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malcolm chamberlain

musings about the emerging church, mission and contemporary culture...

God is at large, intimately involved in his world in ways that the church is maybe just waking up to!

truth and beauty...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

"Many faults are the result of an over-correction, or a hang-over from a previous dispute. In the 1500s, reformers could see that many people were worshipping the beautifully-crafted statues rather than the God who made all things. The statues weren't evil in themselves. But their beauty had, for some, become captivating and deceptive. So icons were removed, walls white-washed and incense burners extinguished. A religion of the eye and the nose became a religion of the ear and the brain. The sensuality of the faith had been lost. And it may be worth noting that Christianity, as a mass religion, declined in the following 200 years, losing much ground to Deism and Rationalism."
James Cary, Truth and beauty

The above quote is taken from an article in the November 2007 issue of Third Way magazine in which James Cary comments on the extraordinary beauty of the earth as a pointer to the fact that "God's into beauty." I totally agree with James on this and lament the 'baby' that was thrown out with the reformers 'bath water'. Even today I find myself in conversation with some evangelicals having to justify the use of image and visual in worship - how sad.

Maybe, though, things are changing and the place of ascetic beauty is being rightly rediscovered in worship. James concludes his article by stating, "Things are beginning to change among evangelicals. It's taken 500 years, but fortunately that is like a day to God (although to us it seems longer). Ministers and pastors increasingly want to connect with the creative community..."

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posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 4:15 PM

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