A Thousand Words

Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. (1 Peter 2:11–12, NIV 1984).

My Musings – “Norman Rockwell is known for his portraits of small-town American life, featuring adorable children and happy grandparents. His work was incredibly popular in its time, and his paintings graced the covers of the Saturday Evening Post, a magazine that championed middle-American values through the depths of the Depression to the postwar era. While Rockwell’s work struck a chord with the American public, that was not the case with art critics. They generally found his paintings to be sentimental renderings with little social or artistic value.” (Peter Feuerherd, professor of journalism at St. John’s University in New York).

I don’t know if the above painting was Rockwell responding to his critics with the only “words” he knew, but I find a touch of irony (“appreciation” of the art they might like within his) in it. His “picture is worth a thousand words,” conveying its meaning or essence more effectively than a mere verbal retort.

There were words a plenty in each and every Rockwell painting. A story to be interpreted by each one who saw them, with whatever “chord” he struck with them. Sentimental? Many were, yes. Amusing? Frequently. Satirical? On occasion. Little social or artistic value? I heartily disagree.

There once was a time when Christianity also “struck a chord with [a significant majority of] the American public.” But “that was not the case with [its] critics,” which has increased in frequency, intensity and its ability to influence that same American public. Once held in awe and wonder, the Scriptures are (at best) viewed as “sentimental [ramblings] with no social or [altruistic] value.” It may be the same in your country as well.

My Musings – It remains for the faithful “remnant” to “paint” a different picture than the critics, by living and loving as Peter suggests in the above Scripture. What kind of picture are you “painting” with the life you are living? What kind of story is it telling? Good enough to silence the critics, “though they accuse you of [being] wrong?”

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