Wednesday, November 30, 2011

    prayer had been said for me, tears had flowed as i laid on betty's living room carpet. at one point larry was asking me to speak simple words with my lips. i could not do it. i would not do it. my jaw was clenched. the muscles stubborn. my mind heard his request. my body was unwilling. weird, right? after many mental tries, the words were eventually formed and spoken, "jesus is lord."

    there have been times in my faith walk when the unexpected happened. like, loosing my ability to walk, walking woozy at mc donalds, being drunk with no substances in my system, and falling down on the floor in the front of the church with other parishioners, during ministry time. The king james bible records roman solders falling down like dead men at the tomb where jesus was buried. daniel, ezekiel, and john all fell down like dead men. it has happened to me, while being in the presence of one i could not see. 
but---letting tears roll, having muscles twitch and jerk, feeling repeat contractions in my chest and legs, the grunts and groans, laying on the carpet while the unseen interfaces with you---is all worth the release, healing, and calm that follows. unexplainable, yes. illogical, very. irrational, of course. still, it is biblical. the risen jesus and his holy interface is a reality. coming undone and unraveling in his presence is blessed.

   there is no one-time fix. that has not been my experience. mine has been a path where one is unwilling yet led. where a choice of yes comes with prompts from an outside source. a unnatural relationship. he breaks in and brings sanity to my life. everyone who calls upon this lord will be made sane. i am the one found clothed in my right mind.

Unraveling In His Embrace by Karl Marxhausen, 36 by 48 inches, acrylic on canvas.
Elsewhere art exhibit, All Souls Gallery, 4501 Walnut, Kansas City, MO. November 6th to December 2nd, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

In 1987 my wife and I were headed out to the state of California, when my mother in Nebraska gave me this advice: seek out information about Adult Children of Alcohlics. And I did.

1. Adult children of alcoholics guess at what normal behavior is.
2. Adult children of alcoholics have difficulty following a project through from beginning to end.
3. Adult children of alcoholics lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth.
4. Adult children of alcoholics judge themselves without mercy.
5. Adult children of alcoholics have difficulty having fun.
6. Adult children of alcoholics take themselves very seriously.
7. Adult children of alcoholics have difficulty with intimate relationships.
8. Adult children of alcoholics overreact to changes over which they have no control.
9. Adult children of alcoholics constantly seek approval and affirmation.
10. Adult children of alcoholics usually feel that they are different from other people.
11. Adult children of alcoholics are super responsible or super irresponsible.
12. Adult children of alcoholics are extremely loyal, even in the face of evidence that the loyalty is undeserved.
13. Adult children of alcoholics are impulsive.
They tend to lock themselves into a course of action without giving serious consideration to alternative behaviors or possible consequences.
This impulsively leads to confusion, self-loathing and loss of control over their environment.
In addition, they spend an excessive amount of energy cleaning up the mess.
(Characteristics of Adult Children of Alcoholics, by Janet Woititz 1983 courtesy of, accessed Nov 20, 2011)

While living in southern California and going to school at the Lutheran Bible Institute of Anaheim, I attended an evening New Hope program at a church. I learned about codependency in a christian setting and followed the 12 step program.
In 2011 when I look at "my walls" that were dealt with, there is nothing "simple" about them.

hide the pain
don't feel
don't share
fake it
crippled at birth
feeling unworthy

feeling unwanted
feeling abandoned
being belittled
"you don't have the brains to do it right"
verbal and emotional abuse
"you can't expect to be loved unless you do this...
internal pressure from unrealistic expectations
"you can't meet my expectations unless you do it my way"
my own critical attitudes
being a jerk around others
being judgmental

ANGER at mom and dad
forgive attitudes of anger at yourself
choose to let go of bitterness towards parents

My private diary is full of unexpected break-throughs from a higher power.
This is as real as it gets.

When he breaks in... He is not embarrassed by what he sees.
He is not ashamed of what I am.
He is pleased with my inadequacies.

He embraces this porcupine. 
tears fall, I come undone, 
my mind unravels in his embrace, 
he gifts me with joy, he melts my resistance, 
his bathes my sores, he mends my wounds.


"You Embrace Me, How Can You??" 10 by 28 inches, acrylic on panel
Elsewhere art exhibit, All Souls Gallery, 4501 Walnut, Kansas City, MO. November 6th to December 2nd, 2011

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Mylar ribbons shine in the window in 1998.
Young intensity pours out the door onto the side walk.
 14 North Main hops with reggae music and dreadlocks.
The band from Tennessee, Temple Yard, takes 
a music break at That Phat Phish coffeehouse 
and signs willing palms and arms.

It is a warm summer night 
on the Carrollton downtown courthouse lawn.
Teenage cars circle the square.
The next alternative band to take the 
flatbed stage is Empire from Kansas City,
courtesy of That Phat Phish coffeehouse in 1998.

In this season of art, our coffeehouse staff  
rides a wave of excitement.
This works.

Inside there is popcorn and hot chocolate,
hanging out and being there. 

It is another Saturday night at the Phish....Kevin and his young friends ask me about the pictures made out of brightly-colored flattened cans, chunks of asphalt, a butterfly wing, painted shopping sack strips, a dirty knit glove, shiny Dorito bag liners, and silver glitter. 

I tell the kids to look at the collages 
and tell me what might be represented.
The answers they give bring me wonder and joy.

Blonde mop top Kevin 
stares for a minute
at a dirty glove 
by dark dingy shapes 
at the bottom of the piece, 

and then at the orange orb above
floating in a sky of silver.
 "It is someone reaching up to the Lord," he says.

His sister Danielle says something about 
two blue hand shapes
with a teardrop of bright red 
on each palm
 outlined with silver glitter,
set against a purple background:

"They are the hands of Jesus."
She notes the telltale spots of red which represent the blood scars.

 Danielle doesn't miss a thing. 
When asked what the glitter might be 
she says plainly:
 "That's us!! 
We are in the wounds of Jesus. 
That is where he heals us."

Beautiful Fire by Karl Marxhausen, potato chip liners, plastic cup, ice bag remains, wristbands, and silver paint on panel, 17 by 11 inches, 1998.

In Roman times, when Christianity went underground, the drawn dirt outline of a fish indicated one was a follower of the risen rabbi from Nazareth, the Messiah, Yeshua, Jesus. It is 2011, and in the United States, the land of many open faiths, I say, Jesus is so P-H-A-T. He is Pretty Hot And Tempting. The Lover of my soul. He is beautiful fire. My joy, my savior, my peace, my defender, my strength, my deliverer, my provision, my rest, my rescue, my choice, the MORE, the YES, the LIGHT, the Smart Embrace.
Collage #4 by Karl Marxhausen, 17 by 11 inches, plastic, foil, knitted glove, squashed soda cans, felt, oil and acrylic paint on panel, 1998.
Elsewhere art exhibit, All Souls Gallery, 4501 Walnut, Kansas City, MO. November 6th to December 2nd, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


In the 
dark the 
stress was 
the black and white 35mm film. During the summer of 1993, the flood waters closed down the Daily Democrat newspaper where I worked. We evacuated as the water came in through the backdoor, carrying equipment to the flatbed trailer, as our legs walked through the rising waters. It was a rough time. Our services were relocated to the Career Center on higher ground until the water level went down months later. One morning the staff gathered to cut up and haul out sections of the smelly ruined carpet. It was a difficult sad time. The stress in the darkroom drove me to my knees. 

My desperate prayers and concerns were heard. Hope came in the midst of unwelcome circumstances. Jesus was the one of gave it. This is my story.
Hope Brought To My Pain by Karl Marxhausen, acrylic on board, 28 3/4 by 35 inches
Elsewhere art exhibit, All Souls Gallery, 4501 Walnut, Kansas City, MO. Nov 6 to Dec 2, 2011

Monday, November 7, 2011

physicist on embryogenesis

  "Among the many scientific puzzles posed by living organisms, perhaps the toughest concerns the origin of form. Put simply, the problem is this. How is a disorganized collection of molecules assembled into a coherent whole that constitutes a living organism, with all the right bits in the right places? The creation of biological forms is known as morphogenesis, and despite decades of study it is a subject still shrouded in mystery."
   "The enigma is at its most striking in the seemingly miraculous development of the embryo from a single fertilized cell into a more or less independent living entity of fantastic complexity, in which many cells have become specialized to form parts of nerves, liver, bone, etc. It is a process that is somehow supervised to an astonishing level of detail and accuracy in both space and time."
    "In studying the development of the embryo it is hard to resist the impression that there exists somewhere a blueprint, or plan of assembly, carrying the instructions needed to achieve the finished form. In some as yet poorly understood way the growth of the organism is tightly constrained to conform to this plan. There is thus a strong element of teleogy involved. It seems as if the growing organism is being directed towards its final state by some sort of global supervising agency. This sense of destiny has led biologists to use the term 'fate map' to describe the seemingly planned unfolding of the developing embryo." (pp.102, 103)
Paul Davies, physicist, The Cosmic Blueprint 1987 

                         Click on video. Double click on images.
The Wonder Of Cell Division by Karl Marxhausen, mixed media on board, 40 by 40 inches, All Souls Gallery, 4501 Walnut, Kansas City, MO. Nov 6 to Dec 2, 2011