Eighteen months ago our company was a start-up, only 6 months old when members of The Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus asked us to develop a jewelry line. The concept is to create a stunning line that will help The Order raise funds for their philanthropic endeavors. With this vision in mind, a jewelry line was born.
These are the CAD representations. We have the first ring finished awaiting setting of stones. The other pieces are still waiting to be finished, taken from drawing to solid jewelry. And this is where I am asking for some help to speed the process up. With this jewelry line going, we can help some hurting families and friends all over the world in a small way. That has been my goal from the beginning, compassionate help for the poor and hurting. So I hope you will take a look at our project more in depth, and consider contributing to it.
There are different perks for different levels of support, including a chance to receive one set of the earrings or cufflinks pictured in this folder. A random contributor will be receive a $200 shop credit as well.
You can help us in a few ways:
Pray for our project
Buy from our selection of products
Share the link when you see it in order to get the word out
Make a contribution through Indiegogo by following that link.
Thanks so much for your time and support!
Since Hussein’s Anfal campaign, I have spent a lot of time researching genocide, democide and ethnic cleansing around the world. I began as a political conservative, moved back and forth over the course of my life and I always thought I was a mix of liberal and conservative ideals. In the course of life though, I really think I am rejecting human institutionalism and embraced a perspective based on limited institutionalism and deeper relationality.
Humanity has created institutions based upon ideological foundations that often begin with noble intent but over time morph into oppressive estates. It an be nationalist, tribal, cultural, religions, political or economic, but in the end all systems move toward centralized power. This is the will-to-power inherent in all humans. It is an aspect of the human condition that we must resist, and we must name.
From the grave, they cry out. Victims of the quest for power. Leaders climbing over a mountain dead bodies to reach the summit. In the 20th century, more people died at the hands of their own governments than in all the wars of history. This is the reality, ground stained with blood in the name of flag, belief, practice the suppression of “lesser” people. With muted voices, parents of Nigerian children, girls and boys sold into sex trafficking, those “collateral damage” people that surround terrorists, victims of terror and war, and so many more cry out for justice.
This reality has been the pain of my life, this cry haunts me in it silence, convicts me in its suppression. This is the wound that will not heal in my heart and soul. I am part of the violence in the world. That was the dissonance that my mind could not navigate. We are part of a world system rooted in the will to power, our institutions, systems, politics, ideologies and idols reek of this fundamental truth: we climb over each other in the quest for the power. To that end, we form relationships that are fundamentally extrinsic to our being. You have heard this in a more down to earth way: its business, nothing personal! Equipped with that untruth, we have omitted every atrocity that can be can be dreamed up in the name of a flag, language, ethnicity, tribe, religion, philosophy or any other identity we append to ourselves.
But Abels of this world, from the one I drew all the way back to the first murder depicted in the Bible and sadly likely until the end of time, cry out, “I am your brother, your sister, your parent, your child, your friend.” If they are correct, relationships are intrinsic, they are a part of our being. If this is true, then every part of business and how we conduct our lives in the treatment of others is personal. This is the message of Jesus in telling the parable of the Good Samaritan. The implication of the story is that the world is our neighborhood and we are our neighbor’s keeper. This is the longing I felt in seeing the bodies and comforted the grieving onlookers, for a connection, for their story before the ethnic cleansing. Here IS a human being, my brother or sister in the human family, separated by others addicted to the quest for power.
The original photo I took for an organization in 2004, near Kirkuk. It is one of the first drawings I did after my counselor suggested I use art to express what was going on in my head. I think at last, I can put words to the anguish in some moments of life, the rage, the pain. Have I walked through the dark valley long enough? Have I carried the guilt long enough? My arms and legs are tired, strength is gone, God be my guide.
Gazing upon a broken world, sometimes I get tired
Of tears rolling uncounted, down innumerable cheeks
Hunger, homelessness, poverty, illness
Ellas danzan con los muertos
The ache of loneliness plain gray walls of prison
the soul walled in where do I find peace?
and in those times of justice denied
Ellas danzan con amores invisibles
How do we build peace? Is there nothing more
than surrender to the flame, the shot and shell we know too well
Horsemen four they ride far and wide
Ellas danzan con los desaparecidos
A mother hungry, must choose medicine or food
A father ends his hunger but the moment’s gone
Hunger returns, always returns, shame in its wake
Ellas danzan con silenciosa angustia
Within all that, my hurt and loneliness seems small
though very real for my heart is pierced
is there room for sacred, love, a wife in my life
Danzan con sus esposos
Perdon, ma langue mais je suis tres desole
Anglais, c’est ma langue de travaille
Ce n’est pas ma langue de coeur
Et ma couer, elle parle ce soir
Can we beat our guns, tanks and bombs
Into tractors, plows and combines
Must the nations send our future against each other
Ellas danzan con los muertos
Must we fill the air and ground with our refuse?
What legacy do we leave future generations
Sons, daughters, what will they clean up?
Danzan con sus hijos y sus hijas
Where do we go from here?
“Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with us.”
I remember one late summer day as a child on the Geneseo farm we lived on, we walked out the door and the tall elm tree seemed to be covered with monarch butterflies. I have never seen that since so I don’t know if it was a child’s mind seeing it or that dramatic. But it leaves this imprint on me as I remember it. The butterfly has long been a symbol of our Christian faith with its obvious transformation from caterpillar into a butterfly and this amazing change is the result of certain dormant genes being turned on somehow. Sometimes I can’t help wondering if this was not God’s way of providing a graphic illustration of what happened to Christ and will happen to us. It is the caterpillar dying to the old way of life, entering the chrysalis tomb only to emerge to new life, spread our wings and fly. Science can catalog the changes, identify the mechanism of change, but the words and numbers fall short of describing the magnificence of that butterfly emerging from its tomb a new creation.
We get a taste of that in our spiritual lives, if we are blessed with transformative moments. Call them what you will, born again, born from above, new creation, words fall short. We simply cannot fully understand the transformation of a life. Perhaps some things are so very profound in meaning and implication that they can only be captured in art and poetry, words and image inter-twined. In Christ, God changes lives as though we were a radiant tapestry or inspiring song. When we embrace that, we emerge from our tomb-chrysalis to new life. All that is left is to unfold the wings, let them fan in the sun until we are ready to fly.
This piece was created in response to Pakistani friends in ministry. Their work cannot be overtly Christian, they cannot wear the traditional symbols of their faith: the cross. In the course of the conversation and the feedback of others, I began to sketch and paint butterflies based on photos I took at Butterfly World near West Palm Beach, Florida in 2004. Gradually this one won out and I finished it a few weeks ago now. It is done in oil and I am selling prints and canvas prints of this piece with 30% of each sale going to help the ministries of indigenous Christians in countries where they cannot be open with their faith. These ministries are about meeting basic food, water, clothing, disaster response and/or medical needs. Contact me about any interest you may have.