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The Unbearable Heaviness of Being

My quest for the eternal lightness

Category Archives: symbols

We all like symbols. In fact, we are obsessed with symbols. We even render power and authority to symbols. They can assume the very core reason for our existence; becoming so important that we are willing to punish or even kill to defend its significance. In some communities, when a symbol (read ‘sacred icon’)  is compromised or taken away, people go berserk. 

It depends, I think on where we locate these icons. Jesuit priest, Father Aloysius Augustine Mowe writes, bad theology leads to bad morality. A dislocated sacred icon might possibly lead to the same desolation. Placed within the power matrix, a symbol exerts, imposes and assimilates – often resulting in denounciation of ‘others’.

In The Cross and the Caricatures, refering to the cross (the death of Jesus) and its substitutionary effect on men’s sin, N.T. Wright wrote:

“ the start when Jesus was going to his own death, he indicated pretty clearly that he saw all the lines of the scriptural narrative converging at this point, and to help his disciples get the full meaning and benefit of what was about to happen, he didn’t `give them a theory, he gave them a meal. That meal – which was much more than just a Passover meal, but no less – contains in itself not only all the various meanings of ‘atonement’ that are worth considering, but also the means by which theories can be turned into real life. Personal, practical, political life. Kingdom-of-God-on-earth-as-in-heaven life. And that, after all, is what ‘atonement’ ought to be about.”

For me at least, the symbol points us to a window to look, to think, to learn, to live.