Monday, December 20, 2004

What ever happened to the Incarnation?

Its nights like tonight when I wish I grew up Catholic.

After coming across two different postage stamps in our home (one having a happy snowman figure on it and the other a famous art piece of the virgin mary and jesus) I was rather disturbed to hear fellow loved ones talk down of the "catholic" stamps. Why aren't we using these ones more often? I wondered, thinking how the virgin Mary has never been and probably (sadly) will never be an icon for evangelical thinkers (an oxymoron,'s not, even thought it feels like it is most of the time). And then, I felt really upset. I don't like the fact of growing up without many icons. Sure, we have the empty cross but let's face it...our culture has kind of adopted this icon as their own and so, it doesn't really say much to wear an empty cross around your neck or in your ear, does it?

So why are these Catholic stamps looked down upon so much? I don't know. Probably b/c most of us don't have a clue as to how much we've "borrowed" from the Catholic tradition and think that we really are WAY WAY WAY different then them (which compared to American Catholicism, maybe we are...but still) when in all actuality, we're not. Whatever the reason, I'm sad to say that I was never raised to believe in the Virgin Mary as an religious icon and never shown how glorious and mysterious the Incarnation really was. Instead, these were merely doctrinal statements i recited in cachetism-memorization time in bible class and they carried no personal meaning to my faith, or my Protestant tradition.

Now, I'm not bashing my own tradition (or am I?) but I am merely saying how I wish and really long for a tradition that carries relevance as well as tradition, and is not just some cultural savvy and loopy and wishy-washy and anti-Catholic evangelical-type of tradition (that rejects any serious intellectual research). We humans were created far too complex to be told we can't ask the hard questions or believe in the mystery and power and wonder of the Incarnation. Both beliefs can exist within people, and I wish my evangelical compadres would get this through their heads. I love them so much, but I'll be the first to admit that this kind of stuff makes me want to do anything but love them...and that, for me, presents a big problem. After all, what's the point and title and theme of this whole blog anyway? Maybe I get off subject too much. Oh well. Good late night.


Magicfingers said...

I am not good at quoting books, chapters or verses from the bible. But it says that we shall not worship or pray to anyone but God. That includes the virgin Mary, all the so called saints, crucifix and all. Calling a priest "father", kissing rings, confessing to a priest, saying 100 hail Marys, all are against what is written in the bible.

Neville said...

Yes, but there is a difference between icons and idols. Sure, the Virgin Mary as an icon has been turned into an idol by many but that does not mean we should abandon icons b/c people misuse/abuse them. There's a good book on this subject called "Penguins and Golden Calves" by Madeleine L'Engle that you might like to check out on this very subject. I understand what you're saying but I think we're talking about two very different things. And this isn't just something I've "thought up"...I was reminded of it by my Gospels professor who is a conservative theologian on the matter.