images of God the Father

On the contrary, they did not preach an image they preached a reality.

You misrepresent St. Johns words. He is not presenting to us a second hand personal representation (an image) here, he is speaking about reality.

Again you misuse or misunderstand what these things actually are. The “Temple of the Living God” you become is not an image. It is an actual thing, an actually state of existence with a purpose. Temples themselves are not images. They are real things used for real purposes. Why would you worship a temple anyway?

If it quacks like a duck – you pray at these images; if it walks like a duck – you kneel before these images; if it looks like a duck – you do everything that someone who IS worshiping the image would do, then it sure seems awfully close to being a duck. I guess simply saying “but we don’t worship these images” takes care of that though. It’s all in the intent I suppose.

Again you misrepresent these things to prove a point. There are at least 2 glaring things which set these things apart from the kinds of over embellished and grandiose collections of artwork and huge Churches that the Roman Church seems to think it needs. 1) The creation of the ark was a direct commandment from God with specific instructions on its building. 2) These things were not for decorative use, they had real purpose which was inherent in the item itself. They were not looked upon as “images” through which one might worship God. The ark for instance was not an image of God as one might find an image of the crucified Christ in a Church.

I make no claim that GOD can be wrong in anything. I merely assert that man is.

Hello!
Again, Yahweh can’t be wrong by definition, but man certainly can and has gotten it wrong in my opinion, over and over again.

Ask yourself, what is the purpose of the Church? To bring us back to God after wandering in the desert. Yes you can find God in a plain room and a decorated room. The difference is that if our primary concern is uniting with Gods will then we must die to the world and be born again. The elaborate artwork and ornate statues and other decorations in a Church is at best irrelevant to salvation and at worst a distraction from focusing on God. These things may make worship more comfortable in a worldly sense but make no mistake whenever you contemplate the beauty of a marble statue or the skillful depiction of a religious scene in an artwork you are not contemplating God. You are contemplating God through the rose colored glasses of personal artistic representation. You are making a worldly compromise in order to attract followers by giving them an environment comfortable to the senses and passing it off as spiritually empowering. You wish to make this world more pleasing when our attentions should be on the world to come, the new world after the old one is destroyed. If the Roman Church wants to do something spiritually powerful sell off these unnecessary worldly artifacts and use the money to help the poor even more, stop commissioning these thousands of dollars worth of artwork and statues and fancy murals and use the money saved to make the world a little less miserable for some. Would you rather have a statue worth a couple thousand or feed and cloth some homeless people for a month? Would you rather keep a free clinic open for those who cant afford medical care or commission another ten thousand dollar mural to adorn your mega church? You want pure meditation on God and communion with his son go sit in a meadow or under a tree, weather permitting, or sit in a plain unadorned shelter and reason among yourselves on the scriptures. Anything else is a lie. You want the truth look to God…he gave us clues in scripture…King Solomon built Yahweh a “house” and here’s what Stephen had to say about it in Acts 7:48-49 “However, the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands. As the prophet says:”'Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be?""

With all do respect…what are you trying to say? What are you trying to convey about the persecution of the Catholic Church and how is my understanding flawed in relation to it? As I’ve said before there’s a BIG difference between what God has commanded man to do and what man has created of his own accord.
May God give you wisdom this day and blessings every day there after.

I thought that the heresy of Iconoclasticism had been condemned centuries ago. . .

False dichotomies abound in your post.

Nobody makes ‘expensive statues’ in lieu of ‘feeding the poor’. People do both. Who made you the official spokesperson for what God wants? By what right do you determine that something in a given Church is ‘too ornate’ or ‘too much’? You aren’t Pope Francis. Last I knew, while he might not want air conditioning in the church, he sure as heck doesn’t mind statues! If you like ‘plain undecorated churches’ then go find a church that’s decorated to your liking, more power to you, but don’t try to erect ‘your’ décor as ‘superior’ to anything that doesn’t meet your minimalist POV, or try to ‘guilt’ those with more ‘gilt’ in their churches than you find ‘fit’.

Hi!

WOW!

…you truly are confused… Who’s the first to Command that images be Constructed, with very Specific Design and Function, in Scriptures? The Catholic Church?

Please refrain from understanding the world through your interpretational skills; Yahweh God Commanded that Cherubs be Created!

Yahweh God Commanded what materials be used to “adorn” the Holies of Holies, the Priestly garments, the Altars and Utensils… it was not the Catholic Church (unless you subscribe to that ideology that the Catholic Church “changed”/“corrupted” true Worship (which includes God’s Revelation).

…and for your information:

Sources: IRS Form 990, annual report or statement of individual charities, www.guidestar.org

, www.ministrywatch.org, www.give.org, Minnesota Attorney General’s Office; Chronicle of Philanthropy.

forbes.com/lists/2005/14/Revenue_1.html

If you go down and select all of the Catholic organizations the amount is astounding! Adding up just Catholic Charities, Food for the Poor, Catholic Relief Services, St. Jude’s, and America’s Second Harvest alone total $5,570,000,000, which is greater than #1 on the list for America. Keep going down the list and you find Father Flanagan’s homes, Catholic Medical Mission Board, Covenant House, and more. Add the thousands of other charities, from Missionaries to the Poor, Amigos for Christ, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, to religious orders (like Missionaries of Charity) and thousands upon thousands of individual parishes across the globe who often do their work in anonymity, and you will see some of the charitable works of the Catholic Church. (facebook.com/notes/michael-sanchez/the-catholic-church-is-the-largest-charitable-organization-in-the-world/399364450111086)
…so you were saying?

It seems that you only have a gripe with the Catholic Church–should the Catholic Church restructure herself into mom & pops whatever theological whims hit the day churches or mega entertainment systems that think that the path to Salvation is loud music and cappuccinos, and ornate “pastors” that can chant and channel for hours at a time form a single passage or word from Scriptures?

Can you show me, in Scriptures, where Jesus refused the financial support of those who went to Him and offered it? What of that alabaster perfume, are you with Judas and those Apostles that mumbled, ‘we could have sold that to provide for the poor?’ Did Jesus agreed? …and when the issue of the poor widows arose, did the Apostles called for a removal of them from their sight? …didn’t they actually began the Church’s first social relief efforts?

…by the way, why were these Apostles of Jesus so involved in putting together “collections,” shouldn’t they have remained penniless and hungry and offer that to the poor and needy?

Please forgive my impatience… I hope to shock you into removing the beam from your eye so that you can see more charitably.

Maran atha!

Angel

Hi!

…yes, we could go on forever and you would insist that I misrepresent what you think I misrepresent… are you a Christian? Did you experience Christ’s Crucifixion? Did those who listened to the Apostles, several years removed?

…as I speak I see an image of Christ on the Cross… it is not Christ I see… it is an image… and while I see the image of Christ on the Cross, I do not worship the image of Christ… I worship Christ, Whom I cannot Know or See… but the image of Him on that Cross connects me to God’s Revelation of my Salvation: 'before the world was Created, I was Saved by His Blood–oops… all images, aren’t they or are you saying that it is the actual Blood of Jesus that that passage of Scriptures represents?

…there’s one final thought that I would like you to ponder… some religious person once coined and many have followed… ‘were you there when they crucified my Lord?’ Is that an image of the Crucified Christ? Are these “Believers” worshiping the image or Christ?

Maran atha!

Angel

Hi!

Your tone: anger, hatred, judgment, accusation, interpretation for the Church, determination for the Church, and total control of what God “truly” wants to Convey and do.

…could you please show in Scriptures where it is Commanded that the New Covenant Writings be made? No… ok… what about that Commandment to compile the Sacred Writings into one single unit?.. uh… no; well, from your interpretation the Gospels and Epistles should not have been Written… and there should not have been a Bible ever compiled… ‘cause, you know, God did not Command it so, correct?’

I think that we have taken this past any true value… I do not want to continue to push back at your angered rhetoric.

May the Holy Spirit Reveal His Truth beyond man’s ability to manipulate God’s Revelation.

Maran atha!

Angel

I know anything that is frowned upon by those “outside” the Catholic Church is quick to be condemned by those “inside” the Catholic Church it is after all a sensitive subject when anyone calls into question her practices. That’s fine and understandable. Its is the world view you ascribe to and must be defended at all costs. I am not, did not, nor have ever promoted any form of iconoclastic philosophy. That you think I have this alone shows me you either don’t care about what I said or perused over it lackadaisically already having judged before trying to understand what I’m saying. Point by point…I never said anyone makes these things in lieu of ‘feeding the poor’. Read my post. I said because these things are of the material world and unnecessary to our salvation instead of the church paying to have these things made or keeping them to decorate with the money saved or gained by the sale could be used to further help the poor or otherwise needy. Point two…I never laid claim to be the official spokes person for God. I simply made a logical observation. An observation which I believe is more in line with a Christian attitude. Read my post without being servile to your emotions. Point three…Look at my religious affiliation. I am not Catholic. I disagree with the Roman Church on several points. I could care one wit if I am not the Pope. I will still voice my opinion and give reasons for it. Should you have reasons why you think mine aren’t something that should be considered then by all means I hope you will discuss it with me and I hope to have the ability to admit I was wrong if I see you are correct. We are not there yet…we haven’t even begun a discussion. Point four…I’m not claiming superiority in anything. I merely stated my POV as I see it now. My POV is capable of being changed if you’d care to take the time to do it. Its a testament to your misunderstanding Christ’s message that you would simply tell me to find some other Church more to my liking when you yourself must believe there is no other Church more fitting to Christian values than your own. You should be trying to start a dialogue with me not abandoning me to my “ignorant” opinions. By what right do I voice my thoughts? By Gods authority in being a child of his seeking the truth. When the apostle asked Jesus, " who is the greatest among us" he replied that we should not think like that. Wisdom can come from anywhere. It is to the detriment of the Roman Church that in her arrogant pride she believes God only whispers his lessons to her. Last point…It is common knowledge that Pope Francis himself prefers the plain to the embellished. Point of fact…he admonished his own Bishops for being too extravagant in their behavior and spending. I recall one German Bishop who was disciplined for the ridiculous amount of money spent decorating his residence. If the Pope has to point out to his own clergy these things there is a common sense disconnect somewhere between understanding their mission and enjoying the comforts of this world. I don’t believe Pope Francis has the “power” to enact as much change in the church as he would like. There’s just too many obstacles in his way. This I believe is endemic in Churches today. The belief is that the more embellished the church the stronger Gods presence is in that church. I simply don’t see that in Christ’s revelations to us. Please though, I am willing to listen to reasoned dialogue.

I like statues and images of God, Jesus, Mary, saints, etc.
I like helping the poor.
No reason we can’t have both.
Often the statues and images help inspire me to help the poor or do something else good.

If you want a bare room for your worship space, go ahead and make one.
Just don’t go preaching to me that I “have to” or “should” do the same.
To go on like that is disrespectful, especially when the person you’re going on to is a Catholic.

That’s all I have to say.

Sigh…my interpretational skills? What I said in my post is scriptural. It was God, yes, I agree, I said as much in my post, let’s move on.

I have no idea where you headed with this…I covered this in my earlier post. Read it.

Lol, thats cute, another attempt at an insult? I should just shut up because I’m confused right? I’ve come across this before. Catholics should be careful in quoting their amazing charitable work, as if they are trying to justify something. I’m not sure what, past sins? Are you keeping score for some reason? That’s so ugly in a person and so suspicious in an institution. Every once in a while Catholics trot these things out like a shield behind which they feel justified in shutting down anyone who would disagree with the Roman Church’s practices. Anyway it smacks of arrogant pride and we know what that did for Satan. I know, I know the world is such that these statistics must be recorded. It just seems so like a ploy the worldly would use…but I should not fault charity for charities sake so I say good for the Catholic Church or at least for the individuals in the Church who are charitable. Let’s put a little perspective on it though, enter my point of view for a second. Here is a post I did in another thread concerning this…

In my opinion charity is done by individuals, not institutions.
It’s a good, beautiful, wonderful thing to be charitable. But we cannot use the advertisement of the amount of our charity to prove anything, nor should we especially when it’s not in question. It only then becomes suspect for ulterior motives other than merely doing good for goods sake. Many criminals have given massively to charity. I would charge you to find any prominent criminal who has not been charitable in one form or another.
Bragging about being the largest may not mean what you feel it means. Witness the elderly widow who gave the least to the treasury in amount but Jesus said gave the most of all the rich. For she gave all she had. Has the church given all she has? What has she given?

Looking at some numbers, we can actually see how things can be used to prove things one way and yet not be so impressive looked at another way… In 2010 according to Charitable research Network Catholic social contributions (limited to America ) was estimated at $30 billion.
Total expenditures were $168 billion spent on social services charities. This made Catholic affiliated charity approximately 17%, an impressive ratio indeed for one group. This doesn’t include social service expenditures by the government though.
According to the Congressional budget office the federal government spent $588 billion on said services, Part of which goes to foot the bill for Catholic charitable work through social services contracts. According to NETWORK - a Catholic social lobbying group- the feds sent more than $1.5 billion to Catholic organizations over merely a 2 week period.
In 2012 the Economist reported that as much as 62% of catholic Charities support came from local, state, and fed government agencies, so again I ask, what has she given?
It’s a numbers game. If you want to brag about the manipulation of statistics and brag about being the biggest and best, be my guest. As for me I’ll give what I can. Though it may just be less than the Catholic Church can give.

[/quote]

I

Um, I’m sorry you feel that way. I don’t have a gripe over all with the Catholic Church only with some of her behaviors and practices as I understand them. If by addressing these things I inadvertently am addressing the entirety of the Catholic Church then so be it. The Catholic Church is far from being the only religious institution I’ve questioned though.

No I cannot show where Jesus refused financial support. Why would I question Jesus’s acceptance of financial support? Scripture supports the practice of giving the Church financial support. Have you actually thought about anything I’m saying in my posts? Giving financial support to Church has nothing to do with what I’m saying.
As for the expensive perfume poured on Jesus, reread Mathew 26:6-13. Jesus did not tell the Apostles they were wrong in their thinking. Scripture says he was aware of their reasoning and merely told them to leave the woman alone and he gave them the reason why which had nothing to do with their reasoning being incorrect. The woman had a beautiful intent in mind; her actions were a testament to the beautiful state of her soul. The perfume was not unnecessarily used unlike the superfluous embellishment you find in Church’s nowadays. See also Mark 14:8 and John 12:7. I must confess I’m not sure what you’re referring to about the Apostles and the widows. Could you give me a scriptural reference?

Please, now you’re being unreasonable. Scripture supports the support of the needs of the Apostles through collections. These collections were to buy them the necessities of life in order to continue in their work, not to grant them the means to acquire unnecessary artwork or eye catching trinkets or expensive tunics and the best means of transportation, or the best houses in which to live.

There’s nothing to be forgiven. We all get impatient at times. The only thing that would be shocking to me is if you believed you have no beam in your own eyes which you should strive to remove as well. My whole postings have been about being more charitable. You are thinking with your emotions and confusing what I mean in my posts with what you think my intentions are. I’m not here to insult anyone or the Roman Church. I’m here to state what I believe is in accord with Christ’s wishes for the behavior of his Church.

Hi!

The reason why it is made in such simplistic form is to allow for some of it to sink in–you keep driving the God Commanded because it was found in Scriptures but you refuse to understand that the problem with images is not the creation of them (since even a thought is a created image) but the use of such creation.

Graven image = image for the purpose of worship; this means that even people, animals, things, can be held as idols (and they are).

So if you let this sink in you will find that you may have placed yourself or your congregation or your religious leadership above God when you have made your expositions or when you have made choices in your life.

…determining from “Scriptures” what Believers must do places Christ at a resounding error since nowhere in the Old Covenant does it state “Church” or “Community” or “Apostle.”

…so we must allow for growth and we must allow for God to Be the One to Make Revelations.

Lol, thats cute, another attempt at an insult? I should just shut up because I’m confused right? I’ve come across this before. Catholics should be careful in quoting their amazing charitable work, as if they are trying to justify something. I’m not sure what, past sins? Are you keeping score for some reason? That’s so ugly in a person… disagree with the Roman Church’s practices. Anyway it smacks of arrogant pride and we know what that did for Satan. I know, I know the world is such that these statistics must be recorded. It just seems so like a ploy the worldly would use…but I should not fault charity for charities sake so I say good for the Catholic Church or at least for the individuals in the Church who are charitable. Let’s put a little perspective on it though, enter my point of view for a second. Here is a post I did in another thread concerning this…

In my opinion charity is done by individuals, not institutions.
It’s a good, beautiful, wonderful thing to be charitable. But we cannot use the advertisement of the amount of our charity to prove anything, nor should we especially when it’s not in question. It only then becomes suspect for ulterior motives other than merely doing good for goods sake. Many criminals have given massively to charity. I would charge you to find any prominent criminal who has not been charitable in one form or another.
Bragging about being the largest may not mean what you feel it means. Witness the elderly widow who gave the least to the treasury in amount but Jesus said gave the most of all the rich. For she gave all she had. Has the church given all she has? What has she given?

Looking at some numbers, we can actually see how things can be used to prove things one way and yet not be so impressive looked at another way… In 2010 according to Charitable research Network Catholic social contributions (limited to America ) was estimated at $30 billion.
Total expenditures were $168 billion spent on social services charities. This made Catholic affiliated charity approximately 17%, an impressive ratio indeed for one group. This doesn’t include social service expenditures by the government though.
According to the Congressional budget office the federal government spent $588 billion on said services, Part of which goes to foot the bill for Catholic charitable work through social services contracts. According to NETWORK - a Catholic social lobbying group- the feds sent more than $1.5 billion to Catholic organizations over merely a 2 week period.
In 2012 the Economist reported that as much as 62% of catholic Charities support came from local, state, and fed government agencies, so again I ask, what has she given?
It’s a numbers game. If you want to brag about the manipulation of statistics and brag about being the biggest and best, be my guest. As for me I’ll give what I can. Though it may just be less than the Catholic Church can give.


No one here is insulting you or your understanding; what I ask is that you take off your filter and engage… just look at what you’ve posted, it seems that the Catholic Church must divest herself of wealth in order to comply with your vision of “right;” yet, even then, from your own qualifying judgment, the Church would have accomplished nothing since only “individuals” count; further, the Church has managed to have the governments of the world foot the bill for her Charities so even if all of the material buildings and financial assets were to be grinded up and given to the poor, the Church would qualify as just another criminal boasting about giving large (since she steals from the world to give to the world).

…can we give this circle a decisive terminal stop?

May the Holy Spirit share the Wonders of God with you and your loved ones.

Maran atha!

Angel

Are you people deliberately messing with me by being obtuse concerning what I’m saying in my posts? I never said what I wanted. I like artistic endeavors as much as anyone. I’m not “preaching to anyone”. I’m stating my opinion in hopes of opening a discussion on these ideas. There can be no image of God and images of Mary and Jesus are lies! They are person artistic renderings. I cannot judge whether having these things makes one wit of difference between whoever has these things and God. I can only make the observation that according to scripture these things are not necessary to our salvation and the moneys that might be obtained from not commissioning these things or by their sale could be put to better use. If it is disrespectful to question Catholic practices then how is it not disrespectful for Catholics to question others beliefs and yet Jesus and the Apostles did just that? Are you saying that they were being disrespectful? If you need images to inspire you to help the poor then this is only a testament to a spiritual emptiness you are trying to fill with these images. God said that everything we need to inspire us to action is within us not without. The only things you find without is the things of the world. Like I’ve said how can we justify being able to feed 5 poor but not afford any more than that while at the same time having a painting on our wall that’s worth thousands whose sale would help us feed 100’s more poor? Because we’ve fed the 5 is this cause to be satisfied with keeping the painting hanging on our wall? In this way can we have our cake and eat it too? Should we? Individually this is nearly impossible for anyone to do. People like their fancy cars and fancy houses and ability to eat out in fancy restaurants and justify this by taking a small portion and helping the less fortunate. Helping any less fortunate makes us feel justified in our own good fortunes. This is the way of the world and its why we need Christ’s salvation to save us from our own imperfections. Jesus said to the man…if you would be perfect give up all that you own and follow me. Most are not perfect. I understand this. Institutions though are another matter. Christian institutions are supposed to be an idealized attempt at perfect Christianity. Individuals within these institutions may fail to live up to its idealized standards but the institution itself should set the standard to reach for. The Roman Church as an institution has failed in this. In my opinion.
Gods blessings be upon you

Hi!

…I don’t think that in the post that I replied to you stated ‘why are religious institutions…’ or for that matter ‘why are institutions…’ I may be wrong but what I recall from your post was that the Catholic Church cannot but divest her self of wealth in order to serve God the “right” way.

No I cannot show where Jesus refused financial support. Why would I question Jesus’s acceptance of financial support? Scripture supports the practice of giving the Church financial support. Have you actually thought about anything I’m saying in my posts? Giving financial support to Church has nothing to do with what I’m saying.
As for the expensive perfume poured on Jesus, reread Mathew 26:6-13. Jesus did not tell the Apostles they were wrong in their thinking. Scripture says he was aware of their reasoning and merely told them to leave the woman alone and he gave them the reason why which had nothing to do with their reasoning being incorrect. The woman had a beautiful intent in mind; her actions were a testament to the beautiful state of her soul. The perfume was not unnecessarily used unlike the superfluous embellishment you find in Church’s nowadays. See also Mark 14:8 and John 12:7. I must confess I’m not sure what you’re referring to about the Apostles and the widows. Could you give me a scriptural reference?

Please, now you’re being unreasonable. Scripture supports the support of the needs of the Apostles through collections. These collections were to buy them the necessities of life in order to continue in their work, not to grant them the means to acquire unnecessary artwork or eye catching trinkets or expensive tunics and the best means of transportation, or the best houses in which to live.

Correct! There was a specific “function” for the use of the perfume–even when this evades both the woman, who doted Christ with attention and Thanks giving, and the Disciples, who frowned upon “such waste!”

The point I was attempting to make is that in short sight it would seem excessive while in actuality it was not; I hoped to give you a different comparison of the financials of the Church (clearly, I’m not an economist or a financial guru so I don’t know if the Church has more money than God–yeah, I thought this colloquial would help… no displacement intended); her obligations and activities demand to have more than a hand-to-mouth recourse.

There’s nothing to be forgiven. We all get impatient at times. The only thing that would be shocking to me is if you believed you have no beam in your own eyes which you should strive to remove as well. My whole postings have been about being more charitable. You are thinking with your emotions and confusing what I mean in my posts with what you think my intentions are. I’m not here to insult anyone or the Roman Church. I’m here to state what I believe is in accord with Christ’s wishes for the behavior of his Church.

…what you seem to want to convey and what you are stating are not congruent; you hold that the Church spend millions of dollars useless and idolatrous activities (while you do not understand idolatry or ornament from any other perspective than from what you have come to accept) and you infer that that ill-spent money could go to helping the poor (clearly you missed the boat on the Catholic Church Builder of Civilization) because you have determined that what the Church does for the poor is not enough.

…yeah, no attack on Catholicism, just simple whimsical exhortations. (Have you ever wonder why some builders/creators often step back from the object of their labor… they seek to mesh the physical with the abstract… in communication, we seldom choose to labor past our idealized vision… it helps to have more than one perspective.)

While I do not think that I am free from sin or that I possess all knowledge, I am only responding to what you have brought with you… and my offer of apology is not out of feigned humility but out of heartfelt regret to have written to you in a harsh/forceful tone.

I truly hope that you continue to question things around you; that you demand that Christians be more answerable to God for their choices and behavior… I hope that you take into consideration more than what you feel is the “right” thing/understanding.

May the Holy Spirit Convicts the Believers into the Way!

Maran atha!

Angel

Hi!

The problem you have is your vision… did you know that the first House of God was an actual tent?

Did you know that, though it took hundreds of years, a Temple replaced the tent?

…the Church has developed throughout time; we no longer sacrifice grain, oil or animals… (did you notice that not once in Scriptures is there a Command to stop those Old Covenant Practices?); what you suggest is that one man’s view (or your denominational or Protestantism’s) should be the “correct” understanding of things.

You want to use social response to the poor as the vehicle to dismantle what the Church has been doing for over two thousand years: Serving God through the Succession of the Apostles.

No matter what other views are presented or how charitable or how harsh… you will continue to preach, ‘Church bad; change to “my way” so you can do good.’

Be fierce; demand that Christians Serve God. Be humble, ask the Holy Spirit to Guide your steps.

Maran atha!

Angel

Setarcos,

Since this is a thread that I started I thought I’d try and respond to some of your points…

I’m trying to understand what you are saying.

The Church is not simply an institution. It is Christ’s presence on earth because it is His Body. As a Body, it is visible. Hence, we get the Catholic Church, a visible Church upon earth.

God became Man. The invisible God became visible to us. So we can see that God likes to make things concrete, visible, to help us. Such as the Sacraments, through which we receive grace. Or the Church being visible

the issue with Protestantism is that in focusing so much on the invisible, as if the visible is a distraction, - that seems very Gnostic to me.

Evil is in rejecting God’s will, in concupiscence, in the fall. In the “flesh” and disordered “passions”. But NOT in visible creation. That is Gnosticism. So visible creation is not a distraction to spirituality.

Yes there are times when we need to fast, or give up sensory things in order to heal or Disordered attachment to these things, and love God first. Because we cling to the created things too much. But IF these things bring us closer to God, then it’s not a worry. That’s why the Sacraments having visible aspects aren’t a worry. That’s why images in church are not a worry. Because they don’t distract.

Many times, images have helped me to pray. Especially coming in from outside, with the cars and fashions and other distracting things, - seeing the holy images around me has helped me to remember what our faith truly is. If the church was just a bare white room, I might bring the worldly images with me and focus on them instead. Because we are human, that’s what happens with our minds. But this way, I instead think of the holy things because I have something to help me concentrate on them. Same with music and other things. I don’t believe these things are distracting because they actually help to raise the mind towards God.

In the resurrection of the dead, we won’t have concupiscence or distractions, but we will have a body. This body will interact with visible things in the environment, that are created. That’s not bad, that’s how God made things to be. I wonder why Protestantism tries to remove anything visible from the Church, - from the definition of “the Church” to images, - when God didn’t make the world this way? The world includes the Incarnation. A visible Church. Jesus has a Body. Having an image of His holy Humanity helps us to think about His Humanity more.

As for these things “not being necessary for salvation”… salvation isn’t just choosing God once in our lives and then that’s it, we’re saved. It means loving God, persevering, really following Him, repenting and letting Him transform us. It means sharing in His life. For this, we need help because we are weak. God helps us in His grace that we receive primarily through the Sacraments. He helps us in prayer. The life of grace that we can have in Christ, needs to be nurtured and strong. All the other things that the Church offers us, the prayers and novenas and Saints and holy images, help us to concentrate more on God, to be disposed to receive more graces… because our disposition matters a lot. God doesn’t force His grace on us. If we are disposed well, we would receive more, and be transformed more into who God wants us to be.

Think of salvation as a state of grace sharing in God’s life. We are complicated human beings we have an intellect and a will, and emotions, passions, concupiscence, etc, all this needs to be healed, fixed, brought back to God. Otherwise we go backwards, not forwards, and we might not persevere. Things like images in church can help us to be more focused in prayer, to be better disposed. I know they’ve helped me many times. Same with everything the Church offers that Protestants typically say “isn’t necessary”. This ignores the point that it’s difficult for us to be well disposed, to cooperate with God’s grace, - even though this is by grace too, - we need to cooperate. Everything in the Church helps us to do this better.

St John Vianney is someone you might be interested in. He had nothing, he lived very very poorly. He mostly ate cold or even mouldy potatoes. Yet he tried really hard to make his church look respectful and beautiful, as an act of worship. He was a priest and God did many miracles through him.

God bless

I added my 2 cents to the “discussion”. Guess you didn’t like it. :shrug:
Peace out

God bless you too, hon. Again, there is nothing wrong with you having your opinion. . .

The trouble comes when you say that your opinion is what God really wants, and that we should do what you say because you have faithfully interpreted Christ’s words, and we --if we are following authentic and approved Christian practice in enjoying statues etc. somehow are NOT being as good Christians as we should.

Now I’m not going to try to tell you that you’re wrong in wanting --for yourself–a more minimalist approach.

But. . .and it’s an important but. . .you must have the same respect and consideration for those who prefer a more ‘sense-filling’ spiritual life.

God put us on this earth so that we could enjoy it responsibly.

Some people need more, some less.

Probably years ago before children and grandchildren I could have done ‘less’. Nowadays there are a lot of factors which have me using probably what you would find way too much. Holy cards and statues for the home altar, because my 4 and 6 year old grandsons find it super cool to hold onto a statue of St. Michael or Jesus the Good Shepherd while I tell them stories from the Bible. Holy cards to help mark their places in their "Learning to Read’ books. CDs of monks singing chant so they can hear some of the ‘oldest’ bits of our liturgy. A Bless this House plaque with images of the Sacred Heart and Immaculate Heart.

These things are all good and proper and spiritually helpful.

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