The Modern Parables of Banksy

Banksy 2010 in Chinatown, Boston, MA Image credit: Prancing Through Life

Banksy 2010 in Chinatown, Boston, MA
Image credit: Prancing Through Life

The artist Banksy is nothing if not controversial. You may have seen his images in the wild or, most likely, you’ve seen them on the internet. Banksy's most famous stencil painting is the girl letting go of the heart balloon. Recently, he was in the news for a painting sold at auction that halfway shredded at the drop of the gavel… and doubled its value! It was the most Banksy move ever. In 2010 he graced Boston with a stencil in Chinatown called “Follow Your Dreams - Canceled.” Pro tip, if Banksy paints on your building, your building's value went up. Don’t paint over it. Chisel it out and sell it for at least a million dollars. Seriously.

What I find most fascinating about his art is that it’s both cryptic and obvious. At first glance, you may ask, “What is going on?” But as you look for longer, understand context, and decipher the symbols, you can discern an often prophetic message (And I say prophetic like an Old Testament prophet preaching against the evils of society). For those that have the background knowledge and eyes to see, the message is clear. For those that don’t, the message is hidden. In a sense, Banksy paints modern parables. Like parables, you get out of a Banksy painting what you bring to it.

Jesus often taught in parables. On one level, Jesus’ parables were cryptic and hard to understand. But to those that were listening, and I mean really listening, the meaning was obvious. When asked why he didn’t just teach plainly Jesus quoted a poem from the Prophet Isaiah:

“They may indeed look,

and yet not perceive;

they may indeed listen,

and yet not understand;

otherwise, they might turn back

and be forgiven.”

Jesus wanted to give enough information so those that wanted to hear could hear, and those that wanted to reject could reject. Tomorrow we look at four parables of Jesus in Mark 4. Will you have the ears to hear what Jesus is actually saying? Like a work of art, I look forward to contemplating and gazing deeply into the Scriptures with you in worship.

Join us for worship tomorrow!
10:30 AM
Curley K-8
493 Centre St.
Jamaica Plain 02130