Wednesday, July 31, 2013

About That Cover....

I absolutely love the cover of Elizabeth Scalia's book  Strange Gods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life

The cover, as you can see to the left,  has a stained glass window- with a difference. Instead of images of saints and biblical characters, there are individual tiny images from our culture's most common diversions, distractions and attractions, including Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. I wonder if it is only a coincidence that we call the little images on our smart phones and tablets "icons."? Are we trying to worship these things, to use them as are sources of meaning and joy? Food for thought, and discussed in the book.

In the Catholic/Orthodox traditions, an icon (from Greek εἰκών eikōn "image") is a religious work of art, most commonly a painting designed to symbolize spiritual realities. In the afterword of the book Scalia makes these points about the differences between religious Icons and our little icons, our idols of the heart, as symbolized on the cover:,
  • An Icon looks out from Intrinsic light and points to its source; there are no shadows in which to hide.
  • An idol looks out from man-created light and points to itself; invites us into the shadows.
  • An Icon teaches us how to focus, how to quiet down, collect ourselves, and hear the small, still voice.
  • An idol throws noise, images, and issues at us, non=stop, scatters our thinking, and deafens s to any voice but its own.
  • An Icon whispers wisdom.
  • An idol shouts soundbites and mindless trendspeak.
  • An Icon inspires us to chant to the Most High.
  • An idol inspires us to chant to it, and to ourselves.
  • An Icon looks us straight in the eyes and dares us to pursue truth.
  • An idol wears shades and tells us what we want to hear.
I hope that you have enjoyed the posted excerpts from this book that I have been posting over the past few weeks. For many of my readers, reading a book from a Catholic and non-evangelical tradition may be a stretch, and a journey outside of your comfort zone. If so, I think it is a journey worth the effort. I hope that you will consider getting and reading this book.