Back to that PBS special, one thing many have noticed about ancient Israel is that prior to a certain point, you don't find too many artifacts. Now part of that is the fact that they were often overrun by Midianites and Philistines, and part of it is the fact that due to being overrun all the time, they were poor and had to do things like thresh grain in a winepress. It's hard to produce much good art when (as Judges notes) not a man even had a spear. (more on that one later maybe)
On the other hand, part of it is probably the Decalogue's injunction against graven images, and in that light, we really ought to consider our priorities. Certainly a look at the book of Malachi would suggest to us that our first priority in statuary and "panels of cedar" ought to be our churches, not our homes.
That noted, consider again Proverbs 31 and the example of Lydia in Acts; the wife of noble character makes tapestries--wall hangings--for herself, and I'd be surprised if Lydia's home was not well appointed. (if it wasn't, she had to hire a special architect in those days to make it ugly...Romans and Greeks didn't work that way) Certainly whatever they did, Scripture does not condemn them.
And so I am left exactly where I was left with art in the church; considering what it means. Not a bad place to be, methinks. One good place to start for many churches might be something that (sorry Sarah!) most any guy skilled with wood could create; a cross that really demonstrates the reality of the crucifixion. I saw one such cross at St. Klement's in Mayen, Germany (near Koblentz); large, bare, unfinished beams.
Not beautiful, except in demonstrating what He went through for us.
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