Seeing too Much
November 5, 15
Reading this week is really not about seeing things in a different perspective to me its seeing things that are not there. I grew up going to a Catholic school full of images and relics and they did capture my attention. But culturally the Catholic Church did not have enough real cultural images that made any dents in who I was and where I was from. This book The Sacred Gaze: Religious Visual Culture in Theory and Practice can take one word out of the whole title and that would be theory. In the real world who is paying attention to idols? What idols? There are so many and some may even be in the church. David Morgan is probably an idealist or just a person who wants to write a book about something he is intrigued by. If he is in the middle of the battle all the imagery he would ever want to see is not that moving. For instance he says, “sacred gaze is the manner in which a way of seeing invest an image, a viewer, or an act of viewing with spiritual significance.” Really? Who has time for that? I don’t want to sound pessimistic about art or the spiritual significance of an image but I am not going to worship something that looks like the Virgin Mary like some Catholics do. They will flock to a supposed appearance and image of Mary by the thousands and it’s not even anything spiritual to it. It’s just the way I see it. Now I love the beautiful things that God has put into the hearts of people to develop things that make you think because of what you see. As Morgan stated, “gaze designates the visual field that relates seer, seen, the conventions of seeing, and the physical, ritual, and historical context of seeing.”
I never see religious images in things I do. I can’t see God so how could religious images mean anything but just images? I am a pastor reality of what I see is when I went to Hong Kong the mother of my church died. I talked to her the same day I went to Los Angeles to fly to Beijing. No pictures no images just what I got to do when I get back to California. I don’t want to sound like I don’t get Morgan’s drift but from a pastors eyes its not about images we face it is about reality and what we have to do too. Images can mean a lot to a person who is looking for them. I am not looking for any images. I am looking for reality and what it is. He may have experienced things I have not. One day I might be able to observe all of the spiritual significances and images that go with life. But now I am learning how to be a pastor. I don’t deal with images of spirituality or images of things that represent it. I deal with real images that are not visual all the time! Anybody who has that much time to pick flowers and right down how it looks are probably rich and detached! I would rather let them pick the flowers and then take them to the inner city and let them pass them out to people who are going through things! Smhh!
 David Morgan, The Sacred Gaze: Religious Visual Culture in Theory and Practice (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2005), 3.
 Ibid., 4.