The Reformation of the Image: So Choice
And here is another "choice" item. My good friend, Dr. Gene Edward Veith, recently handed me several pages from a book I was unaware of: Joseph Leo Koerner’s The Reformation of the Image. The writing is a bit stilted, but…what a treasure is to be found in this book. It drives a stake through the heart of the Pietistic evils that have inflicted much of American Lutheranism when it comes to the visual arts and our worship spaces. I was talking to a dear lady recently, a new Lutheran, who explained that she loves simplicity and would prefer a stark room in which to worship God, to an elaborately decorated church. I wondered aloud with her why this is. Our Lord is a very visually oriented God. His first command, "Let there be light" is proof enough of this. If he wanted us to exist in a realm of "pure thought" without visuals, He would not have created light nor have given us eyes. But, He did, thanks be to Him, and so we can, and should, enjoy the treasures of beauty experienced by all our senses, in our lives, and in our worship as well. Nothing is more sad to me, than a bare, stark interior of a church deprived of beautiful symbols and visual images. I shudder when I see the interior of the typical Presbyterian church. Reminds me of a funeral home chapel. This book explains the genius of Lutheran art.