In great contests, each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be wrong. God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time.
Monday, August 6, 2007
Church Architecture, Part 2
These images are of Marble Collegiate Church on 5th Avenue, just a couple of blocks from my office. Marble Collegiate is sometimes cited as the oldest continuous Protestant congregation in the U.S., having been founded in 1628. (I can't confirm the veracity of the claim.) Still, the church is arguably most famous for its long-time association with Norman Vincent Peale, who served as pastor from the mid-1930s until his death in 1993. Note his statue out front, perpetually greeting passers-by. Peale was one of the founders of Guideposts magazine and author of the popular but controversial Power of Positive Thinking, which to some scholars encapsulates the philosophically shallow spirituality of the 1950s.
Peale's ministry aside, Marble Collegiate is a beautiful fixture in this neighborhood. Those ribbons adorning the iron fence? Stretching across the front of the church and down the left side of the church on 29th St., there's a gold ribbon for all U.S. service personnel who have died in Iraq. The blue ribbons represent prayers for Iraqi victims of the conflict and green ribbons represent prayers for peace. It's a pretty impressive display. I'm reminded of Abraham Lincoln's words from 1862:
Long suspicious of any nation's claims that "god is on our side" in a violent conflict, I'm convinced that god is nowhere to be found in the present war, despite both sides' claims to possess a monopoly on divine support. And as for gold ribbons, let's hope they are translated into votes repudiating the Bush regime's policies.