September 3, 2008
The God of Kitsch
Why does our Creator not appreciate good taste?
Two stories today reveal the continuing intractability of the common man and woman--and the continuing mysterious ways of our Creator.
In the first, another story about the surprising success of The Shack, we read that various evangelical leaders consider the book "heretical." All the same, the book is being devoured by millions, many of whom say it has helped them deal with deep hurts and evils in their life.
In the second, we read about the archbishop of Mumbai (India) declaring that a painting of Jesus that looks like it's bleeding is not the miracle that pilgrims to the church have believed it to. Instead the painting has "blushed" probably because of the humidity. And yet, as one churchgoer put it, "It's a miracle.... What else can it be?"
While church leaders are called to teach and guide people in lasting truth, I also detect in their reactions to such religious phenomenon a touch of embarrassment--that people on the street are moved and changed by kitsch! God, it seems, is not only not a respecter of persons, but neither is he a respecter of fine taste.