Here are the storyboards I referred
to in my blog,
along with my comments and interpretations (and best guesses)
about the meaning of these diagrams. The titles are taken
from the notes written on the slides that I received from
a seminary classmate years ago.
My assumption is that these
paintings were done under the guidance of a missionary
who sought to depict the Gospel message in a way that was
comprehensible to persons in the culture. But, what culture?
While it is obviously Asian, I have no clue as to the intended
audience. The eighth board has some characters. Perhaps
a reader can decipher it and let me know what language
it is (and whether or not I scanned the images backwards).
1. The Sinful Heart
The heart is black, not illuminated by
the Holy Spirit (dove) nor the Holy Scriptures (bible).
guy seems to be happy enough. He just doesn't know what
a mess he is in. The devil appears to be clouding his
vision. Is that a Star of David at the center?
the seven deadly sins, right?
The peacock must be pride.
The pig seems to be an obvious reference to gluttony.
The tiger looks like the best candidate for anger.
For the others, I'll borrow some ideas from deadlysins.com: the goat
is sloth and the dog is envy.
I'm not sure about a goat being slothful. Besides, goat
symbols have all sorts of occult associations, don't
they? Whatever, let's just say this is a slothful
Hmmm, that leaves the turtle
and the snake. Snake, serpent, Garden of Eden, Eve,
Freudian symbolism... How about the snake being lust?
And the turtle? According to deadlysins.com,
a frog is historically associated with greed. Close enough.
Let's move the turtle into the greed slot.
2. Exposed to the Gospel
It is striking what happens when the light
of the Spirit and Scriptures begins to permeate the heart.
The eye begins to clear (enlightenment?). The animals
(sins) are disturbed. The disturbance shows on the man's
I know from my evangelical tradition that
this phenomenon is referred to as "conviction." The
man is feeling guilty and perturbed about the state of
his life. Conviction is often experienced when one contemplates
the message of the Gospel, namely that we are "dead
in trespasses and sins," and so forth. It is an anxiety-provoking
Historically, famous Christians referred
to a similar experience in their own lives. Augustine,
for example, describes the flooding light of God into his
dark soul, creating a sense of exposure and shame. Teresa
of Avila, in her The Interior Castle, symbolized the entrance
into the soul (and one's interior journey) as threatened
by wild beasts.
What are those fireballs?
3. Cleansed by the Blood
I take it from the four small holes at the
top of each panel, that these storyboards may have been
constructed as a flip chart, with each succeeding panel
being revealed as the previous one was flipped over to
The progression here is pronounced. The man
is smiling. His soul is doing much better, thank you. His
eye is clear. Where did the mouth come from? I take it
that he now has a voice to express the good things that
are happening to him. The Spirit and Scriptures have now
found a place in his heart. The star is cleansed and the
brilliant cross has taken the place of the vices.
It appears that each deadly sin has been
cast out and languishes on the periphery of the man's life.
Check out the dog, with its tale tucked squarely between
its legs. Personally, I would have painted the turtle as
retracted into its shell!
Unless the new convert miss the point, I'm
sure the presentation emphasized the necessity of maintaining
spiritual disciplines in order to stay on the right path.
The next panel shows what happens if he or she doesn't
. . .
Sorta reminds me of Michael
Backslider's Wine. But, that's a story for another
We're in regression here, letting all the
beastly vices find a tentative welcome. See, I told you.
The man quit reading his bible and praying in the Spirit.
The eye is squinting and his mouth is shut. He's got nothing
good to say, spiritually.
What? Is he asleep, or just ashamed of himself?
Either way, he'd better wake up and start tending to his
soul again, else that green demon will start poking him.
There is no stasis with the soul. Either
you are moving forward, or you're moving backward. It is
like the current of the Brazos River--you swim with it
or against it--but regardless, it is going to
Is the message starting to get through to
5. Rejector's Heart
On to a different scenario. Depicted here
is the state of the soul that rejects the Gospel. Each
vice now has its own commander and takes on a life of its
own. Look who's on the throne!
This soul is on a slippery slope, heading
down fast. From the look of his expression, nothing much
has been gained by taking the path of self-determination.
6. Death of
the Lost Man
Lest we miss the point, the artist renders
the drama of death for the person without Christ. A life
in shambles now meets its horrifying and tortuous end.
The man is alone. A portrait of loved ones
hangs above his bed as his sole source of comfort. To his
right and left are devils taunting him, even reading the
Scriptures to him. His judgement is spelled out clearly.
His pursuers arise from the flames of hell
to escort him to his eternal home.
7. Death of the Righteous
On the other hand, there is the death of
the person who has given his heart to Christ. It isn't
so much that the man is righteous, but that his sins are
The gates of heaven open and await his entry.
A angle stands ready to escort him to paradise. His room
shows the decor of a person well cared for. Kneeling at
his bed are his wife and children, near to his side and
He's in good shape.
8. The Way
of the Cross
I love this slide for a number of reasons.
First, it shows the nature of grace: we can make it to
heaven if we'll just take the right path. And, in case
we might miss it, the path is pretty obvious. It just requires
a little humility and detachment.
Check out the folks who are trying to constuct
an alternate route using planks and stones. They symbolize
the futile efforts of trying to save ourselves.
This is the only slide with writing. If anyone
can decipher it, please let me know!
9. The Hand of Evil
The artist's focus shifts to a much broader
perspective in the remaining slides. This ghastly apocalyptic
scene conveys the permeating influence of evil in a world
of violence, sorrow and destruction.
10. The Risen
Here is a vision of the world as restored
From chaos to peace.
From darkness to light.
From violence to civility.
From despair to hope.
From death to life.
Which would you choose? Door #9 or door #10?
11. In the Hollow of His
And they lived happily ever after. Thanks
be to God.
Notice the tree of life and the river of
God. These are symbols drawn for Genesis and Revelation.
In the end, God restores the world to its originally intended
May you have the peace of God that comes
from being in the hollow of God's hand.