I appreciate this section of Horton’s People and Place where he talks about icons, images, and the market. We are surrounded by sights and images, and the market driven culture is all about the visual. This emphasis on the visual is not necessarily god for the church. Here’s Horton’s response in his section called “Eschatology and the Ear”:
The market can create the surface image of a community, but only interpersonal communication – the shared stories, practices and customs, histories, goods and services – woven through generations can generate a real community. A church that turns its ear away from proclamation as the primary means of grace will similarly generate ecclesial simulacra: signs without any deeper reality. As the vast literature in their defense demonstrates, icons are employed for mediating between a supposed ontological fracture between the spiritual and the material. However, the Bible is not aware of any such ontic wound, but is concerned with the mediation between a holy God and sinful humanity, the powers of this age and the powers of the age to come. Grace is given not to elevate or supplement nature, but to restore truthful communication – and therefore relationships – in a world fond of lies.
Hammond, WI, 54015