A Gift from Conor Walton

A Gift from Conor Walton

Allegory of Widsom
by Conor Walton
oil on linen, 36 x 54 inches, 2011
private collection

This week the universe led me to Conor Walton. He is an incredible artist who lives in Dublin and has shown his work around the world. I garnered the courage to ask him if I might use two of his paintings in the book I’m working on called “The Awful Grace of God” and he was kind enough to oblige.  I hope you’ll take a moment and visit his website and paintings.  While you are there, treat yourself to some of his Essays.


The Key
by Conor Walton
oil on linen, 50 x 45 cm
private collection


The Awful Grace of God


It was 1945.Print

My parents, having struggled through the great depression a few years earlier, knew the art of doing without.  My father bounced from place to place looking for enough work to buy food to feed his children, and my  mother lived in hope of maybe having enough left over to keep her growing kids’ feet in shoes presentable enough to wear to school.

I was born a typical American Christian baby.  My parents’ daily lives were spent in abject fear and terror, threatened in no uncertain terms to get me baptized before I choked on my Gerber’s applesauce and rode the devil’s express to hell and eternal damnation.

“But he is a loving God.  Don’t question why bad things happen to unbaptized babies…Sorry, but they are going to hell if they don’t belong to the church.”

I was born into a “duck and cover” world of mushroom clouds.  Where our dad wore a Civil Defense armband and walked around the neighborhood on random occasions, ready to help people find shelter from “the bomb”.  Each of us wore a chain around our neck with a plastic tag with our blood type printed on it so if we were vaporized while we hid under our school desks they would know how to fix us.

It was a place where fragile looking tiny little men with their foreheads wrapped in bandanas made from rising sun flags flew their propeller airplanes into big war ships, and a strange little man with a curious moustache shot himself in the head in his underground cement apartment… It was where newsreel footage of rotting corpses stacked like cords of firewood and mountains of ashes that once were 6 million people played to horrified audiences on “dish night” in movie theaters.  Patrons left carrying the latest piece of their new dinnerware under their arms while they discussed the holocaust and wondered if the theater might give out cups and saucers the next week.

Robert Tew once wrote: “Sometimes what you fear the most to do is the very thing that will set you free.”  That’s what this book is all about… killing off a few more old demons and setting myself free.  While I’m at it, I’ll share some fun bits and pieces of my life that will hopefully give you a few good chuckles and just maybe make you stop and think about what’s really important.

We live in a world of contradictions.  Life is nothing like what any of us expected.  Like each generation before us, we find ourselves longing for the simpler, more personal, slower times of our youth all the while walking down the street with machines in our pockets capable of giving us answers for anything we might want to know while connecting us one-on-one with people around the globe.

The amount of information on the internet increases exponentially in the blink of an eye.  Those dusty, outdated volumes of the Encyclopedia of Britannia and Book of Knowledge that our parents struggled to buy and keep current so we could use them to write our term papers have been relegated as doorstops or for pressing flowers.  At last, access to knowledge, good, accurate and plain spoken truth, finally has the ability to set anyone who seeks it, free.  The only price is wading through all the untruths, lies and misinformation that any crackpot would have you believe to support his cause.

The power of the few to control the masses gets smaller each passing week and the powerful are not pleased.  They’re busy trying to find ways to keep us where they want us.  But like black people, gay men and lesbian women, the rest of the world will not be retreating into their closets to be stifled by ignorance ever again.

The young boy born the year Mister Truman dropped his atom bomb on those “Slanty Eyed Bastards” has been knocked around, threatened, bruised and disillusioned.  But as it turned out he was born a seeker, and when things just didn’t add up, he went after the answers with voracity of purpose and a sense of humor.

Now I have a story to tell you…

Exit Right..

Jesus-mercy-icon-3There is an excellent article on CNN by Rachael Held Evans about Why Millenials are leaving the church.  You can find it here:  http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/07/27/why-millennials-are-leaving-the-church/

Great article, Rachel  – I’m afraid your common sense statements of the facts will fall on still deaf ears. The “church” doesn’t know how to change; it’s as simple as that. The clergy is still under control of a generation who actually believe the Bible is the literal word of God…complete with all the insane comments in the book. Of course they pick and choose what is really the “true” word of God from whatever passages suit the message or threat they feel they need to make to control the population. The simple truth is that the internet and social media has usurped the power of the “church” to control the people, and people who once occupied pews now find it easier to find likeminded believers (of all faiths and creeds) online and can be exposed to any theology they want by simply using Google. I left the Missouri Synod Lutheran church and found Unity. It suits me fine. I think people are discovering they don’t need anyone in between them and God.  Churches can install all the Starbucks coffee kiosks they want, but it isn’t going to bring people back if they keep spewing everything except the love that Jesus preached and based his ministry on.   We don’t need anyone to hear our confessions and we don’t have to swallow as “gospel” all the hatred and threats that are spewed from pulpits anymore. I am sure God is looking down on all of this with a smile and a sigh of relief.   But I must admit, I keep waiting for the lightening bolts to strike the insane televangelist money-changers.  If panicky clergy bemoaning empty offering baskets returning to the alters want to know the real reason the pews are empty, they need to watch some cable religious programming to see what the millenials are laughing at.   The loudest voice is what is heard, and for a long time now, that loud voice has been the religious crackpots who have hijacked the simple message that God is love.