Thursday, January 28, 2010
I am tempted to say that the biggest "name" at the Epiphany Explorations conference was the biggest bust, but that would be overstated and unfair. Still, I was somewhat disappointed by the two hour presentation by celebrated Canadian painter, Robert Bateman. This product of a United Church Sunday School in Toronto had a number of important things to say about caring for creation. But he simply didn't use his own body of work sufficiently to illustrate his passion for the Earth. As a speaker he is a good painter!
He did use the projection screens to share with us what he has apparently termed his most important work, a haunting image of a dolphin and an albatross caught and drowned in a drift net. For this painting he procured a piece of drift net and applied it over the painted images. He pointed out that an estimated one million mammals and one million sea birds perish in these nets each year, not to mention the countless tons of fish "bycatch," those species which become entangled in the nets but are tossed back into the sea, dead, because they have no commercial value. He said that he didn't want to offend us, but for him this was a crucifixion scene, God's creatures sacrificed by uncaring humans. I found this to be the most profound and moving moment in his presentation.
Are you comfortable with his use of the term crucifixion? Should we feel sorrow for dead birds, and dolphins and fish, the way we feel sorrow for those who have died in Haiti? Do you still think it is possible to change our destructive ways for the well-being of planet Earth?