Dragons of St. George
This painting is about tolerance and communication, more specifically, the deluge of intolerance due to the limits of language and experience. I use George, the Patron Saint of England as the symbol in helping pave the way out of religious intolerance as a result of the self inflicted near genocide of Europe, not from Muslims or Visigoths, but from within the family of Christianity itself. The inability of language to communicate a single ultimate truth birthed the intolerance that led to one of the most merciless and devastating periods of history from 1618-1648 known as the 30 Year War. Based on an omniscient deity’s poor communication skills, the resulting intolerance between factions of two different “readings” of the text led to one of the most destructive wars in European history. So great was the loss of life, that one third of the population of Germany was destroyed as well as a third of the Czech population. A Christian bloodbath between Catholics and Protestant Calvinists over a text in Matthew 16, “And I tell you that you are Peter , and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” The Catholic Church claimed it’s authority from a succession of popes stemming from Peter. But was the “Rock” actually Peter – or his confession of faith?” This was the spark that lit the fuse that ignited the flame.
George’s mirrored tunic reminds us that we are each reflections of our own selves born in a different place, unto a different set of circumstances defined by a different set of interpretations. Would Pat Robertson be the same person he is today if he happened to be born in Tikrit, Iraq instead of Virginia? He would, except he’d be a Muslim cleric shouting death to infidels. Would Vladimir Putin be just as ego driven and power crazed if he were born a mere 58 miles to the east of Russia? Yes, but he’d be the mayor of Wasila instead.
The little Fire Chief car reminds us that the fires of intolerance are great, but there is no great super fire engine to extinguish them. Only millions of small ones, each doing its part to put out and contain the persistent brush fires of hate fueled by fear and insecurity. And the dragons, the self manifested evils we create in our minds in order to have a foe, an enemy to do battle with, to give us a sense of identity and belonging to a cause regardless of its validity.
Just shapes we see in the clouds based on a prejudiced and ignorant view of reality. It’s ALL just particles in the wind.