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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

I'm sitting here in Scranton, PA...and no I'm not visiting the regional office of Dunder Mifflen ala "The Office."  I'm about to begin a one week workshop on creating icons.   Now you might wonder why on earth I would do such a thing...so just to prove my orthodoxy let me quote from the Acts of the 7th Ecumenical Council 784 AD (Impressive I know)  “Pictoriality is inseparable from the Gospel narration, and, vice versa, the Gospel narration is inseparable from pictoriality. What the word communicates through sound, the painting shows silently through depiction.”

(I'm also going to b joining the monks of St. Tikhon monastery in daily worship, which will be quite an interesting experience coming off the National Worship Leaders Conference.  St. Tikhon is the oldest Orthodox monastery in the United States).

Image has always been controversial in the church...is it idolatry, is it modest enough, is culturally sensitive...but it has also been seen as a way into the holy.   In fact in preliterate times it was the vehicle of choice, but in the literate age the preference shifted toward the written word of ideas and concepts, over and against that of images.   For example, let me explain to you the theology behind the Icons of Mary and Child, the icon is supposed to help us visualize the love of God for humanity.  Here is Mary (us) and Christ which represent the love of God choosing to become intimate with humanity, it is a visual expression of a rather complex theological truth.  

My question is how can we reclaim image today?  What images can help us understand God more fully? 

Let me put it one last way.  Read the following words:   HAPPY FATHER'S DAY.    Do you understand what I just wrote?  Do you comprehend the meaning?  Of course you do.  No do me a favor let me explain to you something I just saw at the airport.  Two boys ages probably 10 and 12 running up to their father who just emerged from the beyond the gate.  He wraps his arms around them, and the boys are shouting, "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy."  Now imagine I took a picture of that seen (I wasn't smart enough to do it)  Imagine that picture in your minds eye.   OK which gave you a better understanding of Father's Day...the Words HAPPY FATHER'S DAY or the Image I shared with you. 

So I'm about to explore an ancient way of producing image to help inform faith.   I'll let you know how it goes!  In the meantime Happy Father's day.

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