George Murphy wrote (in part):
<< The problem which images can present is that people may
place their ultimate trust and reliance in them rather than
in the true God. This is "idolatry" in the elementary sense,
& is not really as serious a problem as placing one's trust in
more sophisticated non-visual idols. "Son of man, these men
have taken their idols into their hearts" (Ez.14:3).
Thinking that Jesus was blond & blue-eyed or that
dinosaurs lived in Eden can be a hindrance to good theology.
It is not, however, in itself idolatry.
I admit that it was out of order to cast the volley of
"idolitry". Fortune, women, power, fame, and 401Ks
are the gods that clamor for my allegiance with
far greater impact than those fanciful pictures I
barely recall from a childern's bible.
Nevertheless on your above point,
For a brief period, I lived amongst a black community
in the US, crossed the doors of an AME church during that
time, and read some of what they say about the world.
From that experience, I do have to say that the blond
& blue-eyed Jesus figurines are a stumbling block for
some people in this world.
Although I found Cone's liberation theology deeply
challenging to my clearly limited world view, the point
I carried away (in trying to digest this material)
was that for each person in this world, in that moment of
openness when their heart is humbled, the God that such
a person meets is Chinese for one who requires such,
African if that be so, white, Altaic, etc.
I think that does have a great deal of influence on how
we should understand and recognize Christ. Probably all
of the people on this list would like to do right if the
message in the Bible is true, but it is quite easy to find
oneself being the Pharisee in this world.
So, whereas I acknowledge your point, I'm not so sure we
should dismiss so quickly those "little things" and the way they
begin to add up. The things that draw us to God are different
and likewise the things that make us stumble. How many Sunday
school teachers have handled that precocious child who pipes up
that "the animals in the ark come from different continents" in
a constructive way? More difficult are these painful and often
buried issues. As I recall, the usual answer was "shut up and
by Grace alone do we proceed,
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