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Author Topic: Should I destroy this icon?  (Read 5365 times) Average Rating: 0
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PeterTheAleut
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« Reply #135 on: May 26, 2012, 02:39:52 AM »

Quote
You say "The tradition is the same all over from what I've seen," but have yet to provide any source from the Fathers.

James, how long have you been Orthodox? (this is not a snarky question, it is very relevant to the topic at hand)
His profile says he's only 18.

If that is the case, more reason to commend him for his reserved assessments.
Reserved does not describe JamesRottnek's brief history on this forum.
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« Reply #136 on: May 26, 2012, 02:46:20 AM »

Quote
You say "The tradition is the same all over from what I've seen," but have yet to provide any source from the Fathers.

James, how long have you been Orthodox? (this is not a snarky question, it is very relevant to the topic at hand)
His profile says he's only 18.

If that is the case, more reason to commend him for his reserved assessments.
Reserved does not describe JamesRottnek's brief history on this forum.
Or catechumens in gen.
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« Reply #137 on: May 26, 2012, 03:23:48 AM »

Quote
You say "The tradition is the same all over from what I've seen," but have yet to provide any source from the Fathers.

James, how long have you been Orthodox? (this is not a snarky question, it is very relevant to the topic at hand)

I really don't see how it's relevant unless having the faith for x amount of years makes one an automatic expert on tradition.  But seriously, you expect me to take something as the Orthodox Faith when you can provide no source - beyond a contemporary iconographer - to back up your claim?  Is that how Orthodoxy works?
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« Reply #138 on: May 26, 2012, 01:13:57 PM »

Quote
You say "The tradition is the same all over from what I've seen," but have yet to provide any source from the Fathers.

James, how long have you been Orthodox? (this is not a snarky question, it is very relevant to the topic at hand)

I really don't see how it's relevant unless having the faith for x amount of years makes one an automatic expert on tradition.
But just reading a bunch of books doesn't make one an expert on Tradition, either. One has to have acquired the experience of living the Faith, which one can only do over the course of many years. There are some here who have been Orthodox for three times as long as you've been alive. Whereas that doesn't automatically make them experts, that does mean they've had many more years to experience the Faith than you have. I think you should take their perspectives seriously.

But seriously, you expect me to take something as the Orthodox Faith when you can provide no source - beyond a contemporary iconographer - to back up your claim?  Is that how Orthodoxy works?
I'm beginning to think that this is to some degree exactly how Orthodoxy works. Although we can certainly learn much about the Faith by reading the Fathers, not everything that is passed on via Tradition is to be found in the Fathers, just as not everything passed on via Tradition is found in the Scriptures. In such fields as hymnography and iconography, two very important ways of preserving and passing on the Faith, I think we have to recognize that the way truth is passed on here is largely by the master teaching the novice. (I learned a lot of this simply by disputing LBK exactly the same way you are here.)
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« Reply #139 on: May 27, 2012, 05:55:57 PM »

33 A.D. "Tell us, by what authority do you do these things?"

2012 A.D. "Tell me, what's your evidence from primary sources?" (Not that I'll even relent after that, since primary sources are still not above questions. After all, no Holy Father is infallible. And even a bunch of them saying the same thing won't convince me because they could all be wrong. After all, didn't they support slavery?)
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« Reply #140 on: May 27, 2012, 07:46:32 PM »

33 A.D. "Tell us, by what authority do you do these things?"

2012 A.D. "Tell me, what's your evidence from primary sources?" (Not that I'll even relent after that, since primary sources are still not above questions. After all, no Holy Father is infallible. And even a bunch of them saying the same thing won't convince me because they could all be wrong. After all, didn't they support slavery?)

WIN!!  laugh
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« Reply #141 on: May 28, 2012, 09:40:08 AM »

What is my concern is the lack of a personal statement by Robert Lentz . Perhaps I missed it. It would be nice to learn what he considers to be outreach illustrations vs iconograohy.

Opus, here's an excerpt of Robert Lent's own publicity material in italics, with bold sections my emphasis. These italicized statements are completely proper and correct. Following each paragraph are examples in color of his own words on images he has painted which contradict these principles:

The constancy of the Christian faith is reflected in its art. The icon is steeped in tradition. We all can imagine the ancient scribe carefully copying letter by letter the ancient religious texts. In a similar way the iconographer follows that which was before him. The artist’s creativity comes in to play not through creating the “novel”, but in the freedom to manipulate line, color, and form for a directed purpose: the expression of the truth and vision of the Church.

In the sacred history of Meso-America, a Christ-like figure dominates the spiritual horizon. His name is Quetzalcoatl, which means the Plumed Serpent. Quetzalcoatl is one of the most ancient concepts of God in this region. He reconciles in himself heaven and earth. He is the creator of humankind and the giver of agriculture and the fine arts.

In the tenth century, a Toltec priest named Quetzalcoatl acquired a large following in the Valley of Mexico. He opposed both human sacrifice and warfare, promoting instead the arts and self-discipline as a means for coming closer to God. This made him many enemies among the ruling classes. They brought about his downfall, but he confounded them by rising from the dead, after being consumed in a sacred fire. His heart became the morning star, and he himself became young once again. He promised to return one day to his people.

The stories of Quetzalcoatl and Christ are so similar that it is easy to see one in the other. In this icon, both Quetzalcoatl and Christ are depicted in the same guise. It is a resurrection icon, with their heart ascending from the flames of death and rebirth. Around the edge, in gold leaf, is an ancient Aztec depiction of the Plumed Serpent. Red and black are the colors the Aztecs associated with the morning star.

Quetzalcoatl and Christ bring us the same timeless message: God is closer to us than we are to ourselves. In both their lives, our human condition has been joined inseparably to the divine. Each proclaims to us a simple gospel of compassion, and invites us to dance with God in the divine fire burning in each of our hearts.




In declaring and preserving the Christian faith, personal expression does not play a role.



In the Byzantine Church, references to Wisdom are considered references to Christ. Churches like Hagia Sophia in Istanbul are dedicated to Christ. From the Middle Ages on, icons depicting Christ as an androgynous figure, flanked by Mary and John the Baptist, have been painted in Russia & elsewhere. It is important now to take the next step and depict Wisdom -- Sophia -- as the woman Sacred Scriptures describe.

Looking honestly at our ancient tradition, it is clear that the mystery of Christ cannot be described in masculine terms alone. Because of historical and cultural circumstances, the Second Person of the Trinity became a male human being. Before the Incarnation, however, that person was described as "she." As the Incarnation continues to unfold after Christ’s resurrection and ascension, it is again the feminine Sophia who expresses the mystery -- as pointed out by the Russian theologian Soloviev.


By what authority does Lentz presume to paint Christ as a woman? He also ignores the fact that Sophianism, as promoted by Soloviev and Bulgakov, is a declared heresy in the Orthodox Church.

The term Father is symbolic, and it is also the term used by Christ Himself to refer to the first Person of the Holy Trinity during His life on earth. While the word wisdom is of the feminine gender in Greek, Latin, Hebrew and Slavonic (as well as a number of modern languages), it is purely a grammatical gender, and any notion that this somehow denotes “the divine feminine” is mistaken. The second Person of the Holy Trinity before the Incarnation was also described as the Word, in Greek Logos. What then would these “progressives” make of Logos, which is masculine in the Greek language? And is of various grammatical genders in other languages, ancient and modern?

What is most important is being faithful to the truths of the Christian faith.

The profusion of images this man has painted which violate Christian truths shows his hypocrisy in high relief. Painting Christ in pagan form, painting saints as homosexual lovers (Sts Sergius and Bacchus), painting non-Christians as saints (Gandhi, Einstein, Rumi the founder of the Sufi sect of Islam), mythological figures as saints (Merlin) ..... And then there's "Saint" Harvey Milk, "keeping vigil for himself and for all oppressed homosexuals" (Harvey Milk was murdered because of his homosexuality and advocacy for gays, not because he was defending the Christian faith. Big difference)

His spiel on the Sergius and Bacchus image:



Sts. Sergius and Bacchus are ancient Christian martyrs who were tortured to death in Syria because they refused to attend sacrifices in honor of Jupiter. Recent attention to early Greek manuscripts has also revealed that they were openly gay men and that they were erastai or lovers. These manuscripts are found in various libraries in Europe and indicate an earlier Christian acceptance of homosexuality.

After their arrest, the two saints were paraded through city streets in women’s clothing, treatment that was meant to humiliate them as officers in the Roman army. They were then separated and each was tortured. Bacchus died first and appeared that night to Sergius who was beginning to lose heart. According to the early manuscripts, Bacchus told Sergius to persevere, that the delights of heaven were greater than any suffering, and that part of their reward would be to be reunited in heaven as lovers.


The bolded words contradict Mark 12:25, on marriage and heaven: For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as angels in heaven. Homosexual activity has always been, and remains, sinful in the eyes of both the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches.

The Christian message and vision of life and hope does not change with each new era and fad, nor does the vision of the icon.

Celtic Trinity (which also bears the Greek inscription I Aghia Trias (Holy Trinity) in the upper corners):


 
From ancient times human beings have responded to experiences with the divine with works of art. They have used metaphor and image to describe what they have "seen." Individual expressions of personal experiences of the divine have often challenged rigid religious traditions.

The spiritual genius of many ethnic groups through the centuries has been responsible for profound images of faith. Drawings on walls of prehistoric caves are powerful witnesses to highly developed spiritual sentiments of peoples who lived before the traditional religions of the East and West.

The civilizations of the Americas which flourished prior to the arrival of Columbus and missionaries from Europe were routinely destroyed. Images of faith were often condemned before any attempt was made to understand the experience which gave birth to these images of the spirit. Religious authorities, urged by patriarchal bias, were especially fearful of the role of feminine images in these primitive yet often highly evolved cultures. Male clerics and theologians were careful to exercise control over the images to be used in worship and devotions.

Native Americans, Africans, Asians, and early Europeans saw their religious traditions and images cast aside in favor of the Christian images current at the time. Treasures of faith were lost as cultures were systematically destroyed by colonists and conquerors.

A beautiful image from ancient Celtic religious experience was God as a trinity of women. The Maiden gave birth to creation. The Mother nurtured and protected it, and the Crone brought it wisely to its end. A raven accompanied the Crone as a symbol of life and death: though it ate dead things, it flew high into the heavens. The three women are depicted from different races to extend the Celtic image to a more global perspective. The snake was another sacred feminine image. It represented life, fertility, and rejuvenation. Devouring its own tail, it represented immortality.

Feminine images have suffered greatly in the west. Women will continue to suffer oppression in religious society until their images have been reclaimed and honored. These feminine insights can help to present a new healing perspective on the problems that face our modern world.


So what is Lentz doing painting the Holy Trinity in syncretistic, politically-correct terms? The most restrained comment that can be made about this image is that it is cultural relativism gone mad. Are pagan, New Age ideas and feminist influences just as valid as proper theology? This is particularly intolerable when such a heretical image is put on an equal footing with the sublime and incomparable Holy Trinity painted by St Andrei of Radonezh (Andrei Rublyev).

There's enough heretical and blasphemous material in Robert Lentz's portfolio to fill a book with analysis and critique. It is clear that he, through his works and words, repeatedly violates the very iconographic principles he supposedly espouses. It is impossible to conclude he is doing so in honest ignorance. So much of his work is tainted by his own agendas and causes, that all his work must be regarded as suspect, and avoided. He cannot serve two masters.
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« Reply #142 on: May 28, 2012, 09:46:20 AM »

33 A.D. "Tell us, by what authority do you do these things?"

2012 A.D. "Tell me, what's your evidence from primary sources?" (Not that I'll even relent after that, since primary sources are still not above questions. After all, no Holy Father is infallible. And even a bunch of them saying the same thing won't convince me because they could all be wrong. After all, didn't they support slavery?)

WIN!!  laugh

Is this, in other words, an admission that you have no patristic support for your claims of any kind whatsoever?
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« Reply #143 on: May 28, 2012, 10:40:09 AM »

33 A.D. "Tell us, by what authority do you do these things?"

2012 A.D. "Tell me, what's your evidence from primary sources?" (Not that I'll even relent after that, since primary sources are still not above questions. After all, no Holy Father is infallible. And even a bunch of them saying the same thing won't convince me because they could all be wrong. After all, didn't they support slavery?)

WIN!!  laugh

Is this, in other words, an admission that you have no patristic support for your claims of any kind whatsoever?

Not at all. It is a comment on your refusal to accept any advice from the various people who have contributed to this thread who know more about iconography and have lived Orthodoxy for much longer than you've been alive. But, I guess, all that experience and discernment, and their willingness to help don't matter a hill of beans to an eighteen-year-old who knows everything.

I do feel sorry for you, James. There's something eating you, for sure. Talk to your priest about it.
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« Reply #144 on: May 28, 2012, 11:01:33 AM »

33 A.D. "Tell us, by what authority do you do these things?"

2012 A.D. "Tell me, what's your evidence from primary sources?" (Not that I'll even relent after that, since primary sources are still not above questions. After all, no Holy Father is infallible. And even a bunch of them saying the same thing won't convince me because they could all be wrong. After all, didn't they support slavery?)

WIN!!  laugh

Is this, in other words, an admission that you have no patristic support for your claims of any kind whatsoever?

Not at all. It is a comment on your refusal to accept any advice from the various people who have contributed to this thread who know more about iconography and have lived Orthodoxy for much longer than you've been alive. But, I guess, all that experience and discernment, and their willingness to help don't matter a hill of beans to an eighteen-year-old who knows everything.

I do feel sorry for you, James. There's something eating you, for sure. Talk to your priest about it.

How willing has anyone on this thread been to help me?  I've asked for patristic support, which you seem to believe you have, and have been given nothing but your opinions.  Unless you are a highly esteemed theologian, or are a glorified saint who's just really bored and posts on internet forums, your opinions are not the standard of Orthodoxy. 
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« Reply #145 on: May 28, 2012, 11:06:47 AM »

Then please, do enlighten us on what the standard of Orthodoxy is.
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« Reply #146 on: May 28, 2012, 11:10:00 AM »

Then please, do enlighten us on what the standard of Orthodoxy is.

The consensus of the Church as it has been held throughout the centuries. One way to know this consensus is to consult the writings of the Church Fathers and the other saints.  And since you said "Then please," I wonder if, perhaps, you actually did think your own opinion is the standard for Orthodoxy.

You've implied that you have patristic sources to back up your claims, I am inclined to think you are lying since you refuse to provide them.
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« Reply #147 on: May 28, 2012, 11:21:38 AM »

Quote
Although we can certainly learn much about the Faith by reading the Fathers, not everything that is passed on via Tradition is to be found in the Fathers, just as not everything passed on via Tradition is found in the Scriptures. In such fields as hymnography and iconography, two very important ways of preserving and passing on the Faith, I think we have to recognize that the way truth is passed on here is largely by the master teaching the novice.

What do you find wrong with PeterTheAleut's statement, which I agree with, and which I'm sure Liza, KShaft, Shanghaiski and age234 agree with? And which aspect of iconography are you disputing again? This thread has covered a broad area from the original OP.
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« Reply #148 on: May 28, 2012, 11:23:47 AM »

Quote
Although we can certainly learn much about the Faith by reading the Fathers, not everything that is passed on via Tradition is to be found in the Fathers, just as not everything passed on via Tradition is found in the Scriptures. In such fields as hymnography and iconography, two very important ways of preserving and passing on the Faith, I think we have to recognize that the way truth is passed on here is largely by the master teaching the novice.

What do you find wrong with PeterTheAleut's statement, which I agree with, and which I'm sure Liza, KShaft, Shanghaiski and age234 agree with? And which aspect of iconography are you disputing again? This thread has covered a broad area from the original OP.

I would say I would be extremely skeptical of a claim that, 2,000 years after the foundation of Christianity, there was not a single Father who wrote about iconography.  And what I'm disputing is your claim that an icon needs to be destroyed if an unprayerful person created it. 
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« Reply #149 on: May 28, 2012, 11:31:30 AM »

Quote
I would say I would be extremely skeptical of a claim that, 2,000 years after the foundation of Christianity, there was not a single Father who wrote about iconography.

Has anyone here said that? Only you have.
Quote
And what I'm disputing is your claim that an icon needs to be destroyed if an unprayerful person created it.


Do not put words in my mouth, I said nothing of the sort. What I have said is that the person who created the image referred to in the OP paints images in an iconographic style, which are not icons at all, but propaganda pieces which push his various agendas. Icons are painted to proclaim the truths of the Faith, and are not playthings made to serve pet causes. Such images deserve destruction.
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« Reply #150 on: May 28, 2012, 11:32:40 AM »

Quote
I would say I would be extremely skeptical of a claim that, 2,000 years after the foundation of Christianity, there was not a single Father who wrote about iconography.

Has anyone here said that? Only you have.
Quote
And what I'm disputing is your claim that an icon needs to be destroyed if an unprayerful person created it.


Do not put words in my mouth, I said nothing of the sort. What I have said is that the person who created the image referred to in the OP paints images in an iconographic style, which are not icons at all, but propaganda pieces which push his various agendas. Icons are painted to proclaim the truths of the Faith, and are not playthings made to serve pet causes. Such images deserve destruction.

Yet you have failed to prove how the icon in the OP is, in any way, a "propaganda piece"
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« Reply #151 on: May 28, 2012, 12:01:24 PM »

Quote
I would say I would be extremely skeptical of a claim that, 2,000 years after the foundation of Christianity, there was not a single Father who wrote about iconography.

Has anyone here said that? Only you have.
Quote
And what I'm disputing is your claim that an icon needs to be destroyed if an unprayerful person created it.


Do not put words in my mouth, I said nothing of the sort. What I have said is that the person who created the image referred to in the OP paints images in an iconographic style, which are not icons at all, but propaganda pieces which push his various agendas. Icons are painted to proclaim the truths of the Faith, and are not playthings made to serve pet causes. Such images deserve destruction.

Yet you have failed to prove how the icon in the OP is, in any way, a "propaganda piece"

Yet again, you are choosing not to see what is right in front of you. What will convince you that the work of Robert Lentz, an artist who has no qualms in using his tainted art to defy the teachings of even his own church, and who consistently violates established iconographic principles which he publicly proclaims, has no merit, and is unsuitable for veneration?
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« Reply #152 on: May 28, 2012, 12:03:38 PM »

Quote
I would say I would be extremely skeptical of a claim that, 2,000 years after the foundation of Christianity, there was not a single Father who wrote about iconography.

Has anyone here said that? Only you have.
Quote
And what I'm disputing is your claim that an icon needs to be destroyed if an unprayerful person created it.


Do not put words in my mouth, I said nothing of the sort. What I have said is that the person who created the image referred to in the OP paints images in an iconographic style, which are not icons at all, but propaganda pieces which push his various agendas. Icons are painted to proclaim the truths of the Faith, and are not playthings made to serve pet causes. Such images deserve destruction.

Yet you have failed to prove how the icon in the OP is, in any way, a "propaganda piece"

Yet again, you are choosing not to see what is right in front of you. What will convince you that the work of Robert Lentz, an artist who has no qualms in using his tainted art to defy the teachings of even his own church, and who consistently violates established iconographic principles which he publicly proclaims, has no merit, and is unsuitable for veneration?

You are discussing his work in general, I am discussing this particular work.  What about this particular work is unsuitable? 
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« Reply #153 on: May 28, 2012, 12:26:28 PM »

Thank you for taking the time LBK. His thoughts appear to be disorganized. Based on what you quoted I see no rational basis for his work. I will note that I have met Roman Catholic native Americans with ideas similar to the Quetzalcoatl text.  The Celtic Trinity reminded me of Robert Grave's White Goddess which I have no recollection of after 30 years except that women ruled and that the male consort was sacrificed at some interval I cannot remember.

What is my concern is the lack of a personal statement by Robert Lentz . Perhaps I missed it. It would be nice to learn what he considers to be outreach illustrations vs iconograohy.

Opus, here's an excerpt of Robert Lent's own publicity material in italics, with bold sections my emphasis. These italicized statements are completely proper and correct. Following each paragraph are examples in color of his own words on images he has painted which contradict these principles:

The constancy of the Christian faith is reflected in its art. The icon is steeped in tradition. We all can imagine the ancient scribe carefully copying letter by letter the ancient religious texts. In a similar way the iconographer follows that which was before him. The artist’s creativity comes in to play not through creating the “novel”, but in the freedom to manipulate line, color, and form for a directed purpose: the expression of the truth and vision of the Church.

In the sacred history of Meso-America, a Christ-like figure dominates the spiritual horizon. His name is Quetzalcoatl, which means the Plumed Serpent. Quetzalcoatl is one of the most ancient concepts of God in this region. He reconciles in himself heaven and earth. He is the creator of humankind and the giver of agriculture and the fine arts.

In the tenth century, a Toltec priest named Quetzalcoatl acquired a large following in the Valley of Mexico. He opposed both human sacrifice and warfare, promoting instead the arts and self-discipline as a means for coming closer to God. This made him many enemies among the ruling classes. They brought about his downfall, but he confounded them by rising from the dead, after being consumed in a sacred fire. His heart became the morning star, and he himself became young once again. He promised to return one day to his people.

The stories of Quetzalcoatl and Christ are so similar that it is easy to see one in the other. In this icon, both Quetzalcoatl and Christ are depicted in the same guise. It is a resurrection icon, with their heart ascending from the flames of death and rebirth. Around the edge, in gold leaf, is an ancient Aztec depiction of the Plumed Serpent. Red and black are the colors the Aztecs associated with the morning star.

Quetzalcoatl and Christ bring us the same timeless message: God is closer to us than we are to ourselves. In both their lives, our human condition has been joined inseparably to the divine. Each proclaims to us a simple gospel of compassion, and invites us to dance with God in the divine fire burning in each of our hearts.




In declaring and preserving the Christian faith, personal expression does not play a role.



In the Byzantine Church, references to Wisdom are considered references to Christ. Churches like Hagia Sophia in Istanbul are dedicated to Christ. From the Middle Ages on, icons depicting Christ as an androgynous figure, flanked by Mary and John the Baptist, have been painted in Russia & elsewhere. It is important now to take the next step and depict Wisdom -- Sophia -- as the woman Sacred Scriptures describe.

Looking honestly at our ancient tradition, it is clear that the mystery of Christ cannot be described in masculine terms alone. Because of historical and cultural circumstances, the Second Person of the Trinity became a male human being. Before the Incarnation, however, that person was described as "she." As the Incarnation continues to unfold after Christ’s resurrection and ascension, it is again the feminine Sophia who expresses the mystery -- as pointed out by the Russian theologian Soloviev.


By what authority does Lentz presume to paint Christ as a woman? He also ignores the fact that Sophianism, as promoted by Soloviev and Bulgakov, is a declared heresy in the Orthodox Church.

The term Father is symbolic, and it is also the term used by Christ Himself to refer to the first Person of the Holy Trinity during His life on earth. While the word wisdom is of the feminine gender in Greek, Latin, Hebrew and Slavonic (as well as a number of modern languages), it is purely a grammatical gender, and any notion that this somehow denotes “the divine feminine” is mistaken. The second Person of the Holy Trinity before the Incarnation was also described as the Word, in Greek Logos. What then would these “progressives” make of Logos, which is masculine in the Greek language? And is of various grammatical genders in other languages, ancient and modern?

What is most important is being faithful to the truths of the Christian faith.

The profusion of images this man has painted which violate Christian truths shows his hypocrisy in high relief. Painting Christ in pagan form, painting saints as homosexual lovers (Sts Sergius and Bacchus), painting non-Christians as saints (Gandhi, Einstein, Rumi the founder of the Sufi sect of Islam), mythological figures as saints (Merlin) ..... And then there's "Saint" Harvey Milk, "keeping vigil for himself and for all oppressed homosexuals" (Harvey Milk was murdered because of his homosexuality and advocacy for gays, not because he was defending the Christian faith. Big difference)

His spiel on the Sergius and Bacchus image:



Sts. Sergius and Bacchus are ancient Christian martyrs who were tortured to death in Syria because they refused to attend sacrifices in honor of Jupiter. Recent attention to early Greek manuscripts has also revealed that they were openly gay men and that they were erastai or lovers. These manuscripts are found in various libraries in Europe and indicate an earlier Christian acceptance of homosexuality.

After their arrest, the two saints were paraded through city streets in women’s clothing, treatment that was meant to humiliate them as officers in the Roman army. They were then separated and each was tortured. Bacchus died first and appeared that night to Sergius who was beginning to lose heart. According to the early manuscripts, Bacchus told Sergius to persevere, that the delights of heaven were greater than any suffering, and that part of their reward would be to be reunited in heaven as lovers.


The bolded words contradict Mark 12:25, on marriage and heaven: For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as angels in heaven. Homosexual activity has always been, and remains, sinful in the eyes of both the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches.

The Christian message and vision of life and hope does not change with each new era and fad, nor does the vision of the icon.

Celtic Trinity (which also bears the Greek inscription I Aghia Trias (Holy Trinity) in the upper corners):


 
From ancient times human beings have responded to experiences with the divine with works of art. They have used metaphor and image to describe what they have "seen." Individual expressions of personal experiences of the divine have often challenged rigid religious traditions.

The spiritual genius of many ethnic groups through the centuries has been responsible for profound images of faith. Drawings on walls of prehistoric caves are powerful witnesses to highly developed spiritual sentiments of peoples who lived before the traditional religions of the East and West.

The civilizations of the Americas which flourished prior to the arrival of Columbus and missionaries from Europe were routinely destroyed. Images of faith were often condemned before any attempt was made to understand the experience which gave birth to these images of the spirit. Religious authorities, urged by patriarchal bias, were especially fearful of the role of feminine images in these primitive yet often highly evolved cultures. Male clerics and theologians were careful to exercise control over the images to be used in worship and devotions.

Native Americans, Africans, Asians, and early Europeans saw their religious traditions and images cast aside in favor of the Christian images current at the time. Treasures of faith were lost as cultures were systematically destroyed by colonists and conquerors.

A beautiful image from ancient Celtic religious experience was God as a trinity of women. The Maiden gave birth to creation. The Mother nurtured and protected it, and the Crone brought it wisely to its end. A raven accompanied the Crone as a symbol of life and death: though it ate dead things, it flew high into the heavens. The three women are depicted from different races to extend the Celtic image to a more global perspective. The snake was another sacred feminine image. It represented life, fertility, and rejuvenation. Devouring its own tail, it represented immortality.

Feminine images have suffered greatly in the west. Women will continue to suffer oppression in religious society until their images have been reclaimed and honored. These feminine insights can help to present a new healing perspective on the problems that face our modern world.


So what is Lentz doing painting the Holy Trinity in syncretistic, politically-correct terms? The most restrained comment that can be made about this image is that it is cultural relativism gone mad. Are pagan, New Age ideas and feminist influences just as valid as proper theology? This is particularly intolerable when such a heretical image is put on an equal footing with the sublime and incomparable Holy Trinity painted by St Andrei of Radonezh (Andrei Rublyev).

There's enough heretical and blasphemous material in Robert Lentz's portfolio to fill a book with analysis and critique. It is clear that he, through his works and words, repeatedly violates the very iconographic principles he supposedly espouses. It is impossible to conclude he is doing so in honest ignorance. So much of his work is tainted by his own agendas and causes, that all his work must be regarded as suspect, and avoided. He cannot serve two masters.

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« Reply #154 on: May 28, 2012, 12:43:02 PM »

33 A.D. "Tell us, by what authority do you do these things?"

2012 A.D. "Tell me, what's your evidence from primary sources?" (Not that I'll even relent after that, since primary sources are still not above questions. After all, no Holy Father is infallible. And even a bunch of them saying the same thing won't convince me because they could all be wrong. After all, didn't they support slavery?)

WIN!!  laugh

Is this, in other words, an admission that you have no patristic support for your claims of any kind whatsoever?

Not at all. It is a comment on your refusal to accept any advice from the various people who have contributed to this thread who know more about iconography and have lived Orthodoxy for much longer than you've been alive. But, I guess, all that experience and discernment, and their willingness to help don't matter a hill of beans to an eighteen-year-old who knows everything.

I do feel sorry for you, James. There's something eating you, for sure. Talk to your priest about it.

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« Reply #155 on: May 28, 2012, 01:43:46 PM »



 I think everyone here should stop talking to this troll. Hes obviously a legend in his own mind.  I knew from my second post he would be like this. Thats why I washed my hands of him. Just another product of a weak entitlement society in which he thinks everybody owes him something, wants it now, and his way. Compromised by un Orthodox moral pluralism for the sake of political correctness. The Veruca Salt of OC.net. Someone push him on the scale already.

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« Reply #156 on: May 28, 2012, 01:53:28 PM »



 I think everyone here should stop talking to this troll. Hes obviously a legend in his own mind.  I knew from my second post he would be like this. Thats why I washed my hands of him. Just another product of a weak entitlement society in which he thinks everybody owes him something, wants it now, and his way. Compromised by un Orthodox moral pluralism for the sake of political correctness. The Veruca Salt of OC.net. Someone push him on the scale already.



Your own words condemn you with the same condemnation you attempt to place on my head.
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« Reply #157 on: May 28, 2012, 02:03:33 PM »



 I think everyone here should stop talking to this troll. Hes obviously a legend in his own mind.  I knew from my second post he would be like this. Thats why I washed my hands of him. Just another product of a weak entitlement society in which he thinks everybody owes him something, wants it now, and his way. Compromised by un Orthodox moral pluralism for the sake of political correctness. The Veruca Salt of OC.net. Someone push him on the scale already.



Your own words condemn you with the same condemnation you attempt to place on my head.

No Ill be judged by such standards.  I listen to people with more experience than me, and I dont think the world revolves around me, and I dont demand things from others, other than their very best in all they do.
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« Reply #158 on: May 28, 2012, 02:12:02 PM »



 I think everyone here should stop talking to this troll. Hes obviously a legend in his own mind.  I knew from my second post he would be like this. Thats why I washed my hands of him. Just another product of a weak entitlement society in which he thinks everybody owes him something, wants it now, and his way. Compromised by un Orthodox moral pluralism for the sake of political correctness. The Veruca Salt of OC.net. Someone push him on the scale already.


Even considering some of the things I said to and about JamesRottnek on this thread, I think this personal attack unwarranted and unfair.
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« Reply #159 on: May 28, 2012, 02:15:48 PM »



 I think everyone here should stop talking to this troll. Hes obviously a legend in his own mind.  I knew from my second post he would be like this. Thats why I washed my hands of him. Just another product of a weak entitlement society in which he thinks everybody owes him something, wants it now, and his way. Compromised by un Orthodox moral pluralism for the sake of political correctness. The Veruca Salt of OC.net. Someone push him on the scale already.


Even considering some of the things I said to and about JamesRottnek on this thread, I think this personal attack unwarranted and unfair.

unless you show me a patristic quote saying this is unwarranted and unfair, I will not yield sir. 

I kid. If that is the case then I humbly apologize.
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« Reply #160 on: May 28, 2012, 02:20:49 PM »



 I think everyone here should stop talking to this troll. Hes obviously a legend in his own mind.  I knew from my second post he would be like this. Thats why I washed my hands of him. Just another product of a weak entitlement society in which he thinks everybody owes him something, wants it now, and his way. Compromised by un Orthodox moral pluralism for the sake of political correctness. The Veruca Salt of OC.net. Someone push him on the scale already.


Even considering some of the things I said to and about JamesRottnek on this thread, I think this personal attack unwarranted and unfair.

unless you show me a patristic quote saying this is unwarranted and unfair, I will not yield sir.  

I kid. If that is the case then I humbly apologize.
Yes, there is a big difference between attempting to correct someone for the intellectual pride that keeps him from learning from those more experienced on the one hand and simply attacking him as a stereotypical troll on the other.
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« Reply #161 on: May 28, 2012, 02:58:10 PM »



 I think everyone here should stop talking to this troll. Hes obviously a legend in his own mind.  I knew from my second post he would be like this. Thats why I washed my hands of him. Just another product of a weak entitlement society in which he thinks everybody owes him something, wants it now, and his way. Compromised by un Orthodox moral pluralism for the sake of political correctness. The Veruca Salt of OC.net. Someone push him on the scale already.


Even considering some of the things I said to and about JamesRottnek on this thread, I think this personal attack unwarranted and unfair.

unless you show me a patristic quote saying this is unwarranted and unfair, I will not yield sir.  

I kid. If that is the case then I humbly apologize.
Yes, there is a big difference between attempting to correct someone for the intellectual pride that keeps him from learning from those more experienced on the one hand and simply attacking him as a stereotypical troll on the other.

Well seriously if someone keeps answering the exact same way for every answer, what else do you call that?  "Show me the Fathers!". Im not Jerry McGuire.  If he were humble about it I might believe it is intellectual curiosity. However his foot stomping demands sound like a spoiled child, which most teens are nowadays, but I suspect its just an excuse to carry on his un-Orthodox worldview, demanding in essence we accept it as fine when indeed it is not.
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« Reply #162 on: May 28, 2012, 03:19:31 PM »



 I think everyone here should stop talking to this troll. Hes obviously a legend in his own mind.  I knew from my second post he would be like this. Thats why I washed my hands of him. Just another product of a weak entitlement society in which he thinks everybody owes him something, wants it now, and his way. Compromised by un Orthodox moral pluralism for the sake of political correctness. The Veruca Salt of OC.net. Someone push him on the scale already.


Even considering some of the things I said to and about JamesRottnek on this thread, I think this personal attack unwarranted and unfair.

unless you show me a patristic quote saying this is unwarranted and unfair, I will not yield sir.  

I kid. If that is the case then I humbly apologize.
Yes, there is a big difference between attempting to correct someone for the intellectual pride that keeps him from learning from those more experienced on the one hand and simply attacking him as a stereotypical troll on the other.

Well seriously if someone keeps answering the exact same way for every answer, what else do you call that?  "Show me the Fathers!". Im not Jerry McGuire.  If he were humble about it I might believe it is intellectual curiosity. However his foot stomping demands sound like a spoiled child, which most teens are nowadays, but I suspect its just an excuse to carry on his un-Orthodox worldview, demanding in essence we accept it as fine when indeed it is not.

Perhaps I keep requesting patristic support for the claims of LBK because no one has offered any, nor has anyone said "There are none." If my "foot stomping" is reminiscent of "a spoiled child," then I wonder how you see your own quite aggressive attack on me.

EDIT: And while, I'd note, you say I am lacking in humility, I don't really see any evidence of it in your own posting.
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« Reply #163 on: May 28, 2012, 03:50:16 PM »

Quote
I would say I would be extremely skeptical of a claim that, 2,000 years after the foundation of Christianity, there was not a single Father who wrote about iconography.

Has anyone here said that? Only you have.
Quote
And what I'm disputing is your claim that an icon needs to be destroyed if an unprayerful person created it.


Do not put words in my mouth, I said nothing of the sort. What I have said is that the person who created the image referred to in the OP paints images in an iconographic style, which are not icons at all, but propaganda pieces which push his various agendas. Icons are painted to proclaim the truths of the Faith, and are not playthings made to serve pet causes. Such images deserve destruction.

Yet you have failed to prove how the icon in the OP is, in any way, a "propaganda piece"

Yet again, you are choosing not to see what is right in front of you. What will convince you that the work of Robert Lentz, an artist who has no qualms in using his tainted art to defy the teachings of even his own church, and who consistently violates established iconographic principles which he publicly proclaims, has no merit, and is unsuitable for veneration?

You are discussing his work in general, I am discussing this particular work.  What about this particular work is unsuitable? 

I suspect there is nothing wrong with the painted image. The artists motives are perhaps suspect and/or erratic. Perhaps you shouldn't venerate it but there is no reason not to keep  it as far as I can see.
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« Reply #164 on: May 28, 2012, 04:10:21 PM »



 I think everyone here should stop talking to this troll. Hes obviously a legend in his own mind.  I knew from my second post he would be like this. Thats why I washed my hands of him. Just another product of a weak entitlement society in which he thinks everybody owes him something, wants it now, and his way. Compromised by un Orthodox moral pluralism for the sake of political correctness. The Veruca Salt of OC.net. Someone push him on the scale already.


Even considering some of the things I said to and about JamesRottnek on this thread, I think this personal attack unwarranted and unfair.

unless you show me a patristic quote saying this is unwarranted and unfair, I will not yield sir.  

I kid. If that is the case then I humbly apologize.
Yes, there is a big difference between attempting to correct someone for the intellectual pride that keeps him from learning from those more experienced on the one hand and simply attacking him as a stereotypical troll on the other.

Well seriously if someone keeps answering the exact same way for every answer, what else do you call that?
There are actually a number of ways I could choose to identify James's behavior on this thread. I don't think he's trying to elicit an emotional response from us, so in my mind that rules out trolling. I'm also guilty of having done what he's doing here, so I can tell you from my own experience that his actions don't fit any of your trite stereotypes.  

"Show me the Fathers!". Im not Jerry McGuire.  If he were humble about it I might believe it is intellectual curiosity. However his foot stomping demands sound like a spoiled child, which most teens are nowadays,
JamesRottnek is not "most teens". Whatever his real name is, he is an individual person who posts on this forum under the pseudonym JamesRottnek and deserves to be treated as a unique individual and not hit with the stereotypes you have attached to him, stereotypes that show no real attempt to know his real motivations.

but I suspect its just an excuse to carry on his un-Orthodox worldview, demanding in essence we accept it as fine when indeed it is not.
Actually, I don't think we know enough about his worldview to be able to call it un-Orthodox. If anything, the worldview James has shown on this thread is really quite Orthodox, as far as it goes. I just don't think it goes far enough in that it attempts to limit authority to only a couple of channels.
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« Reply #165 on: May 28, 2012, 04:13:32 PM »

Actually, for the record, JamesRottnek is not really a pseudonym, just my first and last names without a space in between them.
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« Reply #166 on: May 28, 2012, 04:19:08 PM »

Now to throw everyone a curve ball.

Fr. Seraphim Rose once said (quoting St. John Maximovitch of Shanghai and San Francisco), "'I can pray in front of one kind of icon and I can pray in front of another kind of icon.'  The important thing is that we pray, not that we pride ourselves on having good icons."  (Hieromonk Damascene, Father Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works, p. 307)

How are we to relate to this modern saint's (John Maximovitch) insight into what it means to venerate an icon? Are we to refuse to venerate an icon and/or destroy it simply because it was painted badly or in a way not in accordance with the iconographic tradition?
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« Reply #167 on: May 28, 2012, 05:43:25 PM »

Now to throw everyone a curve ball.

Fr. Seraphim Rose once said (quoting St. John Maximovitch of Shanghai and San Francisco), "'I can pray in front of one kind of icon and I can pray in front of another kind of icon.'  The important thing is that we pray, not that we pride ourselves on having good icons."  (Hieromonk Damascene, Father Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works, p. 307)

How are we to relate to this modern saint's (John Maximovitch) insight into what it means to venerate an icon? Are we to refuse to venerate an icon and/or destroy it simply because it was painted badly or in a way not in accordance with the iconographic tradition?

That is a good question. I usually don't find imagery that falls outside of Orthodox iconographic norms or simply not that well painted to be that offensive. I have no problem accepting something outside of our norms if it is a matter of culture (some traditional forms of western art, the use of statues as a means to venerate the prototype, the Sacred Heart as a means expressing Christ's love for mankind, etc), but I have a hard time finding a defense for certain things like declaring the sainthood of a non-Christian or overt social-political statements meant to undermine the teaching and practice of the Church.
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« Reply #168 on: May 28, 2012, 09:13:43 PM »

Now to throw everyone a curve ball.

Fr. Seraphim Rose once said (quoting St. John Maximovitch of Shanghai and San Francisco), "'I can pray in front of one kind of icon and I can pray in front of another kind of icon.'  The important thing is that we pray, not that we pride ourselves on having good icons."  (Hieromonk Damascene, Father Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works, p. 307)

The two icon types St John was referring to were the two styles of icons - naturalistic and non-naturalistic. This is not the matter being discussed on this thread.

How are we to relate to this modern saint's (John Maximovitch) insight into what it means to venerate an icon? Are we to refuse to venerate an icon and/or destroy it simply because it was painted badly or in a way not in accordance with the iconographic tradition?

If an image has been made with dubious intent, and/or its content does not conform with Orthodox teaching, then yes, refraining from venerating it is our obligation. To a non-Orthodox person, it is iconography which is the single most visible and definitive element which distinguishes the Orthodox Church from all others. It is our responsibility to ensure this holy and priceless treasure of our Church is preserved and defended against the influx of elements foreign to Orthodox belief and doctrine. The iconodules who suffered and often paid with their lives during the iconoclastic upheavals of past centuries deserve nothing less in their honor. Unfortunately, all too often, iconography is the most poorly-understood facet of Orthodoxy, despite it being the most visible, thus the perpetuation of unsuitable images.

I am heartened that in the city where I live, the older churches are gradually replacing their suspect or uncanonical imagery with proper icons. It takes time and careful education, and it can be done.

I take "painted badly" to mean shortcomings in artistic technique, not content. Often there is a fine line between "rustic" and "ugly". But praying before a roughly-painted icon painted with love, humility and prayer is fine. Praying before an image by an accomplished hand, but made with dubious or heretical intent is unacceptable.

There is so much rotten fruit produced by Robert Lentz and his counterpart William Hart McNichols that none of it can be trusted. The sinister aspect is that what they produce is all shiny and polished on the outside, yet inside is infested and putrid. Where is the obedience, the humility, the submission to the Church (even their own church!) for these men? They have no qualms at all in repeatedly violating the very principles they proclaim, so why give any credence to anything they do?

Consider this: If a hymnographer were to write hymns reflecting a sociopolitical view, or promoting a particular cause, would it be OK for such hymns to be used in private or liturgical devotions?
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« Reply #169 on: May 29, 2012, 05:26:08 PM »


So, James...what exactly is the point of contention here?

I am assuming you would agree with the Church teachings that the icon is a "window to Heaven"....that is should focus more on the spiritual than the physical....which is why our Byzantine style of icons depict the individuals slightly disproportionate...and always leading, focusing and pointing to Christ and salvation.  

More modern icons, as used in many RC churches focus on the physical.  You can see the glowing skin, the sparkle in the eye, the flowing hair....all of which might distract the viewer from the spiritual aspect of their purpose.  If it distracts...then it's not an icon...but, religious "art" and nothing more.

In regards to this particular icon (OP):



It does distract, per it's own description from salvation and the teachings of the church.

It's not the "style" that is "wrong", but, the message behind the painting.

If you read the description given by the painter:

"“O Jonathan, in your death I am stricken,
I am desolated for you, Jonathan, my brother.
Very dear to me you were,
your love to me more wonderful
than the love of a woman.”


Times have changed since these events were recorded, and such intense love between two men makes many uncomfortable in our day. For gay men who struggle to remain within the Judaeo-Christian tradition, however, the love between Jonathan and David is an inspiration and strength."

This is MEANT to represent homosexuality....and he's trying to depict it as blessed by Christ.

He is using the style of an icon to send a message, as he does with ALL his supposed "icons".

They are not to glorify God and His Church....but, to spread the message of Mr. Lentz.  

It's shameful.

Once again, it's not the "style" of the "icon", nor is it the individuals depicted on it....it is the purpose behind it.
It's not whether the painter of it prayed or fasted (even though that would have been optimal)...but once again....it is the goal of the image....is it to direct you towards Christ and salvation, or to pull you away from His teachings?

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« Reply #170 on: May 29, 2012, 06:29:29 PM »

Did Jonathan and David not love each other?  David certainly seemed to express a great deal of love for Jonathan, I always assumed this was reciprocal; why assume two men who love each other are sexually linked?  In fact, Jonathan and David are a perfect example for homosexual men seeking to stay within the Christian tradition, because Jonathan and David had a non-sexual relationship, but yet a quite intimate and close relationship; or do you think gay men should cut themselves off from all other men?
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« Reply #171 on: May 29, 2012, 06:55:21 PM »

Did Jonathan and David not love each other?  David certainly seemed to express a great deal of love for Jonathan, I always assumed this was reciprocal; why assume two men who love each other are sexually linked?  In fact, Jonathan and David are a perfect example for homosexual men seeking to stay within the Christian tradition, because Jonathan and David had a non-sexual relationship, but yet a quite intimate and close relationship; or do you think gay men should cut themselves off from all other men?

Here is the bottom line. The artist is using this image as a vehicle to promote, glorify, and bless something that neither the Orthodox Church nor the Roman Catholic Church (with which the artist claims unity) promotes, glorifies, or blesses. This isn't a matter of culture, misunderstanding, or something that can be reassigned an Orthodox understanding. This is a matter of overtly turning the truth into a lie.

The bolded part of your statement is the truth about David and Jonathan. This is the exact opposite of the message that the artist is promoting with the image in question - that God does promote, glorify, and bless homosexual relationships using these two man es an example.
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« Reply #172 on: May 29, 2012, 07:24:42 PM »

Did Jonathan and David not love each other?  David certainly seemed to express a great deal of love for Jonathan, I always assumed this was reciprocal; why assume two men who love each other are sexually linked?  In fact, Jonathan and David are a perfect example for homosexual men seeking to stay within the Christian tradition, because Jonathan and David had a non-sexual relationship, but yet a quite intimate and close relationship; or do you think gay men should cut themselves off from all other men?

Once again, read what I wrote.

There's nothing wrong with the icon, nor the individuals depicted. What IS wrong is the skewed message that icon is being used to promote.  When it is used to preach against the Church's teachings, it ceases to be an icon, and simply turns into propaganda.

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« Reply #173 on: May 29, 2012, 07:27:26 PM »

Did Jonathan and David not love each other?  David certainly seemed to express a great deal of love for Jonathan, I always assumed this was reciprocal; why assume two men who love each other are sexually linked?  In fact, Jonathan and David are a perfect example for homosexual men seeking to stay within the Christian tradition, because Jonathan and David had a non-sexual relationship, but yet a quite intimate and close relationship; or do you think gay men should cut themselves off from all other men?

Once again, read what I wrote.

There's nothing wrong with the icon, nor the individuals depicted. What IS wrong is the skewed message that icon is being used to promote.  When it is used to preach against the Church's teachings, it ceases to be an icon, and simply turns into propaganda.



What, in the description you quoted, was wrong?  That "O Jonathan..." comes from, if I'm not mistaken, second Samuel.  So how, exactly, have you come to the conclusion that this image is being used to preach against the Church?
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« Reply #174 on: May 29, 2012, 07:28:13 PM »

It is telling to note what is written on the scrolls held by Jonathan and David. To elaborate on what Liza said, icons draw us to God, through the saints who, by their lives and conduct, have drawn as close to God as human beings can. What is written on their scrolls reflects their sacrifice (particularly of martyrs), their humility, their forbearance, and other Godly/Christ-like virtues. Their hands point towards the cross or Gospel book in their hands, or their hand is shown close to the body, palm outward, signifying their humility, rejection of worldliness, and submission and deference to the will of God.

By contrast, what do we see in Robert Lentz's painting? The two figures talking amongst themselves. It's all about them and their relationship, not about their relationship with God. It's a selfish painting, and a shameful one, in that holy people have been appropriated by the artist to reflect his own ideology.

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« Reply #175 on: May 29, 2012, 08:09:58 PM »


James, I think you are no longer wondering about validity of the icon, as your arguments don't seem to focus around the iconography, but, about theological aspects.

There is nothing wrong with two men having a strong friendship. In fact, we should always all be friends.

However, both artist and seller are pushing this "icon" as a "gay" thing, when the actual affection between these two men was never of that nature.

Take a look at the icon of Sts. Peter and Paul embracing. There's no hint of anything more than the joy of friendship, and their bond doesn't depict Christ blessing their "friendship."

This one in contrast, is MADE to make you wonder a out Christ blessing a male union. It is used by many to support gay union.

If you don't see that, than there's no point to this discussion.

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« Reply #176 on: May 29, 2012, 08:14:00 PM »


James, I think you are no longer wondering about validity of the icon, as your arguments don't seem to focus around the iconography, but, about theological aspects.

There is nothing wrong with two men having a strong friendship. In fact, we should always all be friends.

However, both artist and seller are pushing this "icon" as a "gay" thing, when the actual affection between these two men was never of that nature.

Take a look at the icon of Sts. Peter and Paul embracing. There's no hint of anything more than the joy of friendship, and their bond doesn't depict Christ blessing their "friendship."

This one in contrast, is MADE to make you wonder a out Christ blessing a male union. It is used by many to support gay union.

If you don't see that, than there's no point to this discussion.



http://www.allmercifulsavior.com/icons/Icons-Bacchus.htm  Scroll down a little ways and there's an icon of Sts. Sergius and Bacchus with a similar image of the face of Christ.

But anyway, you are right: there is no point to this discussion; there seems to have been no progress despite four pages.
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« Reply #177 on: May 29, 2012, 08:17:31 PM »

There are none so blind as those who will not see ....  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #178 on: May 29, 2012, 08:21:24 PM »

There are none so blind as those who will not see ....  Roll Eyes

Thank you for your helpful contribution to this discussion; as with the rest of your contributions it was filled with information and sources to back up your claims; thank you so very, very much for all the exceptional work you do promoting Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #179 on: May 29, 2012, 09:16:19 PM »


James, I think you are no longer wondering about validity of the icon, as your arguments don't seem to focus around the iconography, but, about theological aspects.

There is nothing wrong with two men having a strong friendship. In fact, we should always all be friends.

However, both artist and seller are pushing this "icon" as a "gay" thing, when the actual affection between these two men was never of that nature.

Take a look at the icon of Sts. Peter and Paul embracing. There's no hint of anything more than the joy of friendship, and their bond doesn't depict Christ blessing their "friendship."

This one in contrast, is MADE to make you wonder a out Christ blessing a male union. It is used by many to support gay union.

If you don't see that, than there's no point to this discussion.



http://www.allmercifulsavior.com/icons/Icons-Bacchus.htm  Scroll down a little ways and there's an icon of Sts. Sergius and Bacchus with a similar image of the face of Christ.

But anyway, you are right: there is no point to this discussion; there seems to have been no progress despite four pages.

Just because there's another similar icon doesn't make either one "right". 

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Conquer evil men by your gentle kindness, and make zealous men wonder at your goodness. Put the lover of legality to shame by your compassion. With the afflicted be afflicted in mind. Love all men, but keep distant from all men.
—St. Isaac of Syria
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