Sunday, July 16, 2006
What is Sacred, Anyway?
So I was in my summer school class the other day, participating in our final critique, when a discussion of the word “sacred” broke out. One of my classmates had made a small quilt out of fabric she had printed, which in its design referenced the American flag (note the small “f” there). Anyways, we got into a discussion of current events concerning the recent vote in Congress over flag burning. It reminded me of my objections to the proposed Constitutional amendment. Most of my objections stemmed from the language used in the proposal (see Kyle’s post on the subject). Some of those who were for the amendment said things like, “The flag is sacred and we should protect it.” Well, no it’s not. In fact, I would posit that there are extremely few things in this world that I would consider “sacred”, in the sense of an object that is sufficiently holy to demand our protection at the cost of all else, even maybe our lives. I believe that ideas can be sacred, such as the teachings of Jesus, the Apostles, and the Sacred Traditions of our faith. These are things that should be protected, stored up in our hearts, if you will. Frankly, only those things that can be protected in our hearts and minds come close to being sacred in my opinion. The flag is perhaps an important symbol of a larger ideal such as liberty and freedom and shared suffering, but the flag is not those things, only a symbol of them. Destroying a flag in no way diminishes those ideals. As someone once said, “they may take our lives, but they'll never take... OUR FREEDOM!” Or something like that. I would even say that a Bible, a copy of the book that contains the message of Jesus, is not, in and of itself, sacred. The message contained within those pages is absolutely sacred, don’t get me wrong. And it would sadden me greatly to see someone with enough hatred in them to burn or otherwise disrespect a Bible. But we are supposed to have those words written in our hearts and our minds. The earliest churches, and a good number of churches around the world today, never had a printed copy of the Bible as we know it today. They knew the Word through memory and shared oral tradition. And they knew it holistically, not so much in the pick-a-piece-here-and-there-to-cling-to way that so many Christians today seem to. Another of my classmates stated that maybe our consumer-oriented culture, in which American flags are made in China and Bibles are mass-produced so that you can buy one for a couple of dollars in paperback, has “warped” our sense of the “sacred object”. What do you think?
Hi, I'm Debi. Once in a while I have a thought and I like to write it down before it goes away. This is where I write it.
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