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Friday, December 3, 2010

Simple Church Minute--pastor's chair, stained glass windows

30—pastor’s chair and stained glass windows
NOTE:  I originally wrote a segment for each of the 61 points Frank Viola and George Barna make in their book, Pagan Christianity, about traditions in the institutional church not based on scripture.  After writing it, I chose to not include this segment merely as I felt that in wouldn’t be an interesting radio commentary.

My name is Tom; this is Simple Church Minute
            Today, I mention two traditions in some traditional church organizations, but cannot be found in the Bible.   The first is a special chair for the pastor or priest to sit in, sometimes plain, but usually ornate.  How’d it happen?  Back in the Roman Empire, a judge had a special chair, robe, and music in the courtroom.  As Roman pagan priests rose in influence, their temples copied the majesty of the court, including the special ornate chair.  When Rome legalized Christianity, the ornate chair was copied for the bishop, who over time became the priest.  The Reformation brought the word pastor for the person officiating over the congregation, the chair was made less fancy, but in many churches, the special chair exists today.
            The second tradition is stained-glass windows.  After Rome got church building started, the architectural style went from basilica to Byzantine to Romanesque.  At that style, which is about the 6th century, Gregory of Tours introduced stain glass to the church building.  Sugar, abbot of St. Denis, took it to another level by having sacred stained glass paintings made for Gothic cathedrals.  This style is to this day renowned for their beauty and quality.  The architects were influenced by Plato, who taught that sound, light, and color had mystical meanings, and could induce moods to create a sense of splendor and transcendence.  Gothic architecture, with its excessively high ceilings, combined with the colorful windows, was made to create a sense of awe.  During that time, though, priests were mainly taught how to do ceremonies, the common person had no access to the Bible, and there was a great lack of spiritual light, which we now call the Dark Ages.

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