Sunday, April 5, 2009

Thought-provoking Stuff on Religious "Stuff"

iMonk takes evangelicals to task for their criticisms of Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians in the area of devotion to religious objects. Here's a sample from his riff...
Humans are religious. In their religious practices, they endow objects, associations, places, persons and certain sense experiences with meaning. They use these objects, etc. to focus upon God’s presence in the world. All that Catholics/Orthodox do is come out and tell you they believe God mediates his presence through matter. We believe the exact same thing, and can outdo our brothers and sisters in the gear department most days. (I haven’t seen Catholic amusement parks and their bookstores are not quite as numerous as Family Bookstores, Lifeway, etc.).
He's right. For years iconoclastic fundamentalists and evangelicals have looked down on their more liturgical brethren for their habits of worship, particularly when it comes to venerating sacred objects or surrounding themselves with material reminders of their faith. All the while, we've been doing the same thing and calling these objects "tools for witnessing," or something like that.

I encourage you to take a look at his post. Just click the link in the first paragraph to access it.

What do you think?

1 comment:

Damaris said...

Mike --
I would draw your attention to a great blog called Glory to God for All Things, by Father Stephen Freeman. I had just been reading his post, "To Remember God" and thinking about telling you about it, when I read your post on just the same subject. Check it out.

And I do agree with you, except I take issue with equating "stuff" bought at a commercial "Christian" store with Church iconography and ritual developed over 2 millenia. Your point, though, that we must believe that God has manifested Himself through matter, is exactly right. That was the foundation of the great Iconoclasm controversy in the early days of the church -- it didn't have much to do with what kind of church decor people liked.