Read this before you burn that picture of Jesus

Around Christmas time it's impossible to avoid pictures of Jesus. But Megan Hill is still trying.According to her recent post in Her*meneutics, Hill has asked teachers to excuse her kids from coloring nativity scenes and says she covers books depicting Christ in brown paper. To be clear, Hill has nothing against Jesus. She seems quite devout. Rather, her beef with his image comes from a conviction that Christ should never be depicted.Arguing for her view, Hill says her "objection … [Read more...]

Windows to heaven: Icons in church

My church, St. Ignatius Orthodox Church, has completed the first part of a lengthy iconography program. Here's a wonderful time-elapsed presentation of the work behind the altar.In time, it will look something like this church. It took Fr. Theodore Jurewicz six years to properly adorn St. Stephen Orthodox Church in Lackawanna, New York. The results of such efforts, as one monk commented, are "not like Rembrandt. It's other worldly." The icons are "supposed to transport you to another … [Read more...]

If you could Instagram God, what would he look like?

Downtown Nashville features a full-size reproduction of the Parthenon, a temple for the Greek goddess Athena. The name comes from Athena's title Parthenos -- "virgin" -- and if you head indoors you can see all fourteen yards of the old girl, decked out in gold.No one in the ancient pagan world had any trouble imagining what gods and goddesses looked like. A person could just walk into a local temple and see. Or maybe look at the little idols they kept tucked in corner at home.Of course, … [Read more...]

How to read icons of the Nativity

The church has long used iconography to teach and proclaim the gospel. And the Icon of the Nativity, laden thick with theological symbolism and biblical references, can help us better understand and appreciate the mystery of the Incarnation.I have here two examples of the icon, with some explanation for the key imagery. The first is by Theophanes the Cretan, an iconographer who worked in the first half of the sixteenth century. The second is from the Russian Novgorod school of the late … [Read more...]