Louisville Magazine

JAN 2017

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 12.16 53 a corridor of drywall that twisted past panels that read "God Creates the Perfect World" and "After creating Adam, the Lord made Eve from Adam's rib to be his perfect companion." Side by side, Adam and Eve were holding each other, gazing up at a necklace of stars. en came "e Fall: Man's Rebellion Corrupts Creation." Winding through the branches, the serpent from the Fairytale Ark slithered its tongue at Eve's back while she reached up for the fruit of the tree. "Death" headed another poster: "Adam's sin brought death and the Curse into this world." e other panels went on like that — "e Expulsion: God Banishes Adam and Eve," "New Life: God Revives Man's Hope," "First Murder: Cain Murders Abel." I fell behind three women ushering a group of little boys through the exhibit, pointing to posters and saying, "What happened here?" "Cain murdered Abel," the children sang. "at's right — Cain murdered Abel. It was crazy there for a minute." Gold letters spaced above another series of posters proclaimed: "Descent into Darkness." e soundtrack blared out snorting horses, crackling kindling, shrieking men. One of the posters, "Giants," showed an ogreish figure with jagged teeth charging forward with a club raised over his bald, scarred head. In front of me, a woman with a pageboy haircut held the hand of a little boy. Pointing, she said, "ere were once giants in the Earth. Did you know that, buddy?" "ere were?" the boy said. "A long time ago. Yep. It's in the Bible." "Violence" was the last poster. Across the canvas swarmed Visigoth armies bris- tling with swords and shields and firelit lances. An arrow thudded into a soldier's chest. A grunt snarled as he skewered a man through the gut. One of the women leading the little boys said to another one, "Morgan, this makes me want to go re-read my Bible." "Excessive Hedonism: Living for Plea- sure" ("All flesh had corrupted its way on the earth") showed a street scene that could have been plucked out of a Moroc- can casbah. ree men in togas haggled with women who had the skin tone and getup of medieval Italian duchesses, all of them standing under a store awning. Morgan pointed to the poster. "So, plea- sure — it was all flesh." (e children stared up at her.) "People was just doing whatever they wanted to do." "e devil uses sin to separate you from God," another of the women said. Around the corner, built into a wall behind a glass panel, a diorama depicted what appeared to be a Mesopotamian rooftop party. Women, six inches tall, with dark plaited hair and dressed in two-piece loincloth bikinis, were frozen mid-gyration. Someone strummed a standing harp. People lounging on couches arranged around a fire brazier raised chalices in salute. e woman with the pageboy lifted her son. "Look at what they're doing," she said. "ey're drinking. ey're drinking alcohol." Still holding the boy, she turned so that his face nearly pressed against the next panel. Behind it was another diora- ma: Men and women carried babies up a staircase to the altar of a ziggurat, where a high priest was lifting a baby up toward a statue that loomed atop a throne. Swaddled in gold robes, this gorgon had the body of a man, but the neck of a python sprouted from between its shoul- ders, fangs bared, jaw nearly unhinged, orange light pulsating in its throat. "ey was worshipping false gods," Morgan said. "Y'all see the Snake God? at's why God flooded the Earth, because everyone was being so wicked." Below the Snake God and the high priest, on the side of the dais, was a carving of a figure with wide hips and horns curving out from her forehead and sheaves of hair covering her breasts. Embossed on the walls alongside her, Egyptian-esque paintings of women in red and white and blue dresses were all holding up babies. e woman with the pageboy said, "All those people are getting ready to sacrifice their babies. is is what they would do — take their babies up to the altar and sacrifice them." "Why would they do that?" the boy asked. "Because that's what they thought their God wanted them to do. ey really had places like this a long time ago, and they still have places like this in some parts of the world." "ey kill babies?" the boy asked. "In America they do. It's called abor- tion," she said. "Look — they put the ba- bies on the altar and burn them. We still do that today. Look at how corrupt—" "It still is!" Morgan said. "But we have Jesus!" the woman with the pageboy said. "Oh, that's true!" "And the Holy Spirit!" "at's true, too!" e final stretch of the exhibit was a mural of the flood toppling temples and false idols, sweeping away cities and palaces, while volcanoes exploded on a horizon charred with black clouds. Clinging to a precipice, people threw their arms out toward the Ark, glowing in the distance, buoyed from the last wreckage of civilization. In the bottom corner, a woman thrashed away from a shark that had half-swallowed her in its toothed maw. "is is what happened when Noah entered the Ark," the woman with the pageboy said, patting the little boy's head. "e wicked people were unaware of the coming judgment, till the flood swept them all away." Cyndie and Robert Diber sat out- side the Pre-Flood World, bounc- ing their two little girls on their knees. ey were from Michigan but had been visiting family in Louisiana and came to the Ark on their way back — "to confirm what we've always read in the Bible," Cyndie told me. "We live in a culture where people are more emotional about their positions," she said. "At heart, we're all valuable to God. Whether I agree with who you vote for president or what your position on homosexuality is, you are as important as I am in the eyes of God." Robert said that he had seen protesters holding "Stop the Incest and Genocide Park" signs outside the Ark. "It's their right to protest, but it seems a bit odd." He shrugged. "Maybe they're concerned that people are being lied to here." e group that had been picketing was the Tri-State Freethinkers, and a few weeks later I talked to one of the group's founders, Jim Helton, who told

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