Miracles, like the Shroud of Turin, are a kind of religious bling? Really?

imageFrom a review of Tim Stafford’s Miracles by Joanne K. McPortland in the Patheous blog, Egregious Twaddle:

We Catholics, after all, have a unique (if bipolar) relationship with miracles. We see them everywhere: in weeping statues and rosary chains turned to gold, in the Turin shroud and the E-Bay grilled cheese sandwich. And yet we’re remarkably blasé about them. We’re not, for the most part, a Church that goes on about miracles, or works them into our day-to-day ministry, even in those parts of what Tim Stafford calls “the majority world” where Western skepticism has not yet worked its unmagic, and where among Pentecostal Protestant missions, Stafford reports, “miracles seem to be the normal entry point for people becoming followers of Jesus” (p. 148). For Catholics, miracles are a kind of religious bling—nice to flash on special occasions, but not a necessary part of the wardrobe of faith.

3 thoughts on “Miracles, like the Shroud of Turin, are a kind of religious bling? Really?”

  1. There’s a lot of interesting material out there on miracles, despite Joanne McPortland’s “no-nonsense” approach, and her apparent classification of miracles as religious bling “nice to have – but not really necessary”. Miracles don’t seem to be play a significant role in her life. I’m not sure that the writers of the Catholic Catechism would concur with that point of view.

    Some of the Catholic Catechism material is certainly informative: requirements, categories, evidence etc,, but some of the events it asserts or deems miracles, I feel I would not concur with, and when it comes to biblical miracles, I rather suspect that even Catholic exegetes would differ, or at least have a mental reservation.

    However for a really interesting time looking at miracles, check out the Listverse site. It seems it specialises in lists of the ten most whatever you’re interested in. Google on “Listverse ten most astonishing miracles”. No 10 is actually a Coptic miracle witnessed by thousands, an apparition of the Virgin. St John of Cupertino was given to spontaneous bouts of levitation and flying all over the place. The page has 366 comments, which you can scan through, and like this site, all points of view are presented.

  2. Sorry, the flying monk is St Joseph of Cupertino, patron saint of air travellers. You probably know this if you commute intercity.

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