Art, Justice, & the Border

It has taken me all of one day to get off my publishing schedule here on Faith on View. I should have known that would happen. Once I start writing again, more ideas come to me and sometimes those ideas come with some urgency. So I guess, I should say that Faith on View will publish articles every Monday and more… when we see fit. 

Today, I see fit. Yesterday, I was sent a message on Facebook by a friend encouraging me to check out a Rolling Stone article, entitled “Scenes From an American Tragedy: The Texas Border Crisis”.

.

Drawing by Molly Crabapple

Drawing by Molly Crabapple in an American courtroom near the U.S.- Mexico border, 2018

The Journalist Artist

The author of this article and the woman in the video below is Molly Crabapple. Molly is an artist and journalist living in New York City. I don’t know Molly, nor had I heard of her. But, my friend described her as a friend and hero of his so I had to check it out. What I found was incredibly powerful. Molly has done her journalistic drawings all over the world. This project though wasn’t in Syria or Guatemala. It was in the U.S. visiting our very own tragedy of justice. 

Art & Justice

I think Molly’s description and drawings about her experience at the border are worth considering. I’ve been working on issues of art and social justice recently as I’ve been working with Chicanx art. Molly’s work is an excellent example of using art to address these very challenging issues. I love the inherent human dignity that her art recognizes in the people, despite their challenging circumstances.

The Christian Voice?

But my friend, who is the son of a pastor but no longer claims Christianity, asked, “Why are there no Christians reporting on this? Doesn’t “the least of these” mean anything to the ones who claim to love Jesus?” This is a fair and important question. Molly, who as far as I know makes no claim of faith in Christ, is doing exactly what artists of faith should be doing. She is showing the Imago Dei in these oppressed people and bringing light to their plight. 

I’m not saying all Christian artists should be doing what she is doing. And, I’m not saying that no Christian artist is. But, the collective cry of the Christian voice today has very little to do with issues like this. We are more likely to find evangelicals (yes I know they are not all of Christendom, but they are my tribe) today who are apologists for Donald Trump than defenders of the weak. That concerns me. It should concern all who claim faith in the thrice-holy God who admonished his followers, through the prophet Micah, “to do justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.” (Micah 6:8) 

Too often, as a community of believers who testify to our faith by our actions, we fail to display justice, mercy, or humility. We follow bombast, rather than displaying mercy. We turn away from pursuing justice to rest in our comfort. We walk without humility, which should lead us to question if we are walking with our God.

A Time to Learn

I hope we can learn from Molly’s example. I hope we can learn from my friend’s question. Does “the least of these” mean anything to us? If we love Christ as we claim they must. Christ said that what we do them we are doing to him. Right now, that would mean we are mostly ignoring him.

Rondall

Rondall Reynoso is a NY educated artist, art historian, aesthetician, and speaker. He is a college professor and academic who is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in art history and aesthetics in Berkeley, CA. Rondall has shown his work extensively in over 80 exhibitions internationally.

For the Love of Quotes

"Art is not a pleasure, a solace, or an amusement; art is a great matter. Art is an organ of human life, transmitting man's reasonable perception into feeling." - Tolstoy

Pin It on Pinterest