Norton, Jay

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“Ascension”…is intelligently designed based on the configuration of the windows on the west side of the Marquette Club building. Somehow it evolved from thoughts of “space”…and the transformation of urban areas to reference the current debate raging here in our heartland about science and faith. The astronaut represents the glory of man’s scientific achievement. The Jesus represents man’s spiritual ideal and ultimate reward. Both men are ascending to the heavens - one by rocket, the other by the divine hand of God. Both have to have a lot of faith. In the middle is the issue of evolution, represented by the iconic “Ascent of Man” series. Both of the concepts of creation and evolution rely on fact and faith, each conceding something to the other. Hopefully, this piece can be read backward and forward, and as an argument for both sides of the debate, confusing the issues and serving as a little question mark for the neighborhood. Ultimately, the origin of our planet and species is a mystery that will never be completely solved within our lives. Choosing sides [either way is] clinging to ideology [that is ultimately] all about faith. And that is a fact” (Jay Norton) (my brackets).

For many in the church today, it is difficult to swallow a literal read of Jesus being “carried up into heaven” (Luke 24.51). Art produced by Jay Norton (and others) speaks to this tension. Art like his is vital for those in the Christian movement who are drawn to visual images that represent a “more than literal” interpretation of scripture, to employ a phrase Marcus Borg is fond of using. -- Chance Dillon

See also: Record numbers 54145 and 54146 -- search by keyword = norton

Date:January 9, 2007
Artist:Norton, Jay
Building:Marquette Club
City/Town:Kansas City
Country:United States

Scripture:Luke 24:44-53
Lectionary links:BProp16
General Subject:Ascension of Christ
Resurrection of Christ

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Copyright Source:
Copyright Permission:This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial ShareAlike 3.0 License. In short: you are free to use and to share the file for non-commercial purposes under the conditions that you appropriately attribute it, and that you distribute it only under a license compatible with this one. For uses other than the above, contact the Divinity Library at
Attribution:Norton, Jay. Ascension, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved February 19, 2020]. Original source:
Record Number:54144 Last Updated: 2014-04-11 14:04:51 Record Created: 2009-01-12 13:51:45
Institution:Vanderbilt University Unit: Collection: Art in the Christian Tradition