Ellen G. BIV

I took a trip to Pacific Union College earlier this year. It had been about four years since I had graduated from that institution and I had largely not thought about my relationship to Adventism since leaving. Coming back to the campus, seeing old friends, and a visit to Ellen White’s home Elmshaven brought it all back for me. I found myself on a journey of self-discovery and reflection about what it all meant. I realized a few things that stayed with me for months after my visit. First, there are still people who believe everything they are told, who have never really stopped to wonder why they believe what they believe. Second, there are people who have dared to question, who have become individuals, but many of them stay silent and don’t want to make waves. Third, I didn’t want to remain silent. I wanted to do something, even if it was a small gesture, just to add my voice to the inspirational few who have contributed to this cause. I am an artist and I haven’t seen a lot of ex-Adventist/badventist inspired art. I thought to myself, “why not me? Why can’t I create that?” And so I did.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11865
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Deconstructionism tends to be subjective. This artist’s opinion is very subjective. Nay, it is altogether subjective. We are generally taught that to be effective, art needs to be provocative. That may be so, but to last, art needs to be beautiful. Unless art is beautiful, it remains in the eye of the beholder --being not much more than private preference. The beauty of art is tested out by the passage of time (if it be so in the eyes of many beholders).

And the ministry of all the prophets has been tested by hundreds and thousands of years. That their testimonies were largely rejected in their generation but are appreciated today tells us that their words were the most beautiful art. Moses, being rejected as arrogating himself by Dathan, Kora, et. al. is today the authoritative voice and the test of doctrine, faith and experience. The same goes for all canonical prophets. The same will be said of Ellen Gould White. Her body might well be decomposed by now as the artists attempts to do. But her ministry will not decompose. Her work and prophetic ministry will outlast the work of this artist as the all other prophet’s works have outlived revisionists and open critics alike.
The rainbow, is the symbol of God’s power at self-restraint against great provocation. It told Noah as it tells us that God can restrain His righteous anger. How foolish to use that rainbow to deconstruct the ministry of His saints and prophets just because of His promise in the rainbow. How insidious, how defiant.

“Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt." Matt 23:31-32 NKJV.
In deconstructing the ministry of Ellen Gould White, an attempt is made to kill her and invoke another spirit in its place -just as Saul and the witch of Endor did in reconstructing the prophet Samuel. But, as we all know, it was a fatal move for king Saul. That reconstructed Samuel did not prevail except against Saul himself and so we can say it was not such a beautiful hologram. However, the authentic Samuel lives on because he attained to an endless life -and such is a beautiful life and ministry.

Time will tell if the authentic Ellen G White is as authoritative as canonical prophets. Only problem is, those who will come to this realisation later, will be too late. This has always been the case with prophets.
I will grant this to the artist, the church itself generally deconstructs this prophetic ministry to be “optional” or “advisory”. So then, the artist does not really buck the trend and Spectrum follows in that path of the Review at the turn of previous century by publishing so inauthentic a view.

Too late for what? (I need to add this so the program will allow me to post my question)

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The only “test” for salvation is how you treat others. The sheep and goats are not separated by who does or doesn’t keep rules. Nor by who believes or doesn’t believe any of the various prophets. Pure and simple it is how you treat others. The rest is window dressing and distraction. It is not even “Do I belong to an organisation that does welfare?” It is our treatment, not the church’s treatment, where the line is drawn.

To that end, most of the stories in the Bible, and EGW writings are not relevant, unless they are reminding us to treat the widows, orphans, migrants, sick, injured, lonely…as we would want to be treated.

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Picasso’s Guernica was not created as an expression of beauty, but to show the tragedy of war and the suffering it inflicts on innocent individuals. It is a graphic expression of the ugliness of war. It would not pass your litmus test of art as an expression of beauty. For me, it would be a mistake to reject art (or to consider it insignificant) just because it lacks “beauty.”

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If your life depends on the integrity of a chain, do you inspect for good links or for bad links?

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Perhaps.

But then again, the real problem currently being encountered by EGW supporters may be precisely the same dilemma faced by Joe Smith’s sycophants and Mary Baker Eddy addicts.

That is, the jury finished its deliberations long ago, time ran out before any living person was born, and in each case the results were the same. The “prophet” was found by the vast majority-rather than worthy of canonization-instead to be a con artist who came to believe her or his own press releases, a charlatan who commandeered the gospel of Christ (whatever that may have been) to obtain some semblance of legitimacy in a predominantly Christian setting and a pretender who made a career of hiding behind Jesus’ robes because their “new clothes” were either nonexistent or but as “filthy rags”.

If the latter is not only the more reasonable scenario but is actually the case, then the fact that a very small and steadily dwindling percentage of the world’s population didn’t “read the memo” or refuses to accept the verdict does nothing to demonstrate or rehabilitate the veracity of their prophet’s claims. Instead, the tiny bands of unwavering faithful may be merely a testament to the tenacity with which humans can remain convinced of, and cling to, “truths that ain’t so”, or that sometimes diehards will insist on going down with moribund ships despite the fact that rescue vessels are hanging from the davits.

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That’s exactly what art is - subjective and private, but also a statement. Art does not have to be beautiful, but honest to the artist. If it’s not honest, it doesn’t work. You can’t fake feelings -you get found out.

Sorry Mike - this was meant for @Faithbabck

Fascinating image. Thought-provoking. Even the eyes are prisms: windows into the heart.

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Just from the old photos, you wonder if Ellen White owned a dress that wasn’t black. In the artist’s mind, she’s borrowed Joseph’s coat.

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Noted Sirje… we are agreed that art does not need to be beautiful. But what I said was, in order “to last, art needs to be beautiful”.
Let’s explore subjectivity in art. I am not yet convinced that art must be subjective and private. Then why publish it? Great art is a subjective expression of a universal idea. This is what makes art great. Many people see it and say “Yes! That’s it!” because is resonates with them too, and often cross-culturally. People from mud-hut villages see architectural masterpieces from ancient civilisations and love what they see. Children instantly mime to songs in foreign languages and to a rhythm unlike anything in their environment.
Now let us subject the writings of Ellen G. White to the same test and evaluate how she fares. Her writings resonate with people across the planet! That is real art and its universality places it beyond corruption by deconstructionists. In order to succeed, Harrison Cale will need to persuade a significant proportion of Ellen’s sphere of influence, failing which, my point stands -that there is more self-indulgence than genuine artistry in this piece. I cannot speak about the work of the artists in general, only this specific piece. It provokes and offends but does not enlighten.

I do use chains a lot when working with heavy equipment. I have never inspected a weak link. How would I know which one to suspect? I can stress test the entire chain. It is the whole that I need and can practically test. It is the whole that matters in practice. The fact that it will fail at the weakest link is academic. And if the chain bears the required load, it matters not which link was weakest —it did not break.

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But Robelle, you write as if Ellen white herself and all the prophets were not people. The kindness you refer to includes them as well. Some held that MLK was a prophet. From that perspective, his treatment must also be included in your basket of kindness. Taking John Brown into consideration almost closes the case. He was even explicit that a bigger conflict than he had tried to ignite was about to break-out.

You might argue that releasing those who are in bonds falls under visiting those in bonds. However, advocacy (abolitionists) is not actually liberating anyone, it is an argument for, not the deed itself. Will such not receive the reward?

My suggestion would be that we do not take it upon ourselves to credit or discredit other people’s labors. There is one who will judge whose labors were acceptable and whose labors are to be burnt.
1 Corinthians 3:13-15 NKJV
[13] each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. [14] If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. [15] If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

Hi Sirje, too late for what you ask?
To derive sanctifying value. Let me explain.

There is a difference in standing for truth because of its merits and doing so because it is popular to do so. There is hardly any sanctifying value in being a member of a Christian church today (in many countries). But there was a time when membership alone was an offense against the state. Believing in the Exodus today is almost a non-issue, but it was not the case when Moses stood against the king of Egypt (Exodus 5:20-21 NKJV | Then, as they came out from Pharaoh, they met Moses and Aaron who stood there to meet them. And they said to them, “Let the LORD look on you and judge, because you have made us abhorrent in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to kill us.”)
And so we find that acceptance of prophetic ministry has a time component to it. This is almost the essence of the prophetic gift. Unless it is accepted by faith, it has little sanctifying value on the receiver.

NB: I said faith, not blind faith or mere belief. Faith is and must be evidence based.

This would have been a fair point if the whole world had accepted western civilization. Much of the world does not (at least not as yet) rate the Guernica that highly —it is hardly known. But every culture that reads the Exodus or Genesis finds the books compelling. It is this universality of art acceptance to which I appeal as a reasonable test to its merit. If it fails, we do not say it is not art, my argument is that it is little more than private preference. It’s an idiosyncratic expression. However, Ellen G. White writings are much more than a bundle of private thoughts. Her writings resonate around the world. Detractors here and there do not dent her impact.
To appreciate this point we’ve got to be less subjective. Let us look beyond our bubble. Why are we so myopic?

The ‘jury’ was out on Jesus too and He was condemned to die. He was officially condemned as an impostor. John 19:21 NKJV | Therefore the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, "Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘He said, “I am the King of the Jews.”’”

What’s your point?

My point was and remains that time will tell whose works are authentic and whose aren’t. I find the the self referencing rather astounding. You see, Ellen White’s ministry was not to a particular culture. It was and remains a ministry to the whole world. Thus the “jury” that you say rejected her is not representative of the collective view of humanity. The world is bigger that your immediate cultural context.

Art is like literature - it makes a statement. There’s always someone who can relate to statements art, - literature - music. The more people who can relate, the more lasting.

Not sure what planet you’re on. EGW wrote from a 19th century North American experience. The entire SDA cosmic theology hangs on what happened in the skies over northern New England. It also requires a lot imagination.

As for the painting - there’s a lot to it. We can make of it what you want. I see a rainbow colored coat of many colors; and a heavily made-up face. Interestingly, it does resemble Ellen.

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What is “sanctifying value”? I’m going to assume you mean instructions that would lead to sanctification. What I find in the “post-resurrection” message is that sanctification comes from the Spirit and is not a DYI project.

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Early in her ministry, EGW implied that the IJ was a rather simple task, merely a short-lived heavenly formality really, and Jesus would return shortly, perhaps within a matter months or weeks after the 1844 fiasco.

The fact that SDA’s and her estate would rather forget about, or do their best to repress such predictions, doesn’t change anything.

The day she died without having experienced The Rapture, tIme ran out for EGW and the jury could be dismissed.

EGW had conclusively been shown to have been a non-prophet.

Further, I have no more desire to argue that point with an SDA-ist than I want to discuss the topic of Jesus’ purported travels among aboriginal North Americans with an LDS member or talk about L. Ron Hubbard’s fantastic revelations with a Scientologist.

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EGW’s writings do not resonate with approximately 99.7% of the world’s population.

That she finds a sympathetic ear in the remaining 0.3% supports nothing other than the assumption that there are at least that many people on this planet who share her affinity for hypercriticism and hypocrisy.

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