I first read An American Gospel, on Family, History, and the Kingdom of God when it was released in 2009. At the time, I was mainly interested in the author’s troubled upbringing. Erik Reece’s father suffered from depression and committed suicide when he was a young boy. His grandfather was a fundamentalist Baptist preacher, so he was exposed to a religion similar to my own.
It was therapeutic for me to follow his journey as I related to his exposure to depression and over-powering religion, but I also remembered that I was intrigued by the rest of what was addressed in this book, mainly the differing views of our nations founding fathers and how that has been influential on our environment. Hot topic these days.
So I’m reading it again to re-educate myself. This time I took lighter steps through his family’s story and am now deep into the fascinating tales about Thomas Jefferson’s bible that focuses on the teachings of Jesus but with miracles literally cut out with his scissors, Walt Whitman’s love of his earthly body and soul, the unlikely discovery of the Gospel of Thomas, Lynn Margulis’ work Microcosmos: Four Billion Years of Microbial Evolution with Dorion Sagan, and more…
In his book, Erik Reece writes that “the more mainstream Christianity emphasizes a theology of salvation from this world, the more it ignores Jesus’ teachings of how we should act while we inhabit this earthly realm.”
I am more drawn to this earthly realm these days. I want to help so that my grandchildren’s environment will be livable and beautiful. This is what is guiding the choice of subject matter for my most recent artwork.