Viewpoint from Peter Glanville for 24/07/09
Revd Peter Glanville
Deacon of St Mary’s RC Parish, Great Yarmouth.
“Icons and Idols”
Have you noticed how words and phrases drift in and out of favour? Ask someone how they are and t
hey’ll probably say, “I’m good” Now I didn’t ask how they were behaving, I was just enquiring about their health! Ask a football player to express his intense joy at winning and you’ll get “I’m over the moon!” – Really? - Surely that’s a comment only worthy of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin?
Another couple of overused words that “rattle my cage” (sorry), are “Icon” and “Idol”. Anything of even the slightest merit now seems to attract the adjective “Iconic”.
Pop “idols”, music tracks, items older than a few years get tagged with the “icon” word. Michael Jackson for example was a young man of exceptional talent, with a tortured and challenged life, but was he an “Icon” in the real sense of the word?
An icon originally was an image, normally of someone, that had a life changing impact on humanity. Saints – even Christ himself, were represented in a visual form to focus the relationship between the viewer and the person represented. The image itself was definitely not worshipped – that would have m
ade it an idol. The Icon was just a visual aid. The Idol, an image adored in its own right.
So where does that leave the modern idols and icons of our “Celebrity” world. Can you remember who won the second edition of Big Brother, or who came second in the first “Pop Idol”? More importantly, who cares?
Watch the countless imitative channels of modern TV, and you can’t avoid the concentration on the trivial, the instantaneous and the talent less offerings of “Celebrity Cult”.
But who do you feel has true worth? Who are your real icons? The people who have genuinely changed our lives and our world for the better? The people you would trust in a world of spin and sound bite - of media manipulation and incessant PR?
I’ve been stunned over the past few months workin
g with a group of nearly thirty fifteen and sixteen year olds who have been sifting out the reality of their beliefs and their place in the modern world. They come from the Roman Catholic Parishes in Great Yarmouth and Gorleston. Voluntarily, they’ve given up their Saturday Mornings to work through and analyse their faith. The culmination was last Friday, when they were confirmed in this self evaluated and expressed belief, by their Bishop, Michael Evans.
It was an evening of joy, excitement and new found maturity, as they celebrated with each other and their families and friends. They’ve discovered their “Icon”; their “Celebrity”; a new confirmed and permanent relationship, with a God who is constant, unconditionally loving, and who exists despite, rather than because of media attention.
The celebrations continue now with a “confirmed” day at the Pleasure Beach!
But hold on –
What am I offered for an autograph of the first house mate to be evicted in Big Brother?