Category Archives: The Gospel of Christ: Of Gospel And Saints

“I’M A SINFUL MAN”: SUBVERTING TRUMP’S APOCALYPSE

In the gospel reading from Luke 5, we find the famous “fishers of men” narrative. In that passage, there’s a revealing emotional moment: Simon (later renamed Peter) drops to his knees after the second (and successful) fishing expedition and says to Christ, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” This is one of many examples that reminds me why I am so endeared to Peter.

Apart from Judas (obviously), Peter is possibly the most flawed of the apostles. Often, he is a total screw up, but he is also the apostle with the biggest heart, which is why, I think, Christ picked Peter to lead the apostles. Most of us likely would have chosen John, who, on the surface, seems far less flawed. However, Christ saw the heart of Peter much in the same way that God saw the heart of David and preferred him to his siblings.

“Peter was afraid, and when he began to sink, he cried out” © Alfred Eaker 2018
Collection: “Gospel Art: Mystics, Apostles, and Saints” (2016-2020). Acrylic on canvas. 16”x20”
“Peter was afraid, and when he began to sink, he cried out” © Alfred Eaker 2018. Collection: “Gospel Art: Mystics, Apostles, and Saints” (2016-2020). Acrylic on canvas. 16”x20”

 

It’s Peter’s rich and complex emotions that appeal to me, such as in the walking on water scene that I artistically tackled in the painting featured in this post. In the story, the apostles are out on the boat when they see Christ, walking on water, approaching. Peter gets out of the boat, begins walking on water also, and approaches Christ. However, Peter takes his eyes off Christ, looks down at the water, and begins to sink. 

I depict Peter under the threat of horrific drowning, locked in terror and fear, yet peering through all that, seeking to be saved. He was afraid, and when he began to sink, he cried out. Haven’t we all found ourselves in a similar situation at some point? Can we not find ourselves in his gaze?…  The model of Peter is ultimately an edifying one: if this frequently sinful and stupid man can seek and be granted redemption, then we all can.

 

[Detail] “Peter was afraid, and when he began to sink, he cried out” © Alfred Eaker 2018. This painting, “Peter was afraid, and when he began to sink, he cried out,” is one of several I did in 2018 with the gospel theme of Peter. They are a part of a larger group of paintings entitled: “Gospel Art: Mystics, Apostles, and Saints,” which I began in 2016 and have continued with up until 2020. The paintings are acrylic and uniform in size: 16 x20. This was a shift for me, as I previously had painted considerably larger pieces. However, I felt gospel art should be intimate and personal, much in the same way that gospel music is.
[Detail] “Peter was afraid, and when he began to sink, he cried out” © Alfred Eaker 2018
Part of the Collection: “Gospel Art: Mystics, Apostles, and Saints” (2016-2020). Acrylic on canvas. 16”x20”

 

As a child, I recall hearing a sermon on this in the white evangelical church I was raised in. The preacher was very critical of Peter,  reminding us that Peter lost faith (bad Peter), but even then I noted that Peter was the only one of the twelve who had guts enough to even get out of the boat. As I relayed (albeit fictionally) in my novel, Brother Cobweb, I was forced to read the gospels. That wasn’t very smart of my Sunday school teachers because I actually did read them, found them to be rich and satisfying narratives, but I also found that the church folk were, by and large, raging hypocrites because they didn’t model any of these, nor did they follow Christ (as he instructed).

Many of us who were raised in the religious right evangelical church have anticipated the coming of Trump’s America since childhood because we were all too aware of their lust for a self-fulfilled apocalypse. I understood, even as a child, how they distorted the biblical message. What we saw then, we see today on an epic scale. If you want to understand the evangelical empowering of Trump and today’s horror, if you want to go to the roots and subvert their Evangelical Apocalypse, then sit in the pews of a white Pentecostal church 50 years ago. Start the journey with Brother Cobweb…

“Brother Cobweb,” a novel by Alfred Eaker. If you want to understand the evangelical empowering of Trump and today’s horror, if you want to go to the roots and subvert their Evangelical Apocalypse, then sit in the pews of a white Pentecostal church 50 years ago. Start the journey with Brother Cobweb…

 

About Alfred Eaker:

Alfred Eaker

Alfred Eaker is a prolific fine arts painter and muralist, an award-winning filmmaker and film critic, and a traditionally-published author. Following on the success of his debut novel, “Brother Cobweb,” Eaker is currently collaborating with Todd M. Coe on the related Graphic novel: “The Brother Cobweb Chronicles.It will be available in the spring 2021. The audiobook version of Brother Cobweb is also being produced, and will soon be released too.

As an inquisitive American artist, he has always been deeply engaged in social, religious, and political climates. Eaker is currently working on a mural painting entitled “Elvis: An American Hymn.” Through it, Eaker is trying to bring affirming answers to issues of race, integration and hope so desperately needed at this moment in America.

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Our struggle is against principalities and powers, rulers of darkness in this world

Our struggle is against principalities and powers, rulers of darkness in this world ©️Alfred Eaker, 2019

Woe to you that are rich: for you have your consolation… (4 Woes of Luke)

Woe to you that are rich: for you have your consolation; Woe to you that are filled: for you shall hunger; Woe to you that now laugh: for you shall mourn and weep; Woe to you when men shall bless you: for according to these things did their fathers to the false prophets. ©Alfred Eaker, 2019

I AM

I AM ©Alfred Eaker 2018

This is your hour, and the power of darkness

This is your hour, and the power of darkness © alfred eaker, 2019

That which is born of the flesh, is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit, is spirit…

That which is born of the flesh, is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit, is spirit. Wonder not, that I said to thee, you must be born anew. The Spirit breatheth where he will; and thou hearest his voice, but thou knowest not whence he cometh, and whither he goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. © Alfred Eaker, 2019

And Simon Peter went first into the sepulcher, saw the linen cloths lying… and they saw, and believed

And Simon Peter went first into the sepulcher, saw the linen cloths lying… and they saw, and believed © Alfred Eaker, 2018

And he, lifting up his eyes, said: Blessed are ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of God

And he, lifting up his eyes, said: Blessed are ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of God © Alfred Eaker, 2019

I was hungry, and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me not to drink. I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you covered me not: sick and in prison, and you did not minister to me. Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me.

I was hungry, and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me not to drink. I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you covered me not: sick and in prison, and you did not minister to me. Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me. © Alfred Eaker, 2019

It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God

It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God © Alfred Eaker, 2019