Dali and Hidden Pictures


When I was a teenager, I loved driving over to the long bridge from Tampa to St. Petersburg to visit The Dalí Museum. In the back corner of the museum the walls were covered with huge canvases painted in surrealistic style by Salvador Dalí. These paintings told stories, if you could figure them out. They had hidden pictures, dogs and bullfighters created in negative space, easily missed by a casual glance. I treated them like beautiful puzzles and loved to take people with me to see them. But often my friends couldn’t see the hidden pictures.

Now, Dalí’s hidden pictures actually weren’t meant to remain hidden. When he was painting one of these masterpieces, he displayed a sketch so that people who stopped by his studio could see the pictures he was creating in the negative space. Dalí loved to talk about his work. He kept very few secrets. But that didn’t make it easy to see his hidden pictures or to understand the stories he told through his paintings.
"The Hallucinogenic Toreador" 

I wanted my friends to enjoy Dalí as much as I did, so I tried to help them see the hidden pictures. After a few failed attempts, I discovered two helpful tricks that I used every time I brought friends to the museum to see Dalí’s work. First, I had my friends stand in the far hallway, at some distance from the paintings. There are some things you can see from a distance that aren’t as easy to catch when you’re close. The second thing I’d do – and I know this sounds simple – is to stand next to them and tell them what they should be trying to see. “Find the hidden picture” is very different from “Look for the bullfighter with the green necktie and the red cape.”

Last week, I finished the first chapter in my book. In this chapter, I'm looking at three big-picture stories from the Bible. I’m trying to show the view from 10,000 feet up. These big-picture stories shape how we'll understand the up-close stories in the rest of the book. If readers don’t catch the big-picture stories in this chapter, the insights into God’s intention for ethnicity in the chapters that follow might seem forced. But if they’re willing to stand back and look from a distance, they’ll see things they can’t see from up-close. The framework for multi-ethnicity that God builds in Scripture is spectacular. And it's fun to be the friend who tells people what to be looking out for.

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