My recent reflections on being an Augustinian High Church Protestant have me re-examining the role of icons. The problem in the icon debates is whole worldviews, even ontologies, are wrapped up in the yes and no answers. I'll try to deconstruct those and provide tentative answers.
- With the Tradition I agree that an Incarnation that can't be imaged is incoherent. As long as Calvinists say "the divine nature can't be imaged," they will forever lose the debate.
- With some aspects of the Western Tradition and in line with Reformed sympathies, I reject veneration of icons. God promised multi-generation curses for those who bow down to man-originated pesels. I understand Damascene's argument. I just don't think it squares with Moses.
- I don't think having icons of biblical characters or even great saints on the church walls, provided they aren't worshiped, is a bad idea. It is certainly a better idea than fluorescent lights and bright white walls (which C.S. Lewis cogently argued can itself be a form of idolatry).
- Even better, get rid of fluorescent lights altogether and use candles. It saves on the energy bills, doesn't generate migraines, isn't ugly as sin, and fits in with the general tradition of church aesthetics.