"which Tina has accepted with good grace." is such a short explanation!
icons, I was traumatized by a my first visit to an Orthodox church. We
drove several hours to a mission church in Alabama. I was told that I
needed to cover my hair, which, I had a huge black scarf that was too
big and so heavy that it kept falling off during the service. After the
service, we had the privilege of having a conversation with the priest, a
big guy, very lax, from California. (Altar boy has a little case of
hero worship in regards to priests, but I promise you, I'm steadily
chipping away it.)
Well, first of all, the scarf? Priest said I
didn't need it. My initial reaction was, "You don't even know your own
crazy church rules?" I've since learned that a lot of rules are made to
suit the community the church is in.
Second of all, there was one
lady that stayed. I tried to pay attention, but the priest+Tina+Alex
conversation quickly became Alex <3's Priest conversation. That's a
typical Alex+Tina+Person conversation result. It's just our
personalities. This lady, with her hair all done up like some Muslim
chick, was Praying... To... An... ICON! She was holding some artificial
flowers wrapped together with aluminum foil at the base. (Cue crazy
aluminum foil hat that allows you to communicate with aliens.) To my
horror, not only did she PRAY to a picture, but she PROSTRATED herself
before it several times. Then, she made an OFFERING of the bouquet. I
tried to subtly signal to Alex that we needed to get the Hell out of
Dodge (i.e. This Devil's Den).
Eventually we were both safely in
the car, with the doors locked (I did end up getting kinda frantic.), in
an all but empty gravel parking lot. It looked like any other country
Baptist church. It was not. It had incense. Ok. They turned the lights
out. Ok, I didn't see any kids smoochin'. No pews. Sure. The head scarf?
When in Rome...
My body was on high alert
with full adrenaline from the bowing during the service. I had very much
considered not following suit, and I was conflicted and upset that I
hadn't just left the church, that I had succumbed to peer pressure. I
mean, the Priest came over and incensed me! I bowed to a human being!
(Like most Americans, I have a quiet fascination with royalty, but I
hope I never meet Elizabeth because I'm not bowing to her. That would be
awkward. I'm sure she'd figure some graceful way to deal with it, but
no need to take chances, right?) Still, bowing to a person is not an
unforgivable sin. I don't think they're anything more than human beings,
and I give them no more credence. Me, God, and Alex can work this out
Then, the lady worshiping the "graven image." That was it.
I am ashamed to admit it, but, the question, "Am I going to Hell for
this?" got more brain time than it warranted...
You can imagine
what the L-O-N-G ride home was like. I'll spare you the painful details,
but this was a key event in developing a way to deal with icons.
Eventually, it came to light that the Orthodox church doesn't want its'
parishioners interacting with icons the way that lady was.
don't bow to icons or people. I shake priests hands instead of asking
for a blessing. (This doesn't offend them. They don't actually expect
the groupie like behavior Alex exhibits. I get extra room for being
non-Ortho, too.) Icons, as a way to help illiterate people remember
Bible stories or moral stories, are fine. Interacting with icons is
where I get all fidgety. The most interaction an icon is getting from
me, is facing East while Alex blesses some food.
Oh, yeah, to emphasize, I rushed Alex into the car, said, "Get in!" he
questioned twice, "GET IN THE CAR!" and then I kept repeating, "Lock the
doors! Lock the doors! Lock the doors!" until he did. THAT was how
freaked out I was.