Christian Symbol and Ritual: An Introduction by Bernard Cooke, Gary Macy

By Bernard Cooke, Gary Macy

In Christian image and formality, Bernard Cooke and Gary Macy provide an obtainable and fascinating advent to the subject written from a non-denominational standpoint. Cooke and Macy exhibit that social gathering, ritual, and image are already important to our lives, although such a lot don't see their activities as symbolic or ritualistic. They attach primary Christian symbols to the symbols and rituals already found in lifestyle and position Christian theology in a well-known context. After discussing the features and services of rituals, they discover other forms of formality, together with these of friendship, worship, and therapeutic. The authors additionally research such questions as how rituals determine and continue energy relationships, how "official" rituals are assorted from "popular" Christian rituals and devotions, and the way Christian rituals functionality within the means of human salvation. Christian image and formality is a useful source for college kids, lecturers, and lay readers.

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Sample text

In our society, most groups from governments to churches “ordain” their leaders in a ceremony that marks their entrance into a new level of responsibility and service to the community. Such ceremonies tell society “who’s who”: who gets to do what, and who has to obey whom. Not only are such roles marked by an initiation ceremony, but also most offices are marked by symbols demonstrating one’s rank. Judges wear robes; police have distinctive uniforms, and academics have their gowns. Such symbols can only be worn by those empowered by the group to wear them.

Symbols and particularly language determine to a large extent how we organize the world. Symbol and language, moreover, are communal by nature. A word known only by one person is useless; a symbol practiced by only one person communicates nothing. Therefore we are born into a world already shaped by language and by symbol; in fact, this world is created by language and symbol. Moreover, this humanly created world precedes us. Children are constantly being trained to understand these symbols and this language so they can operate and communicate successfully in the world their culture has created around them.

Rituals mark the entrance of immigrants into citizenship when a person solemnly swears to uphold the values of her or his new home. Graduation ceremonies are a clear demarcation between the different stages of educational and profession states. Most societies have very important celebrations that accompany the entrance of children into adulthood. These include the formal religious ceremonies of a bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah, as well as the less formal ceremonies of the high school senior prom. Most groups—Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Masons, Rotary, fraternities and sororities, and even neighborhood clubs—have initiation ceremonies marking the entrance of new members into fellowship or sisterhood.

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