Canadian pastor defends Upside-Down Church; says it’s not blasphemous
AMERICAN artist Dennis Hopper’s controversial Upside-Down Church, entitled “Device to Root Out Evil” – a piece currently on a lease to Calgary’s Glenbow Museum – has been defended by pastor John Pentland, of Hillhurst United Church.
Pentland reflected on the fact that Jesus and his followers did turn things upside down. Jesus, he said, embraced the outcasts of society. He challenged the religious hierarchy of the time. He challenged the dominating system of the day.
The Upside Down Church isn’t blasphemy. It is an awakening to consider how the Spirit can turn our ideas upside down, not in harsh judgment so much as playful wisdom. It’s also to consider a grounded church, not one off in the clouds focused just on afterlife.
Pentland was speaking at the launch of a programme called “Awakenings” – an exploration of ways that:
People connect to the sacred and how different paths awaken our spirituality.
When the mischievous piece first appeared in Vancouver, it divided residents. Commenting on it beneath this report, one – Lisa – complained:
If this was an upside down mosque there would be death threats against the artist. If this was an upside down synagogue there would be cries of anti-semitism. Why it is ok to publicly insult one religion’s holy place over another’s I will never understand.
It saddens me that the mocking and insulting of Christianity and Catholisicm has become so commonplace for it to be funded by the city.
The message of this statue cannot be overlooked: it is saying that the church is backwards and upside down. If you were a practicing Catholic or Christian and you had to look at this statue every day, knowing that it was funded by your own tax dollars in the name of â€˜public art’, wouldn’t you be outraged?