Tuesday, 21 June 2011

What's at the bottom of your garden?

Fr Tim Finigan at the Hermeneutic of Continuity has a piece today [here] about an American family building a small shrine in their back garden.
Many of us have these in one form or another; I have to say that when we are here I like to light the lamp each evening at the side of the small statue of Our Lady in the Vicarage garden. It's good to be reminded of the reality and rootedness of our faith in the Incarnation, particularly in a culture where, thanks to the upheavals of the sixteenth century, there are no public wayside shrines or village calvaries.
Of course, iconoclastic Protestants aside, there are some who regard such things as the epitome of bad taste, the religious equivalent of garden gnomes; although I've always had a sneaking suspicion that a certain element of kitsch, and even glaringly bad taste, is one of the marks of a 'real' religion.

Yet I'm more than a little perplexed as to the attitude of mind which seems to permit a garden statue of the Buddha (with optional stone Japanese lamp) in the most incongruous of settings - covered in verdigris in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons, to take one example I saw recently -  but which looks with embarrassment or even scorn at anything overtly Christian. Ornament is fine so long as it doesn't mean anything? Of course it's precisely the same approach (an oddly puritan secularism) which attempts to justify a ban on the Christian wearing of crosses at work because, of course, we don't need these things do we?

1 comment:

  1. People are fine with religious symblolism as long as it doesn't actually challenge. Jolly Budhas are nice, but the cross of Christ - not comfortable enough.


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