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August 8, 2008

Letting Mother Mary Be



The house was perfect. The four-bedroom tract house in a kid-friendly subdivision was what our family needed. I loved the retro-feeling kitchen with the big window that looked out at the backyard, and our children were thrilled that the chain-link fence all but guaranteed them a dog.

The one thing that concerned me was the three-foot concrete statue of Mother Mary standing in the overgrown flowerbed in the back of the property. Don't get me wrong, I like Mother Mary. My Catholic upbringing taught me to respect her and, before I became Protestant, pray the rosary. I just never imagined her concrete likeness standing in the middle of my Black-eyed Susans.

After negotiating price and repairs with the sellers, we happily approached our moving date. But we left the closing table in tears when, as we sat across from Joseph and Jouella, the former owners, we realized that our new home signified a beginning for us and an ending for them.

As her husband sat silently in a wheelchair, his body ravaged by the effects of Parkinson's, I asked Jouella what she would like us to do with the statue.

"Just put a bag over her head and crack her up," she said, matter-of-factly.

I was mortified. While I didn't think she would say, "Oh, honey, just haul her on over to the nursing home," I certainly wasn't prepared to crack her up. Instead, I did what every good former Catholic who is wracked with guilt would do. I put my father-in-law up to the task.

He performed the dirty deed while I busied myself upstairs in an attempt to disassociate myself from his crime. When he called me into the backyard, I went cautiously. I was relieved the act was over, but I was not interested in seeing the carnage.

"I've taken care of Mary," he said, face shining with pride.

I immediately detected the lack of guilt in his voice, and knew he had not "taken care of Mary."

I looked around, finding no evidence. "Where is she?" I asked.

"Never mind," he said.

"No," I looked at him squarely. "Where is she?"

"Well," he paused. (He's never been terribly good at keeping a secret.) He leaned in close and whispered, "I buried her."
"What?"

"Shhhh!" he said, as if the Mother Mary police or the Catholic Diocese might overhear our conversation. "Don't say another word about it."

I confronted my father-in-law again after the dirt settled and Mary's feet started sticking out of the ground. "Well, she is awfully heavy, you know," he said. "Besides, it's good luck to have Mother Mary buried in your yard."

After our family added a puppy to our mix, the Blessed Virgin Mother's faded blue robe was quickly dug up and I knew I would have to take matters into my own hands. I unearthed the rest of her, wrestled her rigid, 185-pound body into my wheelbarrow (flattening the front wheel in the process) and managed to get her into the garage.

Knowing I could not simply set her at the curb on garbage day, I called the local Catholic Church. They assured me that someone would be interested in the statue, until they asked me if she was in good shape.

"Well," I said. "She's about forty years old." (Uh ? like me.) "And she's been buried for a few months." (I've spent many months feeling buried.) "And ? well, I'm sure she's not as pretty as she used to be. A lot of her paint is chipped off." (Ditto.)

After a long pause, the voice assured me that someone would get back to me. No one did.

Even the man who was hired to help clean the junk out of our garage refused to take the statue, saying something like, "Listen, I'll take just about anything, but I don't mess with the Blessed Virgin Mother." How easy it would have been if the mortar had been poured into a different mold (like say, of a frog) rather than one so sacrosanct.

But something happened between Mother Mary and me on the way to the trash. Over the past year I've learned a little about the former owners (who each passed away within a few short weeks of each other.) Neighbors told me that, before Parkinson's stole his body, Joseph tended to his garden meticulously day after day while his wife (who suffered from a rare sun allergy) looked on from her kitchen window. Mother Mary watched them both the entire time.

In light of these realities, we've decided to keep Mother Mary where she belongs - in our garden. It is now my turn to attempt to create something beautiful from the dirt beneath her silent gaze.

Her presence makes some of my neighbors nervous and they've expressed their concern that I might be tempted to pray to her. Others eye me warily, wondering if I've fallen off the Protestant bandwagon. I smile. I explain. I know they don't understand, but her presence is not for their benefit - it's for mine.

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Comments

Eileen... this is a great story! I can see myself in your shoes with the same reactions. Although I'm not for sure if I could keep dear Mary around, but I love how you have honored the previous owner by taking care of her. Thanks for your humor and honesty!

Eileen, What a lovely story. I am glad that you were able to keep the likeness of the first Christian around. The garden is a great place to have this reminder of birth and regeneration.

Are you afraid that if you get rid of the statue, something bad would happen to you and your family?

It's a lovely story. I am Protestant, always have been and I wouldn't feel any guilt whatsoever about having Mother Mary in my garden. I wouldn't pray to her, but why not leave her there--I'd leave a statue of St. Francis or others. Good for you.

The same problem afflicted some friends of mine many years so I offered to blow it up.

Well, that was a bit much for them, unfortunately because it would have been a great reason to have a party, but they found a home for it with one of their relatives.

Did you notice that you write the word "Statue" several times? The Bible calls this idolatry. Statues are NOT living, therefore they do not feel, they do not react, nor do they look at you or offer you someone else's presence- it's only a "statue". Crack the "STATUE", honor the faith Mary demonstrated as she submitted to the Will of God, but nothing else. Simply said, just get rid of whatever may keep your focus on the LORD.

What a fantastic article. That was fun to read!

"praying to Mary" is an unfortunate short cut for what is actually: "asking Mary to pray for my intention". If you can ask your friends and family on earth to pray for you, you can just as surely ask your friends and family in heaven to pray for you! And Mary has proved herself a GREAT friend, and a devoted spiritual mother! He who is mighty has done great things for Mary -- Praise Jesus!

As a former evangelical (pastor) turned Catholic, I find your story humorous. Of course "the statue" itself means nothing (just like the paper or ink or leather used for the Bible mean nothing as well), but what it represents means everything. By deciding to honor your former neighbors, despite your own discomfort, you did what Mary would do and ultimately Jesus! Having a huge statue like that in my backyard would still unsettle my evangelical conviction somewhat, but knowing that the Blessed Mother, a mighty prayer warrior, is interceding for me is the greatest comfort in the world! (of course Jesus alone is the all-sufficient comfort, for those who would take my informal "greatest" out of context). Praise Jesus!

Here's a joke some good Catholics like to tell...A little old woman is praying at church when she hears someone whisper her name...Eileen. She doesn't respond and keeps praying, a few moments later she hears her name again, but a little louder...Eileen. Again, she doesn't respond and keeps praying. The third time she heard her name called out louder than before...Eileen! At this point, she turns around and sees that it is Jesus and without pause she says "will you be quiet...I'm talking to your mother!"

I don't call myself a Protestant because I'm not protesting anything. I love my Catholic friends and if they are true to the gospel, they are just as welcome in heaven as anyone else. I do not however like the joke above and I don't agree with keeping a statue on my property. I will not judge someone who does, but I don't want to send a message to anyone that I place any importance in them either.

We all have the power to send messages and we as Christians have the power to send messages about the gospel by both word and deed.

Don't confuse Catholic Church tradition with the gospel.

Jesus didn't say that whoever accepts him, follows him, chooses him, honors him....AND his mother will have everlasting life.

I have VERY good Catholic friends, but I do not adopt their practices, because their faith in their practices is not my faith. Their faith in Christ is my faith in Christ and that is the TRUTH of the Gospel.

When I was a child in Catholic School my parents lent our statue of the Blessed Mother to my classroom for the month of May. Unfortunately, someone knocked her over and she broke into many pieces. Sister Rita buried her plaster remains behind the convent. I am glad to see your Mary managed to rise from the dead and get a second chance. I want to give you a big hug! Great story, great courage...thank you.

This is a good story. I am not a Catholic but when I was growing up I had good friends that were strong Catholics. We also had an excellent baby sitter who was a Catholic. She treated my grandson so good. I have an admiration for Catholics.
I love Mary because of the pain she went through to bring our Lord Jesus Christ into the world. She didn't have it easy giving birth in a cave. I don't believe in praying to anyone but the Lord Jesus Christ but I can honor His mother. I would leave the statue in the garden.

I was raised Catholic. I grew up adding Hail Mary and Holy Mary on to the end of the Our Father with my bedtime prayers every night. And yet, I never adopted the habit of the rosary, and I felt strange giving 'homage' to the statue of Mary at my wedding ceremony (I married a non-Catholic). We now are non-denominational devoted followers of Christ and I might say I was Protestant, because I guess we were protesting many things Catholic. That said, something in the article and some of the responses makes me sad. I think it may be the irreverance I sense and I don't think it's just guilt. If I had a favorite portrait of my grandmother (who was a spiritual mentor for me and prayed for me until she went to be with the Lord - where I presume she still intercedes for me), I would never consider treating it or referring to it the way the 'statue' of Jesus' mother was in the passages above. Is it arrogance? Ignorance? Unnecessary? I'm unsettled by this. It's not the statue, it's who the statue represents.

Part 1

This is particularly to Edgar Serrano who said smash the statue, its idolatry. Edgar and others, I’m a devout Catholic; I am this way because I love the Lord, I love the Scriptures and I love TRUTH and if it wasn't for the Catholic Church in 393AD and 395AD at the Synods of Hippo and Carthage you wouldn't even have a Bible. We are honoring the Mother of God (Council of Ephesus 431 AD); she is our Blessed Mother (Luke 1:48). By her free will she said yes to the Father and literally brought Salvation into the world; the name of that Salvation is Jesus Christ(Luke 1:38). We love and honor Mary because of her relationship to Jesus. As for the statues, God commanded man to make graven Images: The Cherubim on the lid of the Ark (Exodus 25:18-20), the image of the serpent (Num 21:8). Christians are allowed to use imagery, statuary to aid in the worship of God (this is not idolatry); the problem is when people worship the images or status like in the case of the golden calf...then we have a problem. Catholics and Orthodox (don't forget our ancient contemporaries who almost have the exact same beliefs) don’t worship statues or images. We venerate the images of Jesus, Mary, St. Francis and other holy people; this is in accordance with the 7th ecumenical council (2nd Council of Nicaea 787AD)....

Part 2
....Don’t brush off the councils as un-important; without them you wouldn't know about the trinity, dual nature of Christ....you wouldn't have the Bible; nor would you believe the true things that you believe. Read the Catechism of the Catholic Church; here are our beliefs in a nut shell. You will see that Catholics only worship God; we give deserved honor, love and respect to the amazing Christian men and women that because of God's Grace they were able to do the wonderful things they did. By honoring the saints you are acknowledging the splendor and power of God who made them saints. So now that I have made this clear if you still want to say that Catholics worship status you'll be breaking the 9th commandment "Thou shalt not bear false witness against they neighbor". I don't mean to come off as angry but I get very upset when other Christians (and mis-informed Catholics) spread lies about the Catholic Church. When I have conversations about Protestant groups, I make sure I am not misrepresenting or falsifying their beliefs; i go to their websites or the encyclopedia to make sure what im saying is true; other wise why have the conversation if its not true, what fruit will come out of that? I have writen this in good faith in the name of Truth.

Take Care,

Your brother in Christ

Anthony

The bible tells us that we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses and I would presume that the mother of Jesus is among them-our ancestors in the faith. I applaud your open mindedness.

A wonderful heart warming story. I ,a life long Christian in the Lutheran tradition, have St. Francis in my backyard. Do I pray to him? No. Do I pray to the cross I wear? No. Does his hand raised in prayer and the small bird held in the other reflect peace to me? Yes. Maybe, we should all remember the example of Christ's love for Mary and Mary's for her beloved Son.

Thy shalt have NO other gods before me.

Thy shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in water under the earth.

Thy shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD your God am a jealous, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.

And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

Read Exodus 20, The Ten Commandments, and may the Lord our God give you the wisdom & understanding of HIS Laws for "It Is Written"

Be Blessed & Happy Sabbath
Seventh Day Adventist!

Regarding Anthony Foti's response to Edgar Serreno, I fail to see how Anthony derives his belief from the Bible. Where does the Bible say making a statue or image of Christ or Mary? Where in the Bible that calls Mary the Mother of God? Referring to the Catholic Catechism as authority is saying it has higher authority as the Bible. This is the crux of the Catholic faith.

I loved this story. I went to a convent school for most of my life and loved it, with all its symbolism and pomp. I loved the stations of the cross. I was converting to Catholism when I was groped by the priest who was teaching me. I ditched the idea of converting but eventually became a born-again and very committed Christian. The moral: Once you have met with the risen Christ He becomes totally irresistable and no man or statue can every put you off loving and adoring the one Who died for our sins. I forgave the priest long ago! MHDSRIP

What a heartwarming story about idolatry

Honouring Mary is not idolatry -- she is, after all, the Mother of Jesus, Whom all Christians worship as God. Many people keep photos of family and friends in their wallets or on their walls/dressers. These photos are representations, not the actual persons, obviously. This is the thinking behind statues -- there was no photography in the 1st century, only painting and sculpture. These statues remind us of holy people like Mary. If we thought the statues were the actual people, then yes, there'd be a problem. But in praying to Mary, we ask her to put in a good word for us with her Son. After all, what son can refuse his mother? Mary herself said (Luke's Gospel), "All generations shall call me blessed". And we still do! She points to Jesus and says, "Do whatever He tells you". That's her role -- to point us not to herself, but to Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Wow, this story's really stirred up a lot of strong feelings. I'm reminded of a characteristically witty story the late Rich Mullins told. He decided to put a portrait of the Virgin Mary on the cover of one of his albums. A concerned fan wrote to him and asked, "Are you saying you think people should pray to Mary?" He answered, "Well, my last album had a picture of me on it, and I don't think people should pray to me."

People are so silly sometimes...

We Catholics certainly do not pray to statues!

Instead, we pray to the leprecauns that live inside them!

To Joe, part 1
Joe,
In regards to statue/images of Jesus and Mary, I am citing precedence in scripture where God commands the making of statues/images for the aid of worship of God. My point is that God actually commanded this. Scripture doesn’t explicitly say to create images of Jesus and Mary, nor does it say to have pictures of your grandparent’s or siblings; but you have them. Just because scripture is silent on an exact situation doesn’t mean that it’s prohibited. People put flowers on the tomb stones of loved ones, kneel before a deceased family member at a wake and pray, make statues of great leaders, presidents, generals, etc; the bible is silent on these issues. Are we committing idolatry in the above examples? Of course not, we are showing honor and respect for the people we love. The bible doesn’t say the words Trinity, dual nature of Christ, etc; but we believe them with all our heart, mind and soul. The word trinity didn’t appear on the Christian scene until the year 181 (150 years after Jesus); does this mean its wrong? Again of course not; Jesus left us with a Church (Matt 16:18-19) that would be guided by the Holy Spirit always (Matt 28:19-20); and this Church would be the “Pillar and Foundation of Truth” (1 Tim 3:15) The Church is here to interpret the Holy Scripturs and teach truth (doctrines and dogmas; which were formulated from Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition in the various Councils and Synods through out Church history). The Bible was put into a canon of 73 books in the Synod of Hippo in 393 AD; from the time of Christ to 393 AD the Church taught doctrine and dogma and refuted heretics because they knew how to interpret Scriptures due to the Oral Tradition (not the tradition of the Jewish law) that was handed down to them by the Apostles (2 Thess 2:15). I could talk more on this (sola scriptura, etc but I want to be able to post this thing, lol). Onto the next point…

TO Joe Part 2
Where does the Bible call Mary our Mother; again like the Trinity this is a doctrine that the Church (Catholic and Orthodox) derived from sacred scripture and sacred tradition. How are we Children of God; God has only one son….Jesus Christ. Through Baptism (Gal 3:26-27) Christ extends his divine sonship to all of humanity so no longer are we just creations of God, but Children of God. Since Christ gave us his Father, he also gives us his Mother as our own. In John 19:26-27 Jesus hands Mary over to the disciple John; the Church has always interpreted this as Jesus handing her over to not just John but to all of his disciples. This isn’t just a Catholic belief; the Orthodox Church as well as the various Ancient Apostolic Churches throughout Asia and African (which were founded by the Apostles of Jesus; and can factually trace themselves back to the Apostles) interprets John 19:26-27 as Jesus extending Mary’s motherhood onto all believers. Also just for some added info; the Hail Mary prayer comes from Luke 1:26-48. On to the last point…

In reference to the Catechism, i don’t know where you got this from that I am comparing it to the Bible; I never said that. The Bible is the inspired, perfect word of God; the Catechism is not inspired. The Catechism is the official teachings of the Church; it shows what the Church teaches and where these beliefs are rooted in Sacred Scripture and Tradition. The only reason I mentioned it is to make the point that when Protestants want to know what the Catholic Church teaches they should go to its official teaching of the Church and not to an un-reliable third party or better yet an anti-catholic website. If you read it, you will never find anything in the Catechism that is in conflict with the Holy Scriptures. The Catholic Church has preserved the Scriptures from the time of the Jesus till they were put together into a Canon (73 books) at the end of the 4th century; all the way up to the present day. If the Church put the Scripture together why would they teach something that is contrary to the scriptures? The answer is they don’t; If you want to truly learn what the Church teaches on Biblical, Moral, Ethical, Social etc issues, read the Catechism; I never said the Catechism is higher then the Bible nor did I ever mention anything about authority. I hope I cleared some things up.

Take Care Joe

Anthony

Since the statue is in a garden, perhaps Eileen you and your family could put garlands of flowers or decorative leaves on her head and over her shoulders. If she has a hand available, hang a basket off it with birdseed or similar in it to attract birds, even scatter seed over her hair. Perhaps put a bird bath in front of her even. This might make her more a part of the garden. Bob Smith, I liked your joke about telling Jesus to be quiet, it sounded as if it originated in Ireland. Father Martin, 'tis a kindness you've done us, letting us know where the leprechauns live when they're not searching for the pot of gold.
Many Blessings All, Claire

Dear Joe,

You're right! I don't find the Bible saying anywhere that we can make statues of Mary (although it does have instructions for making many other images used in worship). Neither can I find anywhere in the Bible that we can take pictures with cameras, draw paintings or make sculptures, use computers and make movies. So why don't you start by destroying all the pictures of your relatives and family members, and then make sure you get to all other objects and that Hollywood stuff and then especially don't forget your computer and the internet! :) (Ridiculous, right?)

Cheers.

I loved this piece. Thank you for the humor and also the reflections that were imbedded throughout.

Its just pure and simple, Idolatry. We might try and come up with fancy names and all sort of theories when it come to the Catholics and their issues with dead biblical people.

The truth is that my God is a jealous God and He alone should be worshiped. Not paintings, concrete and water stains.

Its absurd to try and rationalize this matter. One thing that bothers me is the actually images that are attributed to Christ and Mary. I mean, who came up with them?

Somebody designed these images and now millions if not billions of people identify them with Jesus and Mary. Now you tell me that its not Idolatry?

surely Mary served to achieve God's plan, but she is in now way more special to God than you and I.

I pray that you do not take offense at my view. God bless.

What a beautiful story! I am glad to hear that some evangelicals are beginning to realize the truth about Mary. Catholics do not worship Mary, but we honor her, because by saying yes to God, He exalted her and allowed her to bring Christ into the world. What a powerful example for all Christians!

Hello fellow believers. This dialogue is rather intriguing. I was not going to participate but I can't hold back. Please do some study on Nimrod and Semiramis. Then study Isis and Osiris. I also suggest ordering Perry Stone's Apparition of Mary DVD. I think you will all be surprised who you are really "honoring". I say this because I used to be an agnostic who accepted that there was a higher power. I have done much study to find out who that higher power is and it all points to one - JESUS! Please pray as you research. What seems harmless or following tradition can lead us straight to hell. Read Proverbs 14:12 and compare it to Proverbs 16:3. Have a blessed day!

Khathu, as a Catholic I do not mind your comment. I used to think the same way as an evangelical pastor.

First of all, Catholics don't deal with "dead" but "living" biblical persons. (Matt 22: 31-32: But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.")

Catholics worship the LORD God (Father, Son/Jesus and H. Spirit alone). They do not worship paintings, statues or images. They accepted these as a reminder for people who could not read the Bible many yrs ago in recognition that Jesus did become flesh.

Kissing a picture is as good as you or me crying over our country's flag and saying,"America, you are so great. We love you. we will die for you" or saying the same to your wife or child. When you say to your wife you adore her, you don't mean you worship her, do you? When you treat your leather Bible with great care, you surely don't think you have the original parchments with Greek and Hebrew, do you? But you know that its a translation that reflects the original. Paintings, statues and images mean nothing. Catholics do not think these are God or worship them as a separate God.

Whenever Catholics worship they worship the Living God. They do not set up an image because they want a separate deity. Most definitely, their images are not "idols" or "graven images" as the Jews understood, which the pagans specifically made as separate gods in opposition to Yahweh. If you read the Bible, you'll know that God was not against all images. He actually commanded the Israelites to look at a bronze serpent so that they would be healed. What worse image could you think of? Ironically, the bronze serpent pointed to Christ!

I also noticed that you were "mortified" and "wracked with guilt" stemming from your days as a "good Catholic", at the thought of having the statue cracked up.

Surely Christ's love has the power to free us from guilt associated with our former lives. I am also fascinated by the names the statue has been given. You seem to call it "her" and "Mother Mary". All this is very confusing as it shows me that your Catholic past is still entrenched deeply.

Maybe I am too strict when it comes to traditions that find their way into the gospel. I am human, saved by God's grace and therefore I do not judge you, as troubled as I am by this post.

Show us a Son who does not listen to his mother. Mary is an intercessor for all of us. She is not only important to the Catholics, but also to the Orthodox faith. Other denominations recognize her holiness.
The Bible does tell us, "All generations shall call me blessed." As Catholics, we don't worship statues, but they are a reminder of the holy, God loving people who lived before us and we are to emulate their virtues.

To Khathu Part 1
Khathu,

You say "dead Biblical people". Isn’t the main reason in being a Christian to believe and follow the will of God into eternal life? All this evangelical emphasis about being saved; LIVING eternally with God. If these people are in heaven living with God then why do you say they are dead? When Paul had his conversion on the road to Damascus did Jesus say Saul why are you persecuting my followers? No, he said “why are you persecuting me?” When we are baptized we are baptized into the Body of Christ (1Cor 12:12-27); our souls are mystically infused into the body of Christ; and all believers are part of that body and work together in it. We are baptized into Christ’s death so that Christ can live in us; in baptism we are supernaturally crucified with Christ and raised with him (Rom 6:1-8) By your statement one can come to the conclusion that you believe death has more power then the eternal life giving, anointing sacrifice of Christ.

I’ve heard some people say well the Saints (Mary, and so on) are alive in heaven but their role on earth is done and they no longer are aware or concerned with matters on earth. To them I say explain for me the transfiguration of Christ (Matt 17:1-9, Mark 9:2-8, Luke 9:28-36). Jesus is transfigured and Moses and Elijah (who have been dead for some time now) appear and living human beings (Peter, James and John) see them and Peter offers to make a tent for Elijah and Moses (supposedly dead people) and the splendor of the Trinity is revealed when the Father acknowledges that he is pleased with his son. This is an awesome example of the Church in Heaven communicating and involved with the Church on earth. Also if you read Revelation 8:2-4 an Angel is seen offering up incense and prayers before God. People in Heaven are saved, they are with God, they do not need prayers; so who is the Angel praying for? He is praying for the Church on earth; this proves that even angelic beings are concerned for the welfare of the Church on Earth and that they are praying for us. So to say that the Saints and Angels in Heaven don’t hear our prayers or not concerned with our matters is simply unbiblical. on to the next part...

To Khathu part 2
Finally if you look at early Christian History (just one of the examples) Christian sarcophaguses in Rome where found at the end of the 3rd century with painted images of Christ the true philosopher and shepherd, depicting him holding the Gospel in one hand and the philosopher’s traveling staff in the other hand. These early Christians were taught by the fathers of the early Church who were taught by the Apostles; who lived amongst pagan idolatry; they knew better then us about this issue yet they still used images/statuary to worship God and honor the Saints, where they idolaters? Since the beginning of Christianity down through the centuries statues and images were used to honor the great men and women that God has blessed with the grace to do amazing things for the body of Christ as well as to aid in the worship of the one true God. Even Lutherans use a Crucifix and images, as well as images used by the Methodists; most protestant groups put out a plastic/wooden manger scene with statues during Christmas; are they committing idolatry? In light of history, the correct understanding of the use of imagery and sculpture, and biblical verses read in context; to continue to say this is idolatry is just one trying to stubbornly hold on to their nonsensical, familiar biases which ultimately puts a hindrance on ecumenical relations amongst Christians and goes against Jesus prayer to the Father “that they may all be one” ( John 17:20-23). I hope this answered some questions.

Take care,

Anthony

I was just thinking of this verse from 1 Corintihans 10:23-11:1:
Do All to the Glory of God

23 “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 24 Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. 25 Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience. 26 For “the earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof.” 27 If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience. 28 But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience— 29 I do not mean your conscience, but his. For why should my liberty be determined by someone else's conscience? 30 If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks?

31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.

11:1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

What do you think will be Jesus' response to this article?

Personally, i think just having statues in your houses is fine. But in any way the things that we posess is making us feel guilty or obliged to do something more to it that it deserves, then i think there's a deeper and more serious underlying problem here. The problem is not the statue itself but its us.

Anyway, i personally think that no one can judge one another (Paul even goes beyond not judging himself!). Go back to the basic old-school method, ask God, pray, read the Bible. I don't think the Bible ever gives ambiguous messages - it's plain and clear and it's the sharpest double-edged sword available.

Eileen,

What some of the comments seem to be missing is the compassion you felt for the previous homeowners. The Mary statue was a part of their daily life and she was sort of cast off when they moved on. Then you had to struggle with what to do with her.

Isn't that a little reflective about the elderly today…as in they are a part of our lives, we cast them off in old age and struggle with what to do with them? Just something else to ponder while you are staring in your backyard.

By the way, this line was quite funny, "I just never imagined her concrete likeness standing in the middle of my Black-eyed Susans."

Bless our hearts, thanks for lightening things up a little and creating a very interesting conversation!

Without the Catholic Church we would not have the Bible. St. Paul tells us in II Thessalonians 2:24 "not to forsake the tradition that was handed to you either by word or mouth." Anyone having a problem with Mary being called the "Mother of God" needs to take it up with the Lord. Jesus was both fully human and God. Nestorius attempted to seperate His divinity from His humanity and became a heretic. A mother is not just the mother of someone's body or soul but of that person. Jesus was truly God and human, that is why Elizabeth called Mary,"the Mother of my Lord." The Early Church called Mary "Theotokos" meaning God bearer. Christ was not two different beings. He was fully God and man and those who try to seperate that by saying Mary was just the mother of Jesus the human are falling into heresy. The term "Mother of God" is not in the Bible, but neither is the word "Trinity" either.

I learned, in Harvard Divinity School of all places, that Catholics don't have a lock on Mary. She is a woman of the Bible. She listened to and obeyed God, even when told to do an outlandish, scandalous thing. She is to be admired by every Christian, and is a role model for every Christian woman.

As for images as aids to worship or as cult objects, visit any Christian gift shop and assess those offerings in the same light as a garden statue.

From the KJV of the Bible. How come God commands the ark to be built with cherubs made of gold. Don't cherubs dwell in the heavens? Is God commanding the Isrealites to commit idolatry? Keep things in context.

18] And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat.
[19] And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof.
[20] And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be.


Well, this is very much interesting indeed. Would love to read a little more of this. Great post. Thanks for the heads-up.

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