Beauty

Last time I attended homegroup we were asked the question,”What are your passions?” in the discovery process of our gifts and calling. My own answer was “beauty”, as I have had that as a life long expression in many areas. As a child, the answer to the “what do you want to be when you grow up?” question was “an artist”. This was usually countered with the impracticalities of earning power in such a career, yet if you have such a passion, it flows into avocations and sort of rises to the top eventually.

It colors what I appreciate in others, certainly. I have broadened my definitions of what makes for beauty in life. It can be a thought well expressed, a home that is perfectly suited for hospitality, the best points of a culture, ….many many things.

In reading through my blogroll, I arrived at today’s lessons where, in this post, the homeschooling mom attempts to provide an answer to the “trend in our culture to ridicule those who love beauty”. Revealing, “when I admit my love of beauty, even to myself, I feel shallow and vulnerable, like the addlepated Anne of Green Gables who was so often twitted about her romanticism.”

I wrote a comment only to have my computer suddenly shut off, and after rebooting decided the topic was worth of a post. While it is a longstanding trend to devalue beauty in our culture, it seems a peculiarly American Christian struggle to rationalize our passion for it. In recognizing this, I am nevertheless nonplussed in explaining it. How do we question God’s intent for this aspect of life when so much of it is integrated into the natural creation? We are surrounded by beauty and it is nature that brings us back to ground in the awe of how much we need to view beauty in order to remember and appreciate the Creator.

When addressing this narrowed viewpoint that seems adopted by Evangelical Christians, I am always reminded of the efforts by the Schaeffer family to rectify this defect. Whether you read Francis, Edith or either of their children’s writings on various subjects, there is an effort to convince Christians that aspiring for excellence and creating something of beauty in life is praiseworthy, and is an important way to glorify God in this life.

So like the homeschooling mom, known as ‘thicket dweller’, I feel that beauty, its appreciation and pursuit, are an important and intrinsic part of a womans life. I think it is most likely more than that, though. I think that God has incorporated beauty into so much of His expression that this is a part of life as it is meant to be lived, both here and in the hereafter. It is a way we inspire, in which we aspire to something greater than ourselves. It brings joy, and for that reason alone we ought to cherish and esteem it.

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Dr. Francis Schaeffer Complete Works
Edith’s book on family and homemaking

2 thoughts on “Beauty”

  1. Often, but not always, beauty is tied to things which are material – a beautiful painting, a well-designed building, a wonderful piece of music.

    And at least in the circles I run in, material things and spiritual things are placed into two different categories. I think this is a false distinction, but it gives rise to the notion that non-material(i.e. spiritual) things are to be more highly valued than material things – which only have value because of their function.

    It’s almost Gnostic, eh?

    This is just the germ of a thought so I may not be expressing myself well. I hope that you can see what I’m trying to get at anyway.

  2. It is Gnostic. You express yourself quite well:) I think it is a shame that we become so enmeshed in a false view that God is ‘outside’ ‘real’ life.

    We struggle with htis even when we know better, so I guess we ought to encourage each other in taking the true view that Christ is our all in all.

    All in all. sigh.

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