Drawing: The Voyage of Saint Brendan

"The Voyage of Saint Brendan" art by nakedpastor David Hayward
“The Voyage of Saint Brendan” art by nakedpastor David Hayward

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Many years ago I read Frederick Buechner’s delightful novel, Brendan: A Novel… his account of the life of Saint Brendan (c. 484 – c. 577).

I immediately saw this image in my mind and sketched it out. So many years later and I finally draw the completed image.

The story of Brendan intrigues me because of his courage. He set sail looking for Paradise. Of course, his story is now surrounded with legend, but the gist of it remains: he took incredible risks to find his true home.

The creatures represent the dangers both seen and unseen. The moon signifies that we often have little if any light. The elements suggest that this is not going to be easy or comfortable. The sea gulls suggest that perhaps land is not too far off.

I told my friends at The Lasting Supper that it reminded me of them. They have left the comfort and security of their established homes… in belief, faith, religion, church, family, conformist behavior… you name it!… and are looking for a land they can call their own. It takes a lot of courage to face the risks and dangers that accompany such spiritual explorations and exploits.


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8 Replies to “Drawing: The Voyage of Saint Brendan”

  1. To be willing to leave the comfort… of certainty.

    I am mostly a Mystic Christian (who believes that prayer moves the heart of God, and listens for the Wind of the Spirit, and so forth).

    I found that, as I left behind American Evangelical Christianity (whose great secret is that they do not evangelize… lol) and their deep need for being the OK in-group (and identifying the Not OK out-group), along with their tie-in to the Republican Party…. well… whew… I left behind certainty.

    And that is OK.

    There is a comfort in embracing uncertainty.

  2. I too grew weary of Evangelical Christianity’s ties to the Republican Party. (Ironically I am registered Republican and vote that way) It is such a distorted focus by my way of thinking. My political views are mine…as they should be. I actually find myself a rather eclectic blend of political ideologies that include very conservative fiscal and defense views while leaning much more to the left socially. But the church’s obsession with one party is completely contrary to what Jesus said the church is to be about. In fact I believe it is one of the major issues leading the church astray.

  3. Gary: the page does not allow for a double-like… but seriously, I so agree.

    “Evangelical=Republican” is one of the major issues that is causing the overall ‘church’ to appear to be contrary to the open arms of Jesus.

  4. Lol Caryn,

    “great secret is that they do not evangelize”.

    Well I can’t speak for America but what I used to hear in evangelical circles that I was in was “we need to think outside of the box”. The principle of the Evangelical theological college I went to saying “existing forms of Christian worship and community do not attract outsiders (and may even repel them). There should be no offence except the cross of Christ” Tiplady R, 2011 ‘The Pilgrim Church Needs a New Home’ pp.141-147 in R Dowsett (ed.) Global Mission Pasadena: William Carey Library pg 145

    So, over here in the UK there is at least one evangelical leader not afraid to put that into print!

    OK aside from bashing evangelicals which is easy, I am grateful for the foundation that the evangelical church gave me and the richness the experience of the theological education afforded me in the expanding of horizons.

    I had some great counsel from tutors at college who described me as creative and people with their systems and structures finding me threatening. I can find systems and structures limiting to creativity.

    Nevertheless without “rules”, without structure we would have anarchy and swapping conservatism for liberalism is exchanging one human ideology for another.

    No real security will be found in that.

  5. Hi Adam: well… my spiritual journey was from ‘old school Evangelical’, to Divine Healing Ministry, to Evangelical / Calvary Chapel to believing only for salvation and running my own life.

    Then, back to Evangelical twice (non-denom and sort of Baptist), a bit of Calvary Chapel, and a bit with Vineyard. However, the later Calvary and Vineyard were ‘new school evangelical’.

    Here in the States, I divide the Evangelical Movement into ‘old school’ and ‘new school’. In the 1970’s, the ‘old school’ literally said ‘Catch the fish and let God clean them up’. They never asked about Political Parties. They believed in the open arms of Jesus.

    The ‘new school’ began in the 80’s and just kept growing. The motto changed to ‘Catch the fish and clean them up or excommunicate them to protect the flock’. They added ‘bring the nation back to God via legislation that reflects selected Levitical and New Testament values’.

    Anti-gay anything became a unifying glue between the denominations. The church became very known for hate-speak.

    You could find Bible study leaders slipping in a few jokes about their Republican voting views during a sermon, all the way to an Elder preaching at Calvary Chapel Diamondback CA against legislation and telling people ‘you now know how to vote’.

    I am thankful to the old school Evangelicals for introducing me to a personal encounter with Christ, and for teaching me it the Bible was worth my time and consideration. I memorized tons of the Bible back then, even participated in National Quizzes on the Bible in a denomination. All good.

    I am actually thankful to the Divine Healing Ministry for introducing me to the concepts of Listening to the Spirit, that the Wind can change direction, and that god is real and for me, today.

    I have rejected the New School Evangelicals. They have lots of Bible reasoning (so do all the others), but they do not resemble the Jesus that I have come to know.

  6. Hey Caryn,

    I hear what you say with a difference between “old school” and “new school” as you have described Evangelicals.
    I hear that you reject the “new school”. Here in the UK, Evangelicalism isn’t as linked with politics as has been described here.

    I suppose how I would engage with what you say would be again to say swapping one ideology for another doesn’t provide real security, but that it can be found in Jesus.

    It’s unpopular at the moment and likely to result in one being treated with hostility for anything that the LGBT* community deems as inequality. What I find interesting is the recent thing with Germaine Greer being accused of transphobia for saying it was misogynistic for Caitlyn Jenna to get the glamorous woman award by Vogue with Greer also being accused of misogyny.

    So, one could easily point to liberalism or conservatism to “bash” depending on one’s affiliation. Sadly this is so much of what goes on.

    You reject a from of Evangelicalism. I would equally reject vitriolic Evangelicalism as militant feminism. Two sides of the same coin. I can’t accept any statement about all men needing to be demonised as resembling Jesus either.

    I’m all for bible reasoning done in a way that resembles Jesus. In this respect, one of the benefits of feminist theology has been to consider previously unthought of ways of interpreting scripture to bring to the table and consider.

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