraculous Religious Icon Magnet" Dave
*A few months back, another visitor to the Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese Sandwich page also sent me a photo of his own personally-revealed Jesus. He is an artist. And among the colors and textures of one experimental slap-dash painting he created a few years ago, he discovered that some of the schmear and nurdles of pigment formed an unexpected face-like pattern, a face that he believed to be Christ-like.
There are no existing photographs of Jesus, of course, because he lived and died some eighteen-hundred-and-then-some years before the advent of photography. There are no known drawings or painted portraits or sculptures or other representational works of art for which Jesus is thought to have posed. All the images we are taught to accept as representing Christ are contrivances, based wholly on conjecture. So if Dee, the painter of the image here [see below], is seeing Jesus in the mélange, well, I'd suggest that it might have more to do with his own personal issues and biases than it has to do with some kind of divine intervention. Me? I saw at least 4 (Count 'em, 4!) face-like patterns in the painting and none of them were necessarily Christ-like. (And yes, I'm sure all that has a lot to do with some of my own personal issues and biases, fer chrissake.)
Religious revelation or not though, I really like the painting and truly appreciate that Dee chose to share it with me. Hotcha!
Following is a copy of that message and a version of the graphic (edited by me to show only the painting, and not the easel on which the painting was displayed or the outdoor balcony on which the easel was standing or the outdoor environment that served as backdrop to the balcony scene).
From: DiMarcia ****** ********@***.com
Sent: Monday, January 17, 2005 1:05 AM
Subject: The Cross
Attachment: scan062.jpg (3.42 MB)
Being an artist, in August of 1996 I painted a picture. It was supposed to be a simple picture of a large cross on a white background. The picture is 24 x 30. The two axis of the cross are 11.5 inches wide.
The cross was made by taking a palette of mixed colors of paint, and with one vertical and one horizontal swipe, nothing more.
When the paint dried you could "I would say" clearly see the face of Christ on the cross. I was so afraid I put the picture away and in the last 8 years have only shown it to several of my friends.
Please give me your honest input on what you see in and think about my picture. You can either call or email me back.
This is no joke.
DiMarcia (Dee) ******
Another Note: You may click here to open a separate window featuring "The Cross" painting, made larger and with boosted brightness and contrast to help highlight image detail. Hopefully, this will better facilitate your own "Where's Waldo" sort of search (whether you find the exercise to be spiritual in nature, or not). After perusing the image to your heart's content, Dear Pilgrim, simply close that window and return to this page. —BD
Hey, it's me again, again: Ol' Brother Dave, still.
I'm not a theologian, not by any means. (I dropped out of a fundamentalist Christian college after my third semester, to serve a three-year hitch in the Army and then go on to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees in Radio-TV-Film at a secular state university where no mandatory daily chapel attendance or requisite religious course enrollment was ever again expected of me. Hallelujah!) It's many years now since I've been a believer. And I still have issues with organized religion. But I don't want to be mean-spirited and derisive of someone else's vision of the sacred whenever it is sincere, wherever it may appear.
And while it might initially sound totally wacky that someone can auction off for thousands of dollars a grilled-cheese sandwich that purportedly bears a holy image, well, I can easily imagine that the value of all the free PR and media exposure for the purchaser far exceeded the price paid for such a "pop icon of the moment." (Still, if Carrie ever wants to auction off her fence plank or if Dee decides to sell his cross painting, I would hope they might get even more money than Ms. Duyser got for her old cheese sandwich. I mean, Jeez, it's a freakin' 10-year-old half sandwich with a bite missing from the corner, fer chrissake!)
And that, for now at least, m'Dear Pilgrim, is all I've got to say about that. —BD
PS: Well, okay, I'd like to say just one more thing. That part in Dee's message where, after having the face of the Son of God revealed to him, he says, "I was so afraid I put the picture away..." reminds me of two verses of scripture from the Book of Genesis: God called for Adam, who replied: "I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself." God answered: "Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?" (Genesis 3:10-11, KJV). And I realize there may be no connection here at all, but now I can't help but wonder if maybe Dee was wearing fig leaves and eating forbidden fruit when he painted his painting. I mean, hey, I really don't know anything more about him than what is reprinted above. So I suppose he could be a lot more Bohemian than any of the Art students I used to hang with while working on a minor in Art at that same fundamentalist Christian college I mentioned earlier. —BD
And Yet Another Note: To protect the identities of the authors of the two e-mails reprinted above, unless they have requested otherwise, portions of their names and addresses and any other specifically-identifying personal data have been omitted. The e-mail address for Brother Dave and staff has also been omitted, but for a different reason altogether: To avoid giving data-mining search robots easy access to our address for their Spam-Spewing Dark Overlords. (Curse their black hearts! Damn them to Hell!) But for your convenience, Dear Pilgrim, links to the page listing our e-mail address appear on nearly every page of this site. Still, just because we try to facilitate easy access for you, please don't misconstrue this to mean that we are soliciting any and all images that might somehow be perceived to be miraculous and/or of divine origin, especially if "you have to squint just so." 'Cause, hey, we're not soliciting. 'Kay!? —BD
The other two pages in this trilogy of reflections on allegedly-miraculous, religion-related images are:
VIRGIN MARY GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH
NEW AGE MUTANT SATANIC TURTLES ...HERE IN INDIANA?