The Shrine of All Faiths

Some time back, I wrote a post about shrines and created my own on-line shrine. In that post I mentioned my Former Flatmate (pre-cohabitation with Monsieur) and his in-house shrine. Last weekend, Monsieur and I trotted off to a party at my old abode and I took the opportunity of taking a couple of photos so I could better explain the concept behind it. Please note: this shrine embraces all religions and icons. End of.

Naturally, we see Christ and the Virgin Mary here in many different forms, along with their fellow celestial residents of angels and putti. St Clare of Assisi is there as patron saint of television, in the form of a small glow-in-the-dark figurine. There is ‘Hope on a Rope’ and a ‘Pope on a Rope’, both soaps for those of you who haven’t come across the more traditional ‘Soap on a Rope’. Christ guards the house keys (and might I say, he does a pretty good job of it) and there are Mexican Day of the Dead figures with their ghoulish skull heads. A little nun doll rescued from a charity shop wears the tiniest habit and veil I’ve ever seen, and Buddha sits cross-legged in the front. At the centre of the upper shelf stands a tiny Queen Mother dwarfed by the doll of Princess Diana in her famous silk wedding dress to the right. No, this shrine isn’t all about Christian icons and royalty…

We can also see Tibetan prayer flags, Hindu god posters and a Chinese New Year banner. A pair of furry wings adorns the solemn St Francis, and there’s a pack of Fuzzy Felt Bible Stories to play with in case you get bored. And if you ever find yourself needing a Magic 8 Ball, there’s an Answer Me Jesus doll: just ask Him a question, turn Him over and His answer will be displayed. Somewhere, there’s even a sacred cow money box.

I’ve only managed to touch on the wealth of spirituality that appears on this shrine. It’s truly inspirational and is a daily reminder to be tolerant of all faiths. Most of all, it makes people smile, even though the less spiritual side of it must be the religious souvenir manufacturers who are skipping all the way to the bank in the least spiritual of ways…

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. I’m an absolute atheist but, oh, I so desire the winged St. Francis. I think it would go so well with my pope in the snow I purchased while visiting the Vatican.
    With all due respect, I think that your friend’s altar is a reminder we not only need to be tolerant of all faiths but also of the faithfuls with undeniable bad taste. 😉

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  2. epicurienne says:

    No way, you have a Pope in the snow? So lucky. I must look out for one next time life takes me to Rome.
    Re: my friend – the bad taste actually makes it all more amusing. Who would ever have designed a pink Jesus magic 8 doll? Are you kidding? People get paid for these concepts, and other people buy the resulting product. Former Flatmate has been given most of this stuff. He even has a small Virgin Mary devotional altar which was a prop in the Romeo and Juliet starring Leonardo di Caprio hanging on his wall. I cannot tell you how much fun it was to live with him.

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  3. epicurienne says:

    To those of you who have posted comments concerning idolatry, I am sorry to say that against my belief in self-expression, they will not be published here:

    With respect to all people of all backgrounds, I knew some might take this shrine the wrong way but I wasn’t prepared for sermons! For everyone who visits this page, please note that not one item is put upon this shrine without a full understanding of its meaning. Yes, my friends and I understand Ganesh, were raised with various of the teachings present on the shrine, know the story of St Francis and Poor Claire whilst also finding room in our souls to respect Christ, the Virgin Mary, Tibetan beliefs and Buddha. This is not the right post at which to discuss individual religious beliefs and I would like everyone to understand that we are interested in the various faiths and their respective relevance in a religion-torn world. There is a place for everything and this place was never intended for preaching; only understanding. If someone wants to refer to their holy book for wise words, I’m sure they have one to hand. The readers of Epicurienne each hold their own beliefs. I trust them to know their own hearts whilst respecting that some of us believe in the relevance of all positive theologies and refuse to war over them.

    As Epicurus would say: Live and let live.

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  4. Clarification: I was not talking about your friends but the peops who actually buy this stuff for serious. The Vatican is full of shops which sell religious artifacts which are the summum of bad taste. That being said, all atheist that I am, I was moved to tears by La Pieta.

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  5. epicurienne says:

    Hey Nat – don’t worry. I get you. The irony is that the people manufacturing a lot of the things you find in the Vatican are so non-Roman Catholic… a lot of items have tiny “made in China”/”made in Taiwan” stickers. Apparently it’s just as bad at ashrams and the like in India with the Indian souvenirs. It’s universal!
    Anyone who understands any aspect of the mother-child relationship
    (ma fille) is moved by the Pieta. You must love your (other) Maman a lot.
    xx

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  6. w1kkp says:

    I thought this was another “Inside My Refrigerator” photo at first. Um…this qualifies as another “Single for a Reason” reason five thousand seven hundred and two to me.

    Where would I put MY shrine? Boxes that my beloved technology products come in that I can’t bear to part with? I’m not kidding the box the macbook air came in is a thing of beauty!

    I’m not as much fun to live with as your ex.

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  7. epicurienne says:

    Well, um Former Flatmate isn’t an ex but a very close friend who bats for the other team… He also has the most incredible Ken and Barbie doll collection that includes a pregnant Midge with detachable preggy belly. He’s incredibly artistic and is an international teddy bear and doll specialist – one of the most colourful characters I’ve ever known.
    Perhaps you could take a photo of your technology product box shrine? We could start a new series!!

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