…strange similarities in self portraits

While conducting research into the life of artist Vincent Van Gogh I surprisingly uncovered some eerie similarities between myself and the tortured genius. I’ll list them:

– we are both Dutch (although I am only partly Dutch)
– we are both fascinated by and in love with Japanese art, culture & people
– we both love God and are burdened by social justice; especially justice for the poor
– we both have lived in poverty
– both highly emotional & intense
– never able to excel at or keep “regular jobs”
– only fulfilled by working at our art
– both described by others as being selfless, compassionate and idealistic
– favorite color – yellow
– hold a strong belief that the Bible should be taken literally and that most ordinary church practices are in error and contrary to the teachings of Jesus
– both determined to give happiness by creating beauty
– live sacrificially for God and others
– and very much like Van Gogh’s “post-impressionistic” works, my writing is not based on painting an accurate depiction of life for my readers, but rather my writing takes a much more philosophical and introspective approach…painting a storyline from my own perspective of how I view the world.

I sincerely hope the likenesses end there for this artistic genius was also emotionally disturbed and tormented for much of his adult life which ended in suicide.

It has been said that there cannot be great art without great suffering – I can attest to that…the greatest of all of course is Christ!

Van Gogh’s love and passion are best demonstrated in his art but also in the over 700 letters that he wrote to his beloved brother Theo. You can read them online, I highly recommend.


The Inexhaustible Power of Humility!

01af27f156cd1948d2e6850f4d3d9ec860258c3d0eWell, that may seem like an oxymoron! How can humility be powerful? 

What is power? Is power in position? Is it in wealth? Is it in status? The ocean is powerful and I am humbled in its presence. This Bo (my stick) is powerful in the hands of a skilled martial artist; but even more powerful in the hands of such a skilled martial artist that just the mere appearance of them makes others back away in fear (like Bruce Lee par example). So, without even having to strike, its power is manifest out of humbly not exerting it!

Perhaps the answer can be found in a powerfully humble quote: (one of my favorites) “I believe that unarmed truth & unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant!” – MLK

Martin Luther King, Jr. was not only a man who believed in the power of humility but actively demonstrated it over and over again in his very powerful ministry and message to the world. Probably because he also believed (as do I) that the greatest example of power in humility was and still is Jesus. He said, “Blessed are the humble, for they will inherit the earth!” (Matthew 5:5) The most powerful example of all time was that God humbled Himself in the person of Jesus Christ to demonstrate to this whole world that taking a lower position actually can make you greater and more powerful. He even told his disciples when they were arguing over who was greater that if you wanted to be first in God’s economy you had to put yourself last; a servant of all is the greatest of all!

Why am I talking about the power of humility anyway? Because I believe it (humility) is our greatest need and one of the hardest arts to hone in our lives. We want to be proud, but pride is weakness. Pride steals from us, fools us, lessens us. It offers a false sense of superiority and power when really you know inside that you are not superior and your power is finite.

So what’s my point? We are responsible creatures, another oxymoron. So clothe yourself in humility if you wish to shine brightly to a world hiding in the darkness and straining to see the truth.

Love ’til it hurts – CK