04 September 2011

The Writing on the Stall

     Often when we use public restrooms we become acquainted with various inscriptions and messages crudely carved onto the walls of toilet stalls and mirrors. These inscriptions usually contain profanity (I don't know why some can get angry at people they don't even know i.e. @#$% you!) , or commemorate the fact that an individual had visited the area (Mike was here). The individuals that take part in latrinalia can be generically identified as hoodlums and naughty boys, but what makes for great latrinalia is a message or art that transcends its environment.
     I once heard that good art is anti-conformist. I'm sure that they who write naughty things in restrooms see themselves as anti-conformist. But when the majority of restroom inscriptions all attempt to be anti-conformist by sending naughty messages, it turns out that whatever messages of goodness and enlightenment become anti-conformist in an indecent environment.

  Strangely, the Israelites were commanded to publicly write of the love of God:
Deuteronomy 6:5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
6 "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 
9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

     When I was a freshman in academy, I remember my roommate telling me, "Hey come look at this." And he proudly showed me that in our community restroom that amidst all the profanity and crude indecent drawings, someone had inscribed the words, JESUS IS COMING AGAIN!. I thought of how hopeful Adventist graffiti could be, wherewith we we find ourselves writing our faith in the most obscure places.

     Now take a look at something I found recently here:

     In large letters, the artist wishes to express that God is love. What's more is that if you look carefully towards the upper right, the responsive writing, His mercy endures forever, is also carved in.

     It is such a strange application of Scripture, but I actually find encouragement from these theological acts of vandalism.

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