I see Christian imagery from a distance

When I see the latest ad-cover for a film, or an album cover-design of recognition, I often give it a silent nod in response. A nod of knowledge, because out-there to the public rude as it may be, out-there I behold a mark of the product that is in promotion, and this is culture. We, inner-city folk like to call this -“representing the scene.” Down in S.London.

Unconscious and consciously I feel convicted to react or relate what is seen to something I have experienced or someone I have heard experience what relates to what we see in these ad-covers and designs. As I have said this is consumer-interaction, its culture.

Now when I see Christian art Christian representation of the apostolic times you know the type of medieval painted fashion with which the “Orthodox Church” surrounds itself and which also has been accepted as the standard artistic portrayal of Christian themes and characters worldwide. Whether its in pamphlets or in buildings this type of impression of the saints life, when I see this sort faith-based representation thrown my way I can’t help but say that I feel… well I don’t know what to feel, in fact I don’t what I am expected to feel, and who expects me to feel the way I am suppose to.

Okay some may accept these Christian-themed images because they seem so standard and recognised. So that I should feel from the image what tones it sets of the subject. But what can I feel from what I get? If its Saint -Jerome by the cave, I should feel from the image what I know of St. Jerome, correct? Or better, if its St. Peter and John by the temple as described in “acts”, then I should feel from the image their miracles described in the acts of the apostles, correct? And that from this I should altogether be convicted with passion and a higher sense of awareness with the brother-and-sisterhood of Christianity, correct? Not so in this case.

I must personally admit that with me this is not the case, very far from it in fact. The result of what I feel is not an attraction to the subject as such, but more of a little sting of disaffection, quite alienating altogether so to speak. I do not feel the warmth to my faith-related subjects in its art-forms the same way I do to cultural products in promotions, and the icon that represent those products. I could say that I feel disaffection pretty much for most -medieval art- anyway, but a lot of what they painted then, that has become the standard now mostly have to do with Christ or gospels. Some who painted were not even believers but painted faith-related subjects as an interest, I certainly hope not for the “heck” of it. The fact is that if medieval fashion in art was popular art and culture back then, hasn’t popular art moved on since in relation to the popular culture of today? But as far as Christian-faiths are concerned the medieval fashion of art still remains the same, those same icons and representation we take as grounded are still the ones used to portray and seek emotions within us believers of now, which I feel is disaffecting or distancing me.

Now I am a believer in what was spoken in the Gospels and by the prophets of God. I want to be as a much of follower of the Christian way as I will, but when I see that image of Him on the cross it pains me to admit it, (if I feel this then the All-Knowing God must also know too), that I can’t help but not share in the passion of His sacrifice on seeing Him portrayed on that cross. Inside me convictions are lost, and there is no impact when I see it the way I feel there should be. And I leave asking what does the image of him on that cross have to do with me, if I can’t feel anything or the Christ in me remains silent when I see it?

Because let’s admit it, if I were to be given a pamphlet or a message from a Christian what is normally the first thing I see? The image.

I am bewildered and hope that this is not what other believers feel when they view His sacrifice for all mankind in this image-based world.

Peace, from a Prisoner of Consciencern


Join the Conversation


  1. Hello Andy,

    I am the one who posted the original message.
    Music, on the other hand is trying to reach out to people in the ways that popular-culture does.
    I would go as far as saying that the hymn "Amazing Grace" has witnessed so many modern-remixes to rival any tune from Michael Jackson, or the latest fad.
    Oh, and its making it into the Churches as well.

    But art, (I mean paintings by the way) is what distances me, because the symbol of a church or group or faction is represented by the all-powerful image. It distances me because the-image usually represents the message or the meaning behind the message. For instance we know that no-one these days dresses has the apostles did in their times, do we not? Neither do they live as they did, externally do they?

    So who are these images, paintings for?
    These you-know Christian-representative artistic-type-thematic paintings. I must admit I do feel a bit jealous but more puzzled when I hear of how people saw the cross or an image of the crucifixion and related to it when they were little usually girls but hey just the same, they see it and put themselves in it to say that "you see, He died for me" all this from an image. I on the other hand remain silent.
    This I find mysterious.

    I do not want to attack-or, loud out any painter in particular, rather I am speaking on an "era" of paintings and its standard afterwards. The "era" or time of these arts as far as I have observed were mid-to late medieval and this is what we of to-day post-modern folk have come to accept has the standard portrayal of CHRIST, AND CHRISTIANITY.
    By we I mean of course what we see not what we don’t.

    The -image- is all powerful. That is why when I see something representing modern-culture usually a product or service promotion I see myself in there because if I am not in that sitaution I at least know some one who is or have heard and read about what is seen, thus it relates to me if I like it or not.

    Check this painting out by the way, do you "fit-in"?



  2. I completely agree R.

    Maybe “The Passion” could touch somone a bit more – I don’t know, I haven’t seen it, but apparently it’s visually stunning. I find a visually pleasing film touches me much more than any painting I’ve seen.

  3. Visually pleasing films over paintings? Yes, Andy that is a GUILTY EXPRESSION I am proud to admit.
    Thank you


  4. “Christian music is terrible.”

    I presume you mean music that’s intended to be “Christian”, rather than just any music by people who are Christians.

  5. PS And that’s not just music by Christians, but even music that’s explicitly Christian.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *