Friday, March 29, 2013


I don't remember where or when I found the bone/skeleton which inspired this assemblage nor do I know what creature once animated it. But its extraordinary ressemblance to a crucifixion immediately struck me. I inserted a thin strip of wood behind the 'crucified figure' but otherwise altered nothing. A small palette knife painting I did a long time ago provided a Middle Eastern kind of landscape and two small stones plus a suitably deep frame completed the scene.

Even though I was brought up Catholic I have never felt I fully belonged in that tradition - there are too many things I question and disagree with, and that goes for all religions. As I try and usually fail to explain whenever the subject of faith comes up, I do believe in God but I don't believe that God is a member of any human religion.

The concepts we are taught, whatever culture we come from, are merely the opinions, the points of view of human beings, shaped and solidified by repetition over thousands of years. But faith itself is something else. It has an independent existence which is not necessarily the result of any kind of indoctrination. Some people are believers because they've never questioned their tradition, some because they've been converted to or have freely chosen a particular tradition. But some simply 'have faith' - it is part of them, like their name or the colour of their eyes. It's not a crutch, not a consolation for all the suffering life doles out, and not an explanation. Inexplicably and illogically, it just is. That's my position. 

That a crucifixion should be the main symbol of a creed which, before becoming institutionalised as a religion, was based on love - love of God and of our fellow humans - seems to me very strange. Couldn't they have made a logo for love instead of suffering? Suffering is always unjust, unfair, tragic - whoever it afflicts and for whatever reason it happens. Jesus on the cross did not deserve to suffer. No one deserves to suffer. 

On this Good Friday I send love to all who suffer, whoever and wherever they may be, and may the God they believe in, or do not believe in, bring them a resurrection.



addon said...

Good words Natalie. Dave Allen, that Irish comedian, used to end his shows by saying "May your G/god go with you" which I always thought, still think, is a good wish.

Me, I believe in no god, but unshakeably believe in goodness - I have a sort of pantheism.


Beth said...

Thank you for that sentiment, Natalie -- it's very much what the Dean expressed today in his meditation, which was also about the weirdness of the cross as a symbol of love when it was an instrument of torture and death. It's a good day to stop and think about those who are suffering, those who have suffered, and to pray for courage and fortitude to do better.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Adam, I well remember Dave Allen's parting wish. I always liked him a lot - one of the great Irish wits.
Have a happy Sunday tomorrow, filled with goodness.

Beth thanks, and I wish you a happy Easter too, filled with love and joy.

Hattie said...

Yes, exactly. And I love your work.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Thank you Hattie, and I hope your Springtime is a beautiful one.

Anonymous said...

Great post for Easter time Natalie, thank you; despite the organised churches best efforts to dissuade me from having anything to do with them I still have my faith and I love that construction with the crucifixion bone, very meditative and great hot deserty colour

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Phil, I'm glad this post resonates with you. Sometimes an image can say much more about the mysterious subject of faith than any explanation, analysis or preaching.