In these panels and throughout his work, Tracy instantiates a tension between violence and redemption as he conscripts objects and places—material objects and physical places—into his aesthetic theology of the borderlands.
To illustrate the centrality of democratic discernment in the fate of public art, I turn to two cases where the voices of local communities have been ignored in decisions about the removal of murals from public spaces on the Northside of Denver, Colorado.
The wall at the US southern border and the wall in Israel are are material testaments to ethnic exclusion. Both walls are partially constructed. Both are resisted and ridiculed by public art.
Life in God is defined by a joyous freedom of movement, a loving and adventurous invitation to the dance of the Spirit. The book of Acts is witness to those who accepted this invitation like Peter, moved to go to a Gentile centurion’s home, thus initiating a new ministry with global implications beyond his ken.
The Trump administration’s most recent actions at the border signal the end of all pretense by the president—and many in his base—that Christian ethical principles should meaningfully inform U.S. immigration and asylum policies. Patriotism and faith have become indistinguishable.
The social construction of the criminal other has long served as a justification for subjugation. Pope Francis has stated that the people of God can smell holiness, and perhaps there is also a greater need for the olfactory discernment of evil in our midst. Despite the risk of too literal an interpretation of this metaphor, deeper reflection is warranted of the ways in which evil must be resisted.