Search Results For: "saints on display"

Saints On Display

Sep 5 2013 @ 10:16am

Aug 25, 2013 @ 6:48pm

by Matt Sitman

Relic Display

Jason Byassee pens a Protestant appreciation of relics, or the bones and possessions of Christian saints, arguing that to reject them puts you “dangerously far away from the presence of one whose resurrection was so unbearably physical that it will draw our bodies from their graves too one day”:

The church in the Middle Ages built elaborate reliquaries for bones, clothes, and other physical objects related to the bodies of the saints. The reason was simple: saints are those on whom God has provided an especially gracious dose of holiness. In a faith like ours that is built on the incarnation, holiness comes not despite but through the physical body. The great Peter Brown’s book on this, The Cult of the Saints, shows that ancient Christians’ veneration of bodies came in marked contrast to their pagan and Jewish neighbors. Both rival groups viewed the dead as unclean in a way that was contagious for those who came in contact with them. Christians, on the other hand, viewed the saints as holy and their dead bodies or earthly possessions (see here Acts 19:12) as making others holy. So rather than flee cemeteries, we Christians built churches on top of them.

He continues:

To some extent, we are our bones. What we do with the bones of those before us shows who we are. We shouldn’t treat them like talismans, as though independent of our own pursuit of biblical holiness they can magically whisk us into heaven. Neither should we denigrate them. We should honor them, even, to use ancient Christian language, venerate them. I remember seeing the top-hat of President Lincoln in his museum in Springfield, Illinois, with two fingermarks worn clean where he used to doff the thing. I felt my heart bow. How much more in the presence of the body of a holy one?

(Image by Ramón Cutanda López.)


Aug 26, 2013 @ 2:39pm

Ctd …

by Chris Bodenner

SAM_3852

A reader bristles over this post:

I disagree with the focus on relics, no matter who is doing the venerating or how much the apologetics try to explain that they are not idols. When I look at what people do aside from what they say, the physical objects are serving as idols if only for a small fraction of the orthodox followers. On top of that, to imply that if I do not idolize the relic then I am less worthy of approaching G0d is taking this even further in the wrong direction.

There is a strong human tendency to slip from veneration into idol worship. The Bible goes out of its way again and again to urge us to steer away from idolatry and to focus on one true G0d that does not manifest a physical presence. That the one G0d chose to be unseen and non-physical is the most sublime and wise decision in the history of humanity. Similarly that Moses was taken up without a physical trace, and that Jesus was taken up without a physical trace, goes a long way to preventing the focus on the physical remnants and to keep the focus were it is better set – on the one, unseen G0d. It keeps people focused on living better lives, now bowing to physical objects. (I once watched pilgrims bow to objects at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.) If we had a grave of Moses or Jesus, there would be a constant stream of millions of people and an almost irresistible tendency to turn them into idols. Similarly the Jews have to keep in mind the Kotel is not the focus and the Torah scroll is just a book, not something to be worshipped.

Another sends the above photo and writes:

Read On

Saints On Display, Ctd

Sep 5 2013 @ 8:51am

A reader keeps the thread undead:

Your fascinating series reminds me of a summer tour I took as a teenager with a youth choir from Montana, where I grew up. I’d been raised Presbyterian, and though my home 1742905208_ad7687ca4dchurch was neo-Gothic and quite beautiful, it included none of the statuary and shrines of American Catholic churches, and certainly no sign of European churches’ veneration of relics and remains. Death was kept at a prim distance; open caskets for example were considered both spiritually suspect and (though this was unspoken) in terrible taste.

One of our first stops on the trip was Salzburg, and I vividly remember stumbling on St. Sebastian’s Church and Cemetery, near our hotel, a place teeming with carved memento mori – skulls, snakes, bones, bats, and winged hourglasses [example seen to the right]. In the walled cemetery, a statue of a ragged corpse – sunken-eyed and grimacing, as if decomposed – rose out of an above-ground tomb. I’d never encountered such morbidly bracing imagery and didn’t then have the familiarity I would discover later – through works of Schubert, Freud, Hermann Broch, and many others – with the Austrian intimacy with death.

Read On

Saints On Display, Ctd

Sep 1 2013 @ 8:38am
by Chris Bodenner

1362493_orig

A reader sends the above photo:

Here in Philadelphia, we’ve got the entire body of a saint on display. St. John Neumann is not very well-known outside of Philadelphia. He was a Redemptorist priest who became the fourth bishop of Philadelphia and is credited with founding the parochial school system and the Forty Hours devotion. During the canonization process, his body was exhumed from its resting place in the basement of St. Peter the Apostle Church and found to be in excellent condition after nearly 100 years in the ground. The basement of the church was converted into a church and shrine. There’s a side room off of the sanctuary that serves as a mini-museum to St. John Neumann and a gift shop.

I’ve been to the shrine a few times. The entire experience is equal parts fascinating and creepy. I believe in the veneration of saints, but spending time looking at a dead saint’s body feels strange.

Another dead saint:

Read On

Saints On Display, Ctd

Aug 29 2013 @ 2:58pm
by Chris Bodenner

Budapest - Places To Visit

A reader adds to the nascent thread:

In the ’90s, I visited a church in Budapest where they displayed the 1000-year-old hand of St. Stephen. You have to put a coin in a box to make it light up. I couldn’t bear to look.

Another goes deep:

The problem with Christian opposition to idolatry is that the Doctrine of Incarnation postulates that God really became incarnate in matter. The Body of Christ is literally an idol (although a true idol per Orthodoxy). Furthermore, from the standpoint of Alexandrian theology, the whole point of the incarnation is so that we can become like God through the example of Christ, divinization, e.g. icons of Christ. Otherwise, the whole thing is pointless; you should just give up and study Aristotle or something.

Without saints, and icons and relics, you end up with a God that is just some occult metaphysical abstraction that saves us through some occult metaphysical process in some occult metaphysical by and by. Why not just worship God in an occult metaphysical way too? That is, why not just be nice and think positively? Why make a gesture of prayer or come together in a gesture of worship at all? Obviously, if we look up when we pray, then aren’t we suggesting that God is some kind of being up in the sky? If we speak, aren’t we suggesting that God has ears and can hear us? (And if he has ears, why can’t we draw them?) How is this any different from kissing an icon?

Or even better, isn’t the idea of a God that is not, in some sense, really physically present in matter a vacuous and meaningless idea? And isn’t that the central foundation of a vacuous and meaningless “contemporary” spirituality?

Saints On Display, Ctd

Aug 26 2013 @ 2:39pm
by Chris Bodenner

SAM_3852

A reader bristles over this post:

I disagree with the focus on relics, no matter who is doing the venerating or how much the apologetics try to explain that they are not idols. When I look at what people do aside from what they say, the physical objects are serving as idols if only for a small fraction of the orthodox followers. On top of that, to imply that if I do not idolize the relic then I am less worthy of approaching G0d is taking this even further in the wrong direction.

There is a strong human tendency to slip from veneration into idol worship. The Bible goes out of its way again and again to urge us to steer away from idolatry and to focus on one true G0d that does not manifest a physical presence. That the one G0d chose to be unseen and non-physical is the most sublime and wise decision in the history of humanity. Similarly that Moses was taken up without a physical trace, and that Jesus was taken up without a physical trace, goes a long way to preventing the focus on the physical remnants and to keep the focus were it is better set – on the one, unseen G0d. It keeps people focused on living better lives, now bowing to physical objects. (I once watched pilgrims bow to objects at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.) If we had a grave of Moses or Jesus, there would be a constant stream of millions of people and an almost irresistible tendency to turn them into idols. Similarly the Jews have to keep in mind the Kotel is not the focus and the Torah scroll is just a book, not something to be worshipped.

Another sends the above photo and writes:

Read On

Saints On Display

Aug 25 2013 @ 6:48pm
by Matt Sitman

Relic Display

Jason Byassee pens a Protestant appreciation of relics, or the bones and possessions of Christian saints, arguing that to reject them puts you “dangerously far away from the presence of one whose resurrection was so unbearably physical that it will draw our bodies from their graves too one day”:

The church in the Middle Ages built elaborate reliquaries for bones, clothes, and other physical objects related to the bodies of the saints. The reason was simple: saints are those on whom God has provided an especially gracious dose of holiness. In a faith like ours that is built on the incarnation, holiness comes not despite but through the physical body. The great Peter Brown’s book on this, The Cult of the Saints, shows that ancient Christians’ veneration of bodies came in marked contrast to their pagan and Jewish neighbors. Both rival groups viewed the dead as unclean in a way that was contagious for those who came in contact with them. Christians, on the other hand, viewed the saints as holy and their dead bodies or earthly possessions (see here Acts 19:12) as making others holy. So rather than flee cemeteries, we Christians built churches on top of them.

He continues:

To some extent, we are our bones. What we do with the bones of those before us shows who we are. We shouldn’t treat them like talismans, as though independent of our own pursuit of biblical holiness they can magically whisk us into heaven. Neither should we denigrate them. We should honor them, even, to use ancient Christian language, venerate them. I remember seeing the top-hat of President Lincoln in his museum in Springfield, Illinois, with two fingermarks worn clean where he used to doff the thing. I felt my heart bow. How much more in the presence of the body of a holy one?

(Image by Ramón Cutanda López.)

The Road To Becoming A Relic

Oct 13 2013 @ 11:31am

München

Rachel Nuwer describes the work of art historian Paul Koudounaris, whose book, Heavenly Bodies, documents how the bones of Christian martyrs in Roman catacombs were transformed into bejeweled relics, which were displayed in churches throughout Europe. How Vatican investigators determined which remains belonged to a departed saint:

[T]he process of ascertaining which of the thousands of skeletons belonged to a martyr was a nebulous one. If they found “M.” engraved next to a corpse, they took it to stand for “martyr,” ignoring the fact that the initial could also stand for “Marcus,” one of the most popular names in ancient Rome. If any vials of dehydrated sediment turned up with the bones, they assumed it must be a martyr’s blood rather than perfume, which the Romans often left on graves in the way we leave flowers today. The Church also believed that the bones of martyrs cast off a golden glow and a faintly sweet smell, and teams of psychics would journey through the corporeal tunnels, slip into a trance and point out skeletons from which they perceived a telling aura. After identifying a skeleton as holy, the Vatican then decided who was who and issued the title of martyr.

Once a skeleton was selected, highly-skilled monks and nuns would prepare it for presentation to a congregation, a process that could take up to three years:

Read On

Thread Archive

Feb 3 2013 @ 2:38pm
last updated 5/6/2014

Listed in reverse-chronological order with the most recent threads at the top:


Most Recent:

Do I Sound Gay? May 2014
Andrew and readers share their opinions of the sound of gay voices.

The War Over The Core Apr – May 2014
Reader and the blogosphere debate on the pros/cons of the Common Core education standards.

The View From Your Obamacare Apr – May 2014
Readers share their personal experiences with the new law.

The $84,000 Cure Apr 2014
Discussion regarding the Hepatitis C drug Sovaldi and the larger issue of how much pharmaceutical companies charge for their drugs.

Why Aren’t Gay Men On The Pill? Apr 2014
Andrew, readers and journalist Dave Cullen debate the use of–and stigma of using—PrEP (Truvada), a drug which can can help prevent the spread of HIV among gay men.

Hyperactive Prescribing? Apr 2014
Reader discussion regarding the prescribing, harms and benefits of Attention Deficit Disorder medication.

A Nation Defined By White Supremacy? Mar – Apr 2014
Andrew, Chait, TNC and readers debate the legacy of American racism.

The Down’s Spectrum Mar 2014
Personal stories shared by readers regarding children on the Down’s spectrum.

What’s A Bisexual Anyway? Jun 2013 – Mar 2014
Andrew and readers discuss the nature of bisexuality.


The Archive:

A Good Death Jan 2014
A debate that attempts to outline what it means to die well, comprised of many personal stories shared by Dish readers.

Ditch The Rock Jan 2014
Reader share their thoughts and experiences regarding the the pros and cons of engagement rings, as well as alternatives.

Always Tell Kids The Truth? Dec 2013
Readers weigh in on the pros and cons of parents deceiving their children (ie Santa Claus).

The Misery Of Miscarriage Nov – Dec 2013
Readers share their personal stories of dealing the tragedy of having a miscarriage.

The Reality Of Serious Weight Loss Dec 2013
Reader discussion of the various, often surprising consequences of significant weight loss.

The Rape Double Standard Nov 2013
Thread discussing how our culture perceives the rape of men by women.

The Abatement Of Cruelty Nov – Dec 2013
Spurred on by a post from Andrew, an extensive discussion regarding the evils visited upon animals by factory farming.

The View From Your Shutdown Oct 2013
Readers chime in with how the GOP led government shutdown is affected their lives and livelihoods.

Saints On Display Aug – Sep 2013
Readers’ memories of the many places around the world where you can see the relics of dead religious figures.

It’s So Personal May 2009 – Aug 2013
Posts, penned by readers, related to late-term abortion – most of them in the wake of the assassination of the abortion doctor George Tiller.

When Childhood Classics Aren’t Innocent Aug 2013
Readers share examples of popular culture that now seem racist or insensitive in hindsight.

Why Do Chinese Tourists Have Such A Bad Rep? Aug 2013
Discussion of the origins of stereotypes regarding Chinese tourists.

The Last Lesson We Learn From Our Pets Jul -Aug 2013
Extensive reader discussion in regards to how to handle the death of a pet, concluding with Andrew’s personal experience letting go of his beagle Dusty.

The South vs Social Mobility? Jul 2013
Andrew and readers thinking through the relationship between geography, politics, race, and social mobility.

Suicide Leaves Behind Nothing Jul 2013
Our posts discussing why people take their own lives, and what that act means for those left behind.

Why Should Women Shave? Jun – Jul 2013
Our posts investigating the desire or social expectation for women to shave.

Do Mascots Need Modernizing? May – Jun 2013
Posts discussing the implications of sports team mascots that are based on cultural stereotypes, particularly those related to Native Americans.

Being Master Of Your Own Domain Apr – Jun 2013
A thread pertaining to the potential pitfalls of masturbation as well as the ubiquitousness of internet pornography.

“Enhanced Advertorial Techniques” Jan – May 2013
Our posts covering the rise of “sponsored content” at sites like the Atlantic and Buzzfeed. The coverage began in response to a Scientology advertorial featured by the Atlantic in January 2013, then a month later the focus shifted to Buzzfeed and other examples across the web.

An Islamist Beheading In Britain May 2013
Posts covering and responding to the terrorist attack on a British soldier in Woolwich, England.

Should We Kill Cursive? Apr – May 2013
Posts exploring the possible end of the practice and teaching of cursive handwriting.

Sully And Hitch After Dark Feb – Apr 2013
This thread compiles the transcribed outtakes of a late-night discussion between Andrew and Christopher Hitchens on a range of topics from religion to free will to the war in Iraq.

Race And IQ. Again. May 2013
Posts in which Andrew responds to the firing of the Jason Richwine, as well as the overall controversy of social science research into race and IQ.

Yes, Of Course It Was Jihad Apr – May 2013
Thread in which Andrew examines the motives of the Boston Marathon bombers, including extensive debate with other bloggers as well as readers.

The Iraq Invasion: Ten Years Later Mar – Apr 2013
Our mosts marking the ten year anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq.

It’s So Personal May 2009 – Aug 2013
Posts, penned by readers, related to late-term abortion – most of them in the wake of the assassination of the abortion doctor George Tiller.

Pay College Athletes? Jul 2011 – Apr 2013
Our ongoing discussion on how (or if) college athletes should be compensated for their play.

Why Take His Name? Mar 2013
Reader discussion about the practice of women (or couples) changing their names when they get married.

Crowdsourcing On Steroids Mar 2013
Posts following the Kickstarter-funded Veronica Mars movie.

How Racism Was Made Mar 2013
Posts exploring the origins of racism, including thoughts from Andrew, the blogosphere, and multiple readers.

The Meaning Of Girls Apr 2012 – Feb 2013
This thread explores the cultural influence and meaning of Lena Dunham’s show Girls.

The Dish On Comments Apr 2007 – Feb 2013
This thread compiles the various discussions of commenting policy the Dish has had over the years.

Dish Independence Jan 2013
Posts following the Dish’s declaration of independence, beginning with Andrew’s original announcement and followed by discussion with readers, coverage of the blogosphere’s response, and further explanations from Andrew.

Dish Independence II Feb – May 2013
Posts following the launch of the new independent Dish, including updates on the progress of our business model, feedback from readers, and continuing coverage of other independent ventures across the media.

Females At The Front Jan 2013
In this ongoing thread stretching back several years, the Dish looks at the role of women in combat.

The Meaning Of Zero Dark Thirty’s Torture Dec 2012 – Jan 2013
Following the debate regarding the inclusion of torture in the plot of the film Zero Dark Thirty, including Andrew’s in-depth concerns, his review of the film, and discussion regarding the accuracy of the film as well as the level of CIA involvement in its making.

Towards Tablets And Paying For Content Oct – Dec 2012
Starting with Andrew’s reaction to the end of Newsweek’s print edition, this thread follows the shifting media landscape towards digital-only and/or tablets, as well as the continuing rise of paywalls, meters, and discussion of whether or not readers will pay for content.

“I Love My Son. But He Terrifies Me.” Dec 2012
Our posts discussing the mental health implications of the Newtown school shooting, including Andrew recalling his experiences growing up around mental illness, as well as many heartfelt responses from readers.

When Heroism Beckons Dec 2012
Begins with discussion of what do to if you ever fall down onto subway tracks and then continues with readers sharing their thoughts and experiences on both committing and benefiting from acts of sudden heroism.

Letters From Millennial Voters Nov/Dec 2012
In one of the most popular threads of the year, millennial Dish readers write in to explain the origins of their political beliefs.

Is Big Football The Next Tobacco? Mar – Dec 2012
Coverage and discussion regarding the dangers of playing professional football.

The Roid Age Nov/Dec 2012
Andrew and readers discuss steroids and the modern male body.

What Is Petraeus’ Legacy / The Medals They Carried Nov 2012
Coverage of the legacy of General David Petraeus following his resignation as well as what became the most popular segment of the discussion: the over-medaling of US servicemembers.

Will The Right’s Fever Break? Nov 2012
Looks at whether or not the results of the 2012 election will finally restore reason to the Republican party.

Religion, Race And Double Standards Oct 2012
Andrew examines of the Mormon church’s racist history and how it relates to Mitt Romney’s shape-shifting character, including a lot of back and forth with readers.

New York Shitty Oct/Nov 2012
Andrew and readers discuss New York City after his very difficult experience moving there.

Romney Unplugged Sep 2012
Coverage of the fallout over the secretly-taped video of Mitt Romney making disparaging remarks about “47% of Americans” at a private fundraiser.

Women Aren’t Victims Of The Hookup Culture Sept 2012
Follows the role of women in hookup culture, which began with an Ask Anything video in which we spoke with Hanna Rosin.

Champion Or Cheater … Or Both? Aug/Sep 2012
Debates the legacy of cyclist Lance Armstrong in light of his decision to stop fighting the charges that he cheated throughout his career.

Your Little Purring Murderer Aug/Sep 2012
Addresses the violent instincts of domesticated cats.

Nanny State Watch – Bloomberg’s Paternalism May – Aug 2012
On New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s efforts to ban certain sizes of soda and other beverages due to health concerns. The debate then segues to Bloomberg’s efforts to curtail the use of baby formula by new mothers.

Where’s The Line Between A Religion And A Cult? Jun/Jul 2012
Explores the differences between religions and cults, with a specific focus on the Mormon Church.

Must The National Anthem Be Triumphant? Oct/Nov 2011
Our thread about American national anthems, including recommended renditions from Andrew and readers.