Explore How Your Experience of Beauty Intersects with Faith in God
Our experience of beauty drives our desires, and our desires drive our actions. We tend to follow our passions down a path that leads us to becoming one type of person or another: and so, beauty shapes who we choose to be.
But the Christian has a higher claim on her identity: discipleship, and the responsibility to be conformed to Christ. How are we to avoid being seduced away from this core mission by the siren call of worldly beauty?
What we need is a way to understand our experience of worldly beauty in light of our divine calling. What we need is a theology of beauty.
Beauty is a summons. It begins with the most vulnerable part of ourselves, bypassing our sophistication, training, and habituation to reach that inmost point from which we know ourselves to be creatures and to be under authority. But it touches that place graciously, not in judgment; and so, rather than finding ourselves terrified before a truth we have hidden from for so long, we find ourselves romanced by a desire we can never seem to shake.
from The Father of Lights: A Theology of Beauty, p. 194
The Father of Lights: A Theology of Beauty is a deep reflection on beauty from a theological standpoint. By beginning with our desires and opening them for conscious reflection, it re-introduces our heart to our head and creates a space in which the two can commune.
This course can help you better understand the experiences that have shaped your life, that also shaped the life of someone like C.S. Lewis or J.R.R. Tolkien; that, indeed, deeply shape the lives of every man and woman coming into the world.
And when you have learned to see beauty theologically, you will find that your eyes are opened to see more beauty everywhere, and that all beauty becomes drives you deeper into love, devotion, and gratitude to God.
It is rare to find such a lucid, and indeed beautiful, account of the theology of beauty. The terms are well defined, the argument precisely advanced and defended, and the range of reference capacious. It's as though, amid a modern debate that has generated more heat than light, one of the classic theologians of the Scholastic period has stepped into the room and brought us at last some clarity, definition, and order.
Girton College, Cambridge Poet, Priest, Scholar, and Musician
Meets 2 hours once a week for 8 weeks over Zoom.
Time: 1-2 hours of reading per week
Next Session: tdb