Beauty, aesthetics and spiritual formation

N.C. BAPTIST PODCAST
March 6, 2018

This podcast was recorded at the Disciple-Making Conference breakout session training and focuses on the debate that philosophers and theologians have about the function of beauty, that which only humans are drawn toward and appreciate. Creation itself is a poem of God, and we can receive it as a gift from God for us to experience. But what does beauty have to do with spiritual formation? How does our aesthetic sense serve as a signpost to stir our affections toward God? Explore the theological relationship between beauty, aesthetics and spiritual formation at the intersection of God’s world and God’s Word. Matt Capps suggests how churches can utilize these truths for the holistic formation of the local congregation through preaching, worship, teaching and service.

Here is an excerpt from this podcast:

A lot of people think of aesthetics as make-up. A lot of people think of beauty as mere prettiness. But I think the biblical idea of beauty is rooted in the person of God. It’s something that we should consider for discipleship. I think in many ways when it comes to beauty and aesthetics, I think it can enrich our understanding of spiritual formation. … That’s the power of beauty. That’s the power of an aesthetic experience. Beauty is something that delights, a mystery that enchants, awakens something deep within our souls. Philosophers and theologians have debated a long time about the nature and function of beauty. But one of the things I think all of us would agree on: beauty exists. We’ve all experienced beauty, whether it’s a sunset, beautiful music, a piece of art. Something has stopped us in our tracks, we’ve experienced it. So beauty exists. The question is: What do we do with beauty? Beauty cannot be ignored, and there’s something intrinsic to humanity that draws us toward beauty. In fact, humans are unique among the creatures of the earth; we’re the only creatures that God created with the capacity to really enjoy and reflect on beauty. In that sense, I think understanding and appreciating beauty is a gift and responsibility of every person. But as Christian leaders, we also understand that if we believe that the Bible gives us an understanding of the world that is both true and beautiful, it’s the only way to see the world, then we must have a distinctly Christian understanding of beauty and aesthetic experience.

by Matt Capps  /  Senior Pastor  /  Fairview Baptist Church

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