Here are some sketchnotes I’ve put together as a kind of overview of some of the things I’ve tried to focus on as I was reading, studying and preaching through this difficult book. You can find the rest of the posts here.
The ‘Self-Portrait’ as Remix
A couple weeks back I showed you this image [Bob Dylan’s album titled Self-Portrait]. The cover image is one that Dylan himself painted. I couldn’t find any mention of who the cover was supposed to be, but it has a certain resemblance to Pablo Picasso’s own painting also titled “Self-Portrait.” When you line these two images side by side you can see that there is a borrowing or adaptation from the one painting to the other.
There is a second way that Dylan adapts and builds upon the works of others to make up this “self-portrait” album: It’s mostly a collection of other people’s songs slide*.
Making Heads and Hands of the Mark of the Beast
If there is one aspect of Revelation that has been overused, abused and fallen prey to our constant temptation to make John’s first century letter a document that predicts the future it has to be the mark of the beast. What was the mark of the beast? What does 666 stand for?* There are many questions come up when we read passages like this.
When I read this I automatically gravitate to this unknown feature in the text. What are some of the things you have heard the Mark of Beast represented as?
Mikhail Gorbachev’s Birthmark, Obamacare, Enforced Sunday worship, One world government or The UN, Refers to a specific year, Verichip, Credit Cards
It raises a level of fascination that can be fun to imagine, but there is a problem with trying to figure out the mark: we don’t know the story behind the story. And when we don’t know the story behind the story we begin to read into it our own worldview, our own prejudices, and assumptions and this can really skew our reading and understanding of scripture. So it is essential that when we read this we remember that there is a story behind the story.
Image from hellojenuine.
“But they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they did not cling to life even in the face of death.” (Revelation 12:11)
The work of the People
One of the signs of a true artist is a willingness to work patiently and lovingly with even the most inferior materials. -David James Duncan
David James Duncan’s novel “The Brother’s K,” is about a family that lives in Camas. Papa is a paper mill worker who has gone semi-professional in Baseball and does fairly well until he has his thumb crushed in an accident at the mill. Consequently he falls into depression and begins to abuse substances. So in an attempt to regain ground and find life his healing he build a shed.
Ever More Precise
Let’s begin with a poem called Claritas by Denise Levertov:
The All-Day bird, the artist,
in hope and
good faith to make his notes
ever more precise, closer
to what he knows.