Welcome to the launch of my new website, AlmostHeresy.com! I am so excited that you are here (you’ve no idea). You may be thinking, “Almost heresy!? That sounds like a pretty dangerous name.” And you’re right. I chose that name intentionally. But before I get into all of that, let’s talk about the 19th century French artist, Gustave Doré.
As you will most likely notice if you spend any amount of time on this site, Doré’s engravings make up almost all of the artwork. You see, when my friend Andrew was helping me put together this website (and by “helping me” I mean “doing it all for me while I just threw ideas at him”), I told him that I really liked Doré’s work and I thought it would make a great theme for the site. Here’s what I said to him…
“What I like best about Dore’s pictures is how, as soon as you look at one, you immediately want to know the story behind it. I don’t know how one captures that in a blog design. Most of his pictures clearly depict some sort of motion happening. As someone who gravitates toward narrative theology, I find the captivating elements of story to be so incredible. Doré’s series on Paradise Lost, the Divine Comedy, and the Bible are particularly captivating (at least to me). He has a unique talent for portraying sorrow and agony, especially for someone who never took an art lesson in his life.
The picture that I find most compelling is “Satan’s Flight Through Chaos” from Paradise Lost. The engraving depicts Satan, having fallen from heaven, clinging to a cliff face. Below him is the abyss, the underworld that would become his gloomy kingdom. There is a light shining on the cliff face where he hangs, suggesting that heaven is still looking at him. The way he lays his body against the rock seems to suggest that he is still trying to hang onto the warmth of heaven. His eyes are closed, possibly imagining a time of bliss and happiness before his fall, before his war against Michael and God, back when things were still simple. Milton very much portrays Lucifer as a sort of misunderstood villain/victim. He doesn’t see himself as the bad guy. Rather, he believes he has been unfairly dealt with. I imagine Milton and Doré’s Devil feeling something like a child who has been punished and sent to his room. He feels angry, hurt, and confused. Everything seems so unfair, and he doesn’t even fully understand what it is that he did wrong.
Now, while I don’t believe this is entirely true of Satan in reality, I do think that it is analogous to the way many so-called “heretics” feel today. There are many people who grew up in the church, and we have fond memories of it. However, as we’ve grown up, we have become skeptical of many of the things that the church does and much of the inconsistency between what Christians claim and how they live. And so we raise uncomfortable questions, and we push the envelope until sooner or later we are excommunicated, cast out, pressured to leave our faith communities, or we just leave on our own. We feel as though we have been unfairly treated and mislabeled, and we don’t understand how we are in the wrong. And so, despite our apparent rebellion and dissatisfaction with our “heavenly” home, we still cling to some part of it, not wanting to be completely abandoned to the abyss of darkness.”
And that is what Almost Heresy is all about. As one of these fallen sons, I wanted to have a place where I could express all of my thoughts about God, church, faith, life, culture, theology, and a thousand other things. This site is for me. This site is for you. This site is for the unchurched, the over-churched, the lost, the marginalized, the fallen, the heretics. This site is for anyone who wants to explore faith things in a way that makes plenty of room for doubts and questions. Hopefully some of the stuff that I write will resonate with you. If so, let me know in the comments section or by shooting me an email. If nothing resonates with you, tell me why… but, you know, nicely.
Last of all, I want to give a HUGE shout out to my friend, Andrew, for making this site for me. If you are ever looking to hire a web designer, I highly recommend this guy! He can do stuff that I didn’t even know was possible, and he already has answers for website questions that I haven’t even thought up yet. So, seriously, if you like what you see and you think you’d like some awesomeness on your website or blog, hit him up!