Saturday, May 10, 2008

Pentecost, and our Lady

Yesterday my wife and I were out on a daytrip and we visited the local art museum of a nearby city.

[Excursus: If you don't already do it, I encourage you to visit your local art museum. It's amazing how many really wonderful paintings there are by artists you've never heard of. End of excursus.]

One of the paintings I saw was a "Descent of the Holy Ghost" by Juan de Juanes, a Spanish painter of the mid-16th century. (No, I'd never heard of him before either.) (All you art history majors: you don't count!) I liked it a lot; it was, I think, typical of that era. The painting depicted the twelve apostles (St. Matthias being #12), together with the Blessed Virgin Mary, gathered together in the upper room. At the top of the painting was depicted the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, and from the Spirit were emanating tongues of fire, lighting upon the heads of each of those present. The twelve apostles; and also St. Mary.


+Jack, and +Keith, yes and you too, +Benedict, and even you, +Rowan: Get over it!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Orthodoxy and Heresy

A colleague passed on to me today a copy of an article from the April 22 Christian Century, by Garret Keizer, entitled "Reasons to Join: In defense of organized religion."(*) (; but this particular article is available online only to subscribers.) Many excellent things in this article, but I was particularly struck by a quote from Kenneth Leech (Keizer did not give the exact citation):

The rejection of paradox and ambiguity is the characteristic of heretics in all
ages. Heresy is one-dimensional, narrow, over-simplified, and boring. It is
straight-line thinking, preferring a pseudo-clarity to the many-sidedness of
truth, tidiness to the mess and complexity of reality. Orthodoxy by contrast is
rooted in the unknowable.

Keizer goes on to comment, "I realize that such a passage may be offensive to some heretics, but imaging how offensive it must be to religious believers who fancy that their heretical simplifications are orthodox!"

(*) With due respect to Mark Twain: "I don't belong to an organized religion. I'm an Episcopalian."