Monday, June 26, 2006

Miss Oura takes a quick detour

Miss Oura Synod finally begins to wonder if patronizing "Le Salon de Practice Adiaphora" is such a good idea after all.

I wrote a reply on Friday to Pastor McCain’s post about the statue of Mary, however, I never got to post it due to an incredibly busy weekend and Monday. Since it looks like Pastor McCain has finally succeeded in getting the comments to his post going more toward his intended direction (a discussion of adiaphora), I won’t post my statue musings there. In stead, you all have to suffer through them here.

Since, as Lutherans, our focus is on Christ, we will begin there. Catholic Jesus is cradled so that His whole body is turned outward, toward the world. His face looks outward, toward the people He came to save. Why He is holding a banana, though, I cannot say. Or maybe Mary’s just letting him play with the moon for a while; I’m not sure. (Why is Earth and All Stars popping into my head right now?) The Lutheran Jesus looks like He just looooves His mama and can’t quite bring Himself to look at the world. As for mama herself, yes, Catholic Mary is depicted as the queen of heaven, decked out in her cosmic rays and crown, while Lutheran Mary is dressed very tastefully. However, by virtue of both Catholic and Lutheran Mary’s standing, as opposed to sitting, the size of them naturally outweighs the presence of (and therefore the focus on) the Child. Since both women have a look on their faces that says, “Man, this kid’s gettin’ heavy,” maybe that’s supposed to draw our attention back to Jesus.

Art, whether statue or painting, has movement. Well, I suppose if a “still life” had movement, it would kind of defeat the purpose, wouldn't it? Anyway, one of my favorite Mother and Child paintings is of a very young Mary kissing the face of baby Jesus. Proportionally, Mary and Jesus are on equal footing, and the implied movement draws the focus not so much to Mary, but to Christ -- the miracle of His allowing us to hold Him in our hands and to our lips. Catholic Mary has movement partly due to the quivering rays behind her, but also because her Child is active. Lutheran Mary and Jesus look, well, kind of bored. Maybe He dropped his banana.

I guess, there's no accounting for taste, and folks tell me mine is all in my mouth. So, I’ll just set aside my artistic critique and opine a bit: I do think that this statue and its candles give the impression that Lutherans do/did/could/should/may/might…all the helping verbs, really… pray to Mary. MAYBE (and that’s a really BIG “maybe”), if the center, extra-ornate, Marian-colored candle was replaced with a white Paschal candle, I could MAYBE be convinced that this “d├ęcor” is neutral or centered on Christ. On second thought, nope. Look at all the pretty white candles around Catholic Mary, some even in triplicate to remind us of the Trinity. No, surely a more appropriate place to pause for, and encourage prayer would be facing the altar or by the baptismal font.


Sue Bee said...

Coming out of lurkerhood for a sec.

I like your comment on the Mary statue and read most of the comments on Pr. McCain's blog - until they got too long and theological.

I agree the candles give the impression that it's ok for Lutherans to say a little novena to the Virgin. IMO they should keep the statue and lose the candles.

What I've been wondering is, what if the statue starts to produce tears? You know, they do seem to get a bit leaky and it always makes the news (if only in the tabloids). What if a LUTHERAN Madonna produced a miracle?! Wouldn't that be a pickle.

Twice Burned said...

Thanks for visiting and commenting. I can only think of three reasons for Lutheran Mary to start crying:

1) The roof above her head is leaking.
2) The trustees mistook her for a fountain and hooked her up to a water supply.
3) She’s sad that now even MO Synod Lutherans are lighting candles in front of her.

My vote is for #2.