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Merry Christmas, hope you are disturbed.

December 24, 2009

 Okay, so we had our little fun with our bad Christian art. Now what?

Well, I give you the picture on the left here, or rather, an icon. If you go into any Orthodox (Greek, Russian, Serbian, Etc), you’ll see them plastered all over the church walls. Everyone of them stare down at you like an audience or, dare I say, a great cloud of witnesses.

At the CCO (my campus ministry organization), we have our quarterly training sessions at an Antiochian Orthodox retreat center. The heart of the main building has a beautiful chapel where many of us hold an Anglican prayer service. Some people can’t handle all of the Icons. As one of my coworkers pointed out, “it’s a bit disturbing”.

That’s the point. It’s supposed to be. Orthodox Icons aren’t meant to be mistaken for the real thing. That would be idolatry. Rather, they are meant to be pictures reminding us of an unseen reality. It’s meant to unsettle us, disturb us and then, to bring about worship of the God who is near.

That’s really what Jesus’ birth is all about. It’s supposed to disturb us and cause us to question our view of the reality. God being born as a baby. God taking on our flesh and “our image” when we were made in His. And as a friend pointed out, God being born so that He could die for us.

Christmas always bring me an uneasy peace, a peace that disturbs me. It should. I hope it keeps pressing on and pressing in to the dark places of sin in my heart. I hope Christmas will keep disturbing my peace like those angels disturbed those shepherds at their work place.

I hope Christmas will disturb you this year.

Merry Christmas, you Thomas lovelies. The hounds will leave a nice round of the finest Irish cider in your stockings this year.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the begining, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. erp permalink
    December 27, 2009 12:04 am

    Christmas disturbs by the divisions it shows. Christians quibble over details about God (was Mary “ever-virgin”, was Jesus fully God and fully human [I know some Unitarian Christians], are the nativity stories literally true, etc) and tread their brothers and sisters into the mud while doing so. According to the Bible, Jesus said he came with a sword and too many seem to have taken that as a command not a warning. Admittedly Christians aren’t the only group with that fault; we atheists can also strain at gnats at times.

    I’m glad to see that you are getting together with the Purdue atheists to do a spring break rebuilding houses in New Orleans and to raise money (but no Mercedes:-) for the trip. PZ has promised extra donations if he makes you cry so smuggle in a few onions.

  2. Richard Eis permalink
    December 27, 2009 4:32 pm

    Isn’t Pharyngula fun. He did an article just for you (and the pirhanas who post there of course).

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