Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


Other ways of seeing Jesus

a Chinese depiction of JesusEach week at King of Peace we project some image from Christian art on the walls, adding to our worship some of the riches of Christian art through the centuries. There was a time when Judaism and Christianity avoided images out of a desire not to create an idol. During one such art controversy in the 700s, John of Damascus wrote,
Of old, God the incorporeal and uncircumscribed was never depicted. Now, however, when God is seen clothed in flesh, and conversing with men, I make an image of the God whom I see. I do not worship matter, I worship the God of matter, who became matter for my sake, and deigned to inhabit matter, who worked out my salvation through matter.
a Malaysian painting of Jesus calming the stormChristians agreed with John of Damascus seeing it appropriate to paint Jesus and depict scenes from his life. Each culture has tended to do this is such a way so that the Jesus they paint reflects their culture. As the life of the historical Jesus has significance for all peoples and the resurrected Jesus is fully present in all cultures, this is appropriate. While Jesus no more looked Chinese than he looked blonde hair and blue eyed, both of those depictions help people to picture Jesus as Immanuel—God with us.

One great place to see Jesus through the eyes of other cultures is at the Asian Christian Art Association, particularly at their artist profiles and galleries.


  • At 3/28/2005 8:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Other interesting art can be seen through Icons/Iconography. For info and samples, visit

  • At 3/28/2005 12:49 PM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    One blog post today worth seeking out is at Bettie Bookish's blog. It's a well-written column on dealing with grief and features the dog from Hell who has the chew toy from Heaven. The post is here

  • At 3/31/2005 9:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I remember in my younger years growing up Baptist and having more of a worldly acceptance of Biblical Doctrine, basically because the church wasn't teaching it, that Icons Are Idol Worship !!! I have just over the past several years collected quite a few and possess a much greater knowledge of What they are and WHY they are. I agree with John of Damascus' writing totally and add a "Amen" also! I have had to explain to family members that it was a spiritual path I felt the Lord wanted me to walk down and to understand. I don't know but a little, but I am very impressed by the GIFT OF GOD that it takes to even attempt such work! Examine them carefully... they pull you in and you learn something from each and walk away wondering and pondering also! Idol worship? No; I don't pray to the Saints, but to Jesus in Heaven. The Jesus in the art is also a reminder to me of what HE did for me; and still does. I don't look at a crucifix and think Jesus is still on the cross. I believe it is a good thing to have these reminders around us. Look what happened to Israel every time the ark was taken! I have lived without Christian RADIO and it is a different world out there! Just keep it all in Balance.


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