A Christian Guide to Beauty and Design | Introduction

Welcome back to the Bible is Art and this week we’re starting a new series on A Christian Guide to Beauty and Design.

For awhile now I’ve been writing a book. And I’ve been writing a book because it didn’t exist. You see, years ago I was teaching a high school course on Christian Worldview where we had sections on every main area of knowledge. So we had a Christian view of economics, science, ethics, mathematics and aesthetics, the study of beauty and design.

And as I looked for material on Christian aesthetics I found that the books that were available were too broad, that is, books talking about the general importance of beauty in the Bible or theology. There wasn’t anything that talked about what makes something beautiful, visually beautiful for a Christian.

Life went on and my professional life moved into design and photography. So while my undergraduate and graduate training was in Biblical Studies, Philosophy, and Theology, my professional work was and is in an aesthetic discipline. And as I lived in the worlds of design and theology, some very obvious connections became clear to me. But in discussions with people and reading books on beauty, these simple insights were missing.

It was for these reasons that I started to write a book on A Christian Guide to Beauty and Design. But as I was writing, I also started this YouTube channel and decided to just release videos on it as I write the book. That way I can get feedback and the book can be truer, better, and I hope more beautiful. So the goal of these videos and the book is simply this: to explain what makes something beautiful and why.

And with that let me leave you with these words from the poet Francis Thompson:

“The Church, which was once the mother of poets no less than of saints, during the last two centuries has relinquished to aliens the chief glories of poetry, she has retained the palm, but forgone the laurel.  Fathers of the Church (we should say), pastors of the Church, pious laics of the Church: you are taking from its walls the panoply of Aquinas; take also from its walls the psaltery of Alighieri. Unroll the precedents of the Church's past; recall in your minds that Francis of Assisi was among the precursors of Dante, that sworn to poverty he forswore not Beauty, but discerned through the lamp Beauty the Light God.  What you theoretically know vividly realize: that with many the religion of beauty must always be a passion and a power, that is only evil when divorced from the worship of Primal Beauty.”

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